Overall Average

What We've Learned

The average organization had a negative bottom line in 2012. Depreciation was responsible for a 6.8-point spread between the bottom line results using Before Depreciation versus After Depreciation in 2012.

Our Formula: Bottom Line

Before Depreciation:

Ave. (Total Operating Revenue – Total Expenses (BEFORE depr.)

Ave. Total Expenses (BEFORE depr.)

After Depreciation:

Ave. (Total Operating Revenue – Total Expenses (AFTER depr.)

Ave. Total Expenses (AFTER depr.)

Total Operating Revenue

There are a variety of ways that an organization can evaluate its bottom line, depending on what it leaves in or takes out of the calculation. For example, non-operating and non-cash items like depreciation, capital gains and losses, and unrestricted gifts to capital campaigns can all be left in. Doing so complies with generally accepted accounting principles but it often portrays bottom line health as being more robust than it would be if operating funds alone were considered. Here we follow Nonprofit Finance Funds’ recommendation to eliminate capital gains and losses as well as unrestricted gifts to capital campaigns and base our calculation only on unrestricted operating revenues. We do so to get a look at whether operating expenses are managed within the constraints of available operating revenue.

Total Expenses

In reporting on averages, we follow Nonprofit Finance Funds’ recommendation to look at the bottom line two ways -- considering expenses before depreciation and after depreciation -- and compare. We do this because: 1) each provides valuable information, 2) not every organization will always cover depreciation every year, and 3) running regular deficits after depreciation can be indicative that an organization is not saving funds for critical fixed asset improvements or replacements that come with the regular wear and tear on their facilities.

View CDP Survey Lines Used

High Performance Indicators: Bottom Line

  • Driving Force Factors

  • Key Intangible Performance Indicators

  • Random

Identifying High Performance Indicators

One reason performance may be better is simply that the managing and/or artistic leadership make good decisions. This likely grows out of years of experience, learning, and developed expertise that forms an intangible yet essential ingredient. It is difficult to observe and measure but not impossible. We capture this as a Key Intangible Performance Indicator (KIPI) and in the case of Bottom Line, it allows us to determine that 56% of performance in Operating Revenue and 60% of performance in Total Expenses can be attributed to good decision-making, for example. Only 7% of the variation in Operating Revenue performance and 3% of Total Expenses performance is random and is not explained by the driving forces or KIPIs. Learn more about high performance and KIPIs here. Learn more»

View List of Markets

Individual Markets (CBSA Name):

  • New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale
  • Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights
  • San Francisco-Redwood City-So. S.F.
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria-Bethesda-Rockville-Fredericksburg

View List of Markets

Large Markets (CBSA Name):

  • Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
  • Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX
  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
  • Minneapolis-St Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
  • San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
  • Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA

View List of Markets

Medium Markets (CBSA Name):

  • Boston-Quincy, MA
  • Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, MA
  • Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, MI
  • Edison-New Brunswick, NJ
  • Nassau County-Suffolk County, NY
  • Newark, NJ
  • Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley, CA
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Warren-Troy-Farmington Hill, MIv
  • Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Cleveland-Elyria, OH
  • Columbus, OH
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Sacramento--Roseville—Arden-Aracade, CA
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

View List of Markets

Small Markets (CBSA Name):

  • Lake County-Kenosha County, IL-WI
  • Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY
  • Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ
  • Bakersfield, CA
  • Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY
  • Dayton, OH
  • Fresno, CA
  • Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI
  • Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
  • New Haven-Milford, CT
  • Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA
  • Peabody, MA
  • Providence-Warwick, RI-MA
  • Rochester, NY
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Worcester, MA

View List of Markets

Very Small Markets (CBSA Name):

  • Wilmington, DE
  • Akron, OH
  • Alpena, MI
  • Altoona, PA
  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • Ashland, OH
  • Athens, OH
  • Auburn, NY
  • Barnstable Town, MA
  • Barre, VT
  • Battle Creek, MI
  • Bay City, MI
  • Bellefontaine, OH
  • Bennington, VT
  • Big Rapids, MI
  • Binghamton, NY
  • Bishop, CA
  • Bloomington-Normal, IL
  • Bloomsburg-Berwick, PA
  • Bradford, PA
  • Burlington-South Burlington, VT
  • California rural
  • Cambridge, MD
  • Canton-Massillon, OH
  • Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA
  • Champaign-Urbana, IL
  • Charleston-Mattoon, IL
  • Danville, IL
  • Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL
  • Decatur, IL
  • Duluth, MN-WI
  • East Stroudsburg, PA
  • Easton, MD
  • Effingham, IL
  • Erie, PA
  • Fergus Falls, MN
  • Findlay, OH
  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • Flint, MI
  • Galesburg, IL
  • Gettysburg, PA
  • Glens Falls, NY
  • Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV
  • Hanford-Corcoran, CA
  • Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA
  • Holland-Grand Haven, MI
  • Hudson, NY
  • Huntingdon, PA
  • Illinois rural
  • Indiana, PA
  • Ithaca, NY
  • Jackson, MI
  • Jacksonville, IL
  • Johnstown, PA
  • Kalamazoo-Portage, MI
  • Kankakee, IL
  • Kingston, NY
  • Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ
  • Lancaster, PA
  • Lansing-East Lansing, MI
  • Lebanon, VT
  • Lebanon, PA
  • Lewisburg, PA
  • Lewistown, PA
  • Lexington Park, MD
  • Lima
  • OH
  • Macomb, IL
  • Malone, NY
  • Mankato-North Mankato, MN
  • Mansfield, OH
  • Marion, OH
  • Marquette, MI
  • Maryland rural
  • Massachusetts rural
  • Meadville, PA
  • Merced, CA
  • Michigan rural
  • Minnesota rural
  • Modesto, CA
  • Mount Vernon, OH
  • New Castle, PA
  • New Philadelphia-Dover, OH
  • New York rural
  • Nogales, AZ
  • Norwich-New London, CT
  • Ocean Pines, MD
  • Ogdensburg-Massena, NY
  • Olean, NY
  • Oneonta, NY
  • Ottawa-Peru, IL
  • Pennsylvania rural
  • Peoria, IL
  • Phoenix Lake-Cedar Ridge, CA
  • Pittsfield, MA
  • Portland-South Portland, NH
  • Portsmouth OH
  • Pottsville, PA
  • Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY
  • Prescott, AZ
  • Quincy, IL-MO
  • Reading, PA
  • Red Bluff, CA
  • Rockford, IL
  • Safford, AZ
  • Saginaw, MI
  • Salinas, CA
  • Salisbury, MD
  • San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA
  • Sandusky, OH
  • Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA
  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA
  • Santa Rosa, CA
  • Sault Ste. Marie, MI
  • Sayre, PA
  • Scranton--Wilkes-Barre—Hazleton, PA
  • Selinsgrove, PA
  • Show Low, AZ
  • Sidney, OH
  • Sierra Vista-Douglas, AZ
  • Somerset, PA
  • Springfield, IL
  • Springfield, MA
  • Springfield, OH
  • St Cloud, MN
  • State College, PA
  • Stockton-Lodi, CA
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Toledo, OH
  • Traverse City, MI
  • Trenton, NJ
  • Truckee-Grass Valley, CA
  • Ukiah, CA
  • Utica-Rome, NY
  • Vallejo-Fairfield, CA
  • Van Wert, OH
  • Vermont rural
  • Visalia-Porterville, CA
  • Williamsport, PA
  • Wooster, OH
  • York-Hanover, PA
  • Youngstown-Warren-Boardman
  • PA
  • Yuma, AZ
  • Zanesville, OH

Bottom Line


Is the organization breaking even or better, considering operating activity only?


What We've Learned

The average organization had a negative bottom line in 2012. Depreciation was responsible for a 6.8-point spread between the bottom line results using Before Depreciation versus After Depreciation in 2012.