41 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2005
Date Written: January 2005
Effective nonprofit governance relies upon understanding an organization's financial condition and vulnerabilities. However, financial vulnerability of nonprofit organizations is a relatively new area of study. In this paper, we compare two models used to forecast bankruptcy in the corporate sector (Altman 1968 and Ohlson 1980) with the model used by nonprofit researchers (Tuckman and Chang 1991). We find that the Ohlson model has higher explanatory power than either Tuckman and Chang's or Altman's in predicting four different measures of financial vulnerability. However, we show that none of the models, individually or combined, are effective in predicting financial distress. We then propose a more comprehensive model of financial vulnerability by adding two new variables to represent reliance on commercial-type activities to generate revenues and endowment sufficiency. We find that this model outperforms Ohlson's model and performs substantially better in explaining and predicting financial vulnerability. Hence, the expanded model can be used as a guide for understanding the drivers of financial vulnerability and for identifying more effective proxies for nonprofit sector financial distress for use in future research.
Keywords: Financial vulnerability, financial distress, bankruptcy prediction, nonprofit
JEL Classification: L31, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Keating, Elizabeth K. and Fischer, Mary and Gordon, Teresa P. and Greenlee, Janet S., Assessing Financial Vulnerability in the Nonprofit Sector (January 2005). KSG Working Paper No. RWP05-002; Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations Paper No. 27. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=647662 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.647662