Data: How Many Months of Reserves Do You Maintain?

data_nugget Associations Now September/October 2017 Issue

A recent BDO benchmarking survey shows that nonprofits might not be putting enough reserves away for a rainy day.

Establishing and maintaining reserves is integral to any organization’s financial stability, yet a recent BDO benchmarking survey, “Nonprofit Standards,” finds that nonprofits might not be putting enough away for a rainy day.

“The survey found that nonprofits may be overlooking potentially disastrous liquidity issues,” said Adam Cole, partner and co-leader of BDO’s Nonprofit & Education practice. On average, the nonprofits surveyed maintain 8.7 months of operating reserves, but more than half reported that they have less than six months of reserves. BDO recommends that nonprofits keep at least six months of liquid unrestricted net assets in reserves.

Months of Operating Reserves Maintained

12 months or more


6 to less than 12 months


1 to less than 6 months




Source: BDO, Nonprofit Standards, A Benchmarking Survey, June 2017

[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "Data: Running Low on Liquid Reserves."]