This year is shaping up to be a tough year financially for nonprofits, just as demand for the services such groups provide is on the rise, a national survey indicates.

Almost 90 percent of the 1,300 nonprofit leaders surveyed from across the country said they expected 2010 to be at least as difficult as 2009. Meanwhile 80 percent said they expected demand to rise, with less than half of those surveyed saying they anticipate being able to meet the demand.

“The economic ‘recovery’ has not yet reached people in need or the organizations that serve them,” said Clara Miller, chief executive officer of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, which conducted the survey. “We must do more to repair the tattered social safety net.”

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Nonprofits surveyed report operating with razor thin margins. Over 60 percent say they have less than three months cash on hand, while 12 percent have none.

Still, the survey found many groups are managing to widen their reach, with 43 percent reporting that they expanded programs in the last year.

In recent times, many nonprofits serving people with disabilities have struggled with declining donations and delayed payments from government agencies. The financial setbacks came alongside rising need as many states scaled back assistance programs amid dramatic budget shortfalls.