• Description

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. This publication is Hauser Center Working Paper No. 27. The Hauser Center Working Paper Series was launched during the summer of 2000. The Series enables the Hauser Center to share with a broad audience important works-in-progress written by Hauser Center scholars and researchers.