40 is the number of new tax-exempt organizations registered in Santa Fe in 2009, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

You can learn a lot scouring the IRS' databases of tax-exempt organizations, as SFR did last week. Such as: The number of nonprofit organizations in Santa Fe increased slightly last year, to 1,196. Most of those organizations are tiny; 674 reported no revenue at all.

Beyond that, it gets complicated. Unlike personal income tax returns, which most people file near the April 15 deadline, nonprofits follow different fiscal calendars. As of last month, 71 Santa Fe nonprofits had filed returns at some point in 2009.

To get a sense of how these organizations were faring, SFR checked the revenues those nonprofits reported to the IRS against their previously reported revenues—which could have been for 2008 or a previous year.
Surprise! The news wasn't all bad.

Forty-five percent of the nonprofits we checked reported increases in revenue. Excluding the outliers on either end of the spectrum (Homewise and Jobs for Progress), the average revenue increase was $52,989. For the majority of organizations that reported revenue declines, however, the average decrease was $32,354—which could be a critical blow for many small organizations.

The chart above shows how a sample of 10 local nonprofits fared, based on their 2009 reports. The nonprofits are:

A.    Project Tibet
B.    The Institute for Regional Education
C.    Rotary International
D.    St. Vincent Hospital Auxiliary
E.    EGIS
F.     Fraternal Order of Eagles
G.    Coffee Kids
H.    Esperanza Project for Battered Families
I.      SER-Santa Fe Jobs for Progress
J.     Homewise

 Again, these figures shouldn't be taken to describe the up-to-the-minute financial state of each organization; they only compare the most recent IRS returns with prior ones.

Nevertheless, if these early filers are any indication, last year was not all bad for the nonprofit sector, which employs hundreds of Santa Feans.