Most Nonprofits Negatively Impacted by COVID-19, Survey Finds

Most Nonprofits Negatively Impacted by COVID-19, Survey Finds

Nearly 95 percent of nonprofits globally say they have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, a report from the Charities Aid Foundation of America finds. 

A follow-up to a survey conducted in late March, the report, The Voices of Charities Facing COVID-19 Worldwide Vol. 2 (14 pages, PDF), found that 94.4 percent of eight hundred and eighty organizations in a hundred and twenty-two countries surveyed between April 30 and May 6 reported negative impacts from the global health crisis, down slightly from 96.5 percent in the earlier survey. The percentage of nonprofits that said they had been forced to suspend operations rose to 13.4 percent, from 9.9 percent in  March, while 21.8 percent said their organizations were fully operational and working remotely, 61.4 percent said they were working remotely but had suspended some of their programs or services, and 29.8 percent were continuing to operate onsite to provide essential services.

More than seven in ten respondents (72.6 percent) said they had seen a drop in fundraising revenue (up from 67.9 percent in March); 70.5 percent said travel restrictions were disrupting their contact with clients, donors, and recipients (up from 63 percent); 41.6 percent said they were experiencing issues with client relations (down from 56.4 percent); 39 percent and 33.7 percent reported disruptions in their staffing and operations (down from 48.6 percent and 37.6 percent); 39.3 percent said their costs had increased (up from nearly 34 percent); and 25.3 percent reported disruptions in their supply chains (down from 31.1 percent).

According to the report, half of all respondents anticipate a drop of at least 21 percent in fundraising revenue over the next twelve months, up from 41.2 percent in the previous survey. While the percentages of those expecting revenue declines of between 6 percent and 20 percent held mostly steady, 6.4 percent of respondents are anticipating an increase in revenue, up from 2.6 percent in March. The two most common measures respondents said they had taken to manage the impact of COVID-19 were reducing operational costs (60.5 percent) and creating new fundraising campaigns (60.3 percent), followed by limiting service offerings or programs (38.6 percent) and adding new services (30 percent).

Asked what type of funding they need most, 59.3 percent of respondents mentioned unrestricted funding, followed by regular project funding (24.9 percent) and funding for COVID-19 relief initiatives (14.1 percent). More than half of respondents (54 percent) said they were providing direct services to those impacted by the pandemic, including frontline services such as health care delivery or the provision of personal protective equipment, as well as essential services such as food banks, shelters, and nursing homes.

"Never before has humanity faced a global pandemic in which global philanthropy has played such an important part," said CAF America president and CEO Ted Hart. "Compared to our March 2020 survey results, it is clear many charities here in the USA and around the world are in dire need of support. Support needed to continue day-to-day operations in addition to helping communities that need them the most. The story on how resilient charities can be and how many will survive this pandemic is yet to be written."

"The Voices of Charities Facing COVID-19 Worldwide Vol. 2." Charities Aid Foundation of America Report 05/13/2020. "Second CAF America Survey Shows Continued Negative Impact on Charitable Organizations Due to COVID-19." Charities Aid Foundation of America Press Release 05/13/2020.