Southeast Louisiana nonprofits hit hard by COVID-19

Southeast Louisiana nonprofits hit hard by COVID-19

Two-thirds of nonprofits in southeast Louisiana are worried about cash-flow problems as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a study commissioned by the Greater New Orleans Foundation finds. 

Based on online and phone surveys of a sample of non-church nonprofits conducted by GNOF and the University of New Orleans Political Science Department between March 23 and April 13, the report, The State of Nonprofits in Southeast Louisiana: The Impact of COVID-19 (34 pages, PDF), found that 67 percent of respondents said they expected to have cash-flow problems over the coming months, while 17 percent were unsure; 57 percent said they had postponed a major fundraising event — resulting in, on average, a 34 percent hit to their annual revenues; and 49 percent had seen a decline in earned income or other revenue loss. In addition, 60 percent of nonprofits in the survey said they had closed their physical offices temporarily, while 64 percent were looking at some kind of organizational restructuring, including implementing reduced hours (22 percent), furloughing staff (17 percent), and/or laying people off (6 percent). 

The study also found that 43 percent of the nonprofits in the survey were providing direct services in response to the pandemic, including financial assistance, medicine, and food; providing services such as counseling, legal support, human services referrals, and online classes; advocating for clients; and/or providing essential in-person services such as medical care. 

In response to the financial impact of COVID-19, 84 percent of the nonprofits in the survey planned to pursue at least one new funding source, including foundation grants (64 percent), government grants (51 percent), Small Business Administration loans, and/or individual donor campaigns (35 percent), while 23 percent said they might consider a merger or partnership. Asked how foundations, donors, and other supporters could best support them, 87 percent of respondents mentioned more funding, including individual donations and corporate sponsorships (36 percent), unrestricted multiyear  grants or "bridge" loans (29 percent), and financial help in general (23 percent).

"This study shows that 43 percent of nonprofits in our region are working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic and nearly three-quarters of them have been impacted financially from canceled fundraisers to interruptions in their fee-for-service programming," said GNOF president and CEO Andy Kopplin. "As we work our way through this crisis, GNOF believes that maintaining a strong and robust nonprofit sector is critical to our region’s future. Our region depends on nonprofits for over fifty-five thousand jobs, as well as for their work addressing urgent needs, from health care to homelessness to food security, for educating out-of-school young people, taking care of seniors, and providing cultural opportunities that give us inspiration and joy."

(Photo credit: Greater New Orleans Foundation)