As I See It | Missy Gale, CFRE  | President & CEO

Survey Findings: Examining the Pandemic’s Impact on Nonprofits

Last month, we asked nonprofit professionals to share how their organization fared in the unprecedented year of 2020. Inspired by the insights you gave us in our Covid-19 impact survey in June, we wanted to highlight the unexpected bright spots and underscore the ongoing challenges the pandemic brought to our communities.

The results comprise responses from nearly 40 individuals who hold leadership positions in their organizations (Development Director, CEO/Executive Director). The majority are from North Texas, operating human services, arts & culture, education, and health organizations. We report on annual revenue, aspects of fundraising, programs, and human resources.

There is no doubt that nonprofits and their leaders demonstrated their unique ability to be intentional and resilient during tough times. For most nonprofits, the ability to change course is embedded in their DNA. Still, looking at the year ahead they’re concerned about revenue and engaging donors in an altered fundraising environment. Yet the results of this survey indicate many nonprofit professionals approach 2021 with cautious optimism. Leaders are working hard to uphold positive employee morale. Innovation is growing from hardship. Nonprofits are rising to meet the increased demands of community needs, both virtually and six feet apart.

Key Takeaways 
  • While 25% of nonprofits reported revenue exceeded their budget in 2020, more than half of nonprofits, 58%, reported their total revenue fell short of budget
  • Nonprofits with a budget of less than $10 million were most likely to report a negative impact on revenue and fundraising
  • Human service organizations were most likely to see an increase in the number of donors, as community members answered the call for emergency funding
  • More than 60% of nonprofits stopped operating some or all programs due to the pandemic; additionally, more than half served fewer clients than in 2019, potentially leaving a critical gap in the community safety net
  • Arts & culture and education nonprofits were most likely to suffer from the impact of closures, and many were compelled to find alternative ways to offer their services
  • Virtual programming allowed some organizations to serve more clients and offered opportunities to reach people outside of the local area
  • Almost all respondents, 90%, said their board and/or staff are having discussions about ways to improve diversity, equity, inclusion, and access
  • Most nonprofits, 80%, don’t know when they’ll return to in-person activities


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