Sarasota, FL July 30– What are nonprofits really experiencing during the pandemic in terms of revenue losses or gains? Not surprisingly, the majority of participants (74 percent) in a recent national study anticipate decreases by the end of 2020, compared with 2019. But the news was not all bleak.
In the June 2020 survey by nonprofit experts Karen Eber Davis and Gail Bower, 124 nonprofit leaders from across the U.S., representing organizations of all sizes and subsectors, shared their revenue circumstances in light of the pandemic and other upheavals.
Declining earned revenue related to programs was of most significant concern for 41 percent of the respondents, followed by individual donations, including bequests (20 percent). These results are consistent with earlier surveys.
The Good News
Some 24 percent of participants reported expecting their revenue to remain the same or increase by year’s end. Interestingly, the revenue stream that gave the most hope was income from individual contributions, 33 percent, the very same source that greatly concerned other leaders.
Institutional and corporate foundation grants and gifts, 27 percent, is the second highest source of optimism among nonprofit leaders. One respondent anticipates an increase in revenue of 50 percent or more by the end of 2020.
The Story Beyond the Numbers
Davis and Bower’s analysis moved beyond just data to uncover leadership mindsets. Here participants fell loosely into three categories in terms of processing the enormity of the changes faced.
Commentary from one participant segment reflected hopelessness or a sense of defeatism. A second group reported the facts, while a third creatively searched for solutions.
This third group can serve as the avatar for all nonprofit leaders—resilient, optimistic, adaptable, and even entrepreneurial. Some individuals see the fruits of their strategies paying off. They are deepening their relationships and expanding their visibility. Many are developing new ways—especially through digital experimentation—to reach their audiences, fulfill their missions, and generate revenue.
To learn more and read respondents’ thoughts first-hand, download the full report: https://www.kedconsult.com/surveyreport. Davis and Bower share the findings, insights, and recommendations for individual nonprofits and those who serve them. The report also includes a link to a webinar with more information plus additional resources.
Karen Eber Davis and Gail Bower are leading nonprofit experts focused on supporting clients in finding better ways to generate revenue. Davis is the author of two books on nonprofit income, including Let’s Raise Nonprofit Millions Together. Bower wrote How to Jump-start Your Sponsorship Strategy in Tough Times during the last recession. The two began collaborating in 2018 when they observed a trend towards entrepreneurial nonprofit leadership.