Demand for services is up, but nonprofit funding is down

Close-up Of A Man's Hand Using Laptop To Donate Money

Nonprofit organizations in Georgia are facing higher demands for services but decreases in revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent survey found.

According to a June survey by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits (GCN), 90 percent of nonprofit organizations that responded have seen a drop in revenue since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Corey Burres, a spokesman for the Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO), an organization aimed at increasing opportunities for Georgians, said many of its partner nonprofits had been in discussions about layoffs and reconstruction.

With millions of Georgians unemployed, there has been a higher demand for social services such as housing and food assistance. There also has been an uptick in the need for substance abuse and recovery services, Burres said.

“The demand for services is going through the roof, while financial support is not keeping pace,” he said. “While most organizations have been able to continue to give to the needs around them, we had one organization share that they have yet to not meet the needs.”

Of the more than 500 nonprofit organizations surveyed by GCN, 44 percent reported losing 20 percent of their earned revenue because of the pandemic. Another 25 percent saw a 50 percent drop in earned revenue, and 13 percent have lost 80 percent.

The organizations also have seen similar decline patterns in donations and government grants. As a result, 40 percent of survey respondents said they made significant spending reductions.

Most smaller organizations (those that raise up to $250,000) get a majority of their funding from individuals and have taken the hardest hit, said Karen Beavor, GCN president and CEO.

“We saw an outsized impact on these smaller organizations that typically work in neighborhoods in local areas and counties,” she said.

Meanwhile, 33 percent of larger nonprofits estimated they would be able to operate for more than a year.

Federal aid has helped filled gaps.

Both segments of nonprofits overwhelmingly were approved for federal Paycheck Protection Program dollars, according to the survey.

The pandemic also has altered how and what services organizations provide,  Beavor said.

Half of the nonprofits surveyed said they have had to reduce their reach or coverage area. A vast majority – 83 percent – have stopped their regular services. Many others have added COVID-19 specific services or redeployed more resources to COVID-19 relief.

In addition to dwindling funds, nonprofits in Georgia also are facing mental health issues and stress in the wake of the pandemic.

A lack of technology and other adaptation tools has hindered efforts to refocus programs. Plus, 30 percent of nonprofits are facing staff shortages.

“Older volunteers have been unable or (understandably) unwilling to help out with the risks involved in going out in public,” Burres said.

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