Nonprofit Fundraising Continues to Be Hit Hard by COVID-19

September 15, 2020 — While the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on nonprofit operations and fundraising efforts, a newly completed national survey found that the share of nonprofits expecting COVID-19 to have a significant impact on their fundraising over the long term fell at the beginning of September to the lowest level since June.

According to a weekly tracking survey of 1,800 organizations by Chicago-based Grenzebach Glier and Associates:

  • 42% of respondents anticipated a "high" negative impact on fundraising over the next ninety days, down from 47% in early August and 45% in July and just above the 41% recorded in June.

  • Another 35% expected a "moderate" negative impact, up from 29% in early August, 24% in July, and 32% in June.

  • The share expecting a "low" negative impact fell to 10%, from 14% in early August, 11% in July, and 12% in June.

In addition, 41% of the organizations which completed their fiscal year in June experienced an increased in private donation revenue for the year, compared to the previous year; 26% reported no change in revenue; and 33% reported a decline.

Sixty-nine percent of survey respondents reported a decline in participation rates for the year ending June 30, while 12% reported an increase.

Twenty-six percent said they saw an increase in new donors, compared to the previous year, while 54% reported a drop in new donors.

While 19% of respondents said their fundraising office is already open, 33% said they plan to re-open in the January-March timeframe. Another 33% were not sure when they will re-open.

As far as conducting in-person events with no more than 10 people, 37% of those surveyed said they expect it to happen in the first quarter of 2021, 13% said April or later, and 40% said they didn't know.

Fundraising operations have been hit hard by the pandemic. According to the survey, 75% have had budget cuts, 24% experienced permanent layoffs, and 33% had furloughs.