Mass. Nonprofits Cite Revenue Loss due to Coronavirus Crisis

March 19, 2020 — More than 60% of Massachusetts nonprofit organizations have suffered, or anticipate suffering, a loss in revenue due to the coronavirus crisis and nearly all have cancelled programs or events, according to a statewide survey completed yesterday.

The strain on Massachusetts nonprofits, which account for nearly 18% of all jobs in the state, is "only just beginning," warned the leaders of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN), the state's nonprofit trade association, and Philanthropy Massachusetts, a Boston-based regional association of grant makers, which conducted the survey.

Survey results, based on input from 950 nonprofits of all sizes, found that:
  • 63% indicated that they were experiencing, or anticipated, a loss in their annual revenues

  • 52% characterized the severity of impacts related to COVID-19, the disease caused by a novel coronavirus, as high (defined as “significant disruptions”)

  • 43% characterized the severity as moderate (defined as “minor disruptions”).

  • Nearly all—89%—reported cancelling programs or events

  • 67% reported disruptions of services to clients and communities

  • 60% reported anticipated budgetary implications related to strains on the economy
Between the survey’s opening last March 11 and its close yesterday, many nonprofits have closed offices, instituted work-from-home policies, or paused operations altogether.

Twenty-eight percent of survey respondents reported increased and sustained staff and volunteer absences, while 25% said they are fielding increased demand for services from clients and communities.

The negative impacts of the crisis are likely worse than reported.

“In the time period when responses were being collected, employer behaviors and practices were rapidly changing in response to new information being released. It is likely that the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on nonprofits are now even higher than what was reported in the poll,” said MNN Chief Executive Officer Jim Klocke and Jeff Poulos, CEO of Philanthropy Massachusetts.

Nonprofits participating in the survey said they need financial relief, more information about best practices, and remote work/work from home support to weather the crisis.

"Nonprofits are essential to the immediate responses to the COVID-19 outbreak, and will play outsized roles in rebuilding our communities in the long term,” Klocke and Poulos said in a joint statement.