Ohio non-profit organizations – like those across the country – were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and will likely take a significant amount of time to recover.

A survey of more than 7,500 non-profits conducted twice in 2020 – the first time in May and again in August – showed that most Buckeye State organizations have continued operations throughout the pandemic despite significant revenue declines and cuts in programs and services, according to the survey report. The survey was sponsored by Philanthropy Ohio, The Ohio State University, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, and the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Associations.

Key Findings

Among the more significant findings of the report:

  • More than half of Ohio non-profits that responded to both parts of the survey said program and service delivery they had reduced or suspended in the spring had been at least partially restored by August. Service delivery often was different when it was restored, and many organizations implemented new services to respond to community needs by August. While many organizations in April expressed concern that they would have to shut down programs permanently, those concerns were alleviated by August.
  • Complete suspension of services was found most often in smaller organizations with less than $50,000 in revenue.
  • Some organizations that have added new programs and services expect to continue them permanently when the pandemic is past, and to revive other programs and services that were suspended. This means Ohioans may have a wealth of new services available after the pandemic, but funding them through donations, corporate giving, program fees, and grants may be a challenge for the non-profits.
  • Non-profits responded to income reductions by cutting expenses and laying off or furloughing employees. Some 14% of respondents had imposed layoffs, which fell hardest on part-time workers.
  • Nearly one-quarter of nonprofits applied for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, and nearly all received them, with the average loan amount of $280,000.
  • The most significant impact on revenue for many non-profits was reflected in the sources of income. Individual donations were hardest hit, with 50% of respondents reporting a reduction, and 9% reported that donors had retracted contributions that had been previously pledged.  Corporate giving and earned income (i.e., program fees) were the second most impacted sources of revenue. The sources of income least impacted were government grants and contracts.

Needs of the Non-profit Sector

Moving forward, non-profit respondents reported their most significant needs in the coming months are:

  • Re-evaluating fundraising strategies (27%)
  • Volunteer recruitment and management (14.5%)
  • Technological support, i.e., moving programs online (12.8%)
  • Sharing real-time data with funders, government leaders and corporate leaders (11.7%)
  • Guidance for boards of directors (10.2%)
  • Financial scenario planning (7.9%)

If you would like more information about how your non-profit can meet the challenges posed by the continuing COVID-19 crisis, contact your Barnes Wendling advisor.

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