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AFP-GPC Survey Results: Part 2

By Marge King

This is the second installment featuring the results of the AFP-GPC survey and focuses on the impact of COVID on nonprofit programmatic and fundraising activities. (The first installment included information about COVID’s impact on compensation and employment as well as demographics.) As you will recall, the survey ran from late-June through mid-July 2020 and was open to both members and non-members.

We asked the survey respondents what impact COVID had on the respondent’s organization’s fundraising goals.  We were surprised to learn that over 54% either remained the same or were revised upward. A little more than one-third (37%) of the respondents said that fundraising goals were revised downward. Similarly, 64% of the respondents noted that their fundraising activities either remained the same or increased and about one-third (32%) had reduced their fundraising activities. Donors are facing the same economic uncertainty as we are as fundraisers.  In fact, surveys are showing that it is a mixed bag—some donors are giving the same as usual and others have curtailed their philanthropy.

We asked the respondents to tell us whether they were on track to meet their fundraising goals.  Nearly half (47%) were on track to reach or exceed their fundraising goals while 26% were on track to reach 75% or more of their goal.  Only 17% of the respondents did not expect to exceed 75% of their annual fundraising goal.  We know that giving dropped 6% during the first quarter. The CARES Act and other legislative measures have provided incentives for charitable giving and are useful temporary incentives to help organizations close the gaps in fundraising.

For many of our institutions, face-to-face events have been postponed, program delivery has changed significantly, some programs have ceased, some are seeking new collaborations, and many of us have applied for emergency funding.  Many of us have moved our fundraising activities—from events, to site visits, to cultivation—to virtual delivery. And, as I am sure you know all too well, Zoom fatigue is real.  I know that I am feeling the virtual fatigue and found this Harvard Business Review article with tips on how to overcome it useful.

And finally, we ask respondents what their leadership was most worried about. Responses were diverse, but nearly all centered around economic sustainability.  Here are some of the leadership concerns:

“the long-term effects of social distancing”

“donors having the resources to continue giving”

“40% of our revenue comes from patrons gathering in our concert halls, how long do we have to cancel concerts?”

“regaining participation”

“how to bridge gaps in fundraising”

“technology use varies among age groups”

“changes in private foundation preferences going forward”

“lagging admissions”

“stability of society and social institutions”

“suspended volunteerism”

“cash flow”

As you can see, the worries are many. But the positive stories are also to be found.  In the recent AFP-GPC Funders’ Forum, all four Community Foundations—The Chester County Community, The Foundation for Delaware County, The Montgomery County Foundation, and The Philadelphia Foundation—discussed ways in which they continue to support our community and their collective and individual responses to the needs created by the COVID Pandemic. 

Continue the conversation by sharing your positive stories of fundraising and philanthropy in the comments. Stay tuned for the next survey post which will focus on racism/inequity in the workplace and diversity, inclusion, and equity policies.

About the author:

Marge King is a member of the AFP-GPC Board and is the Treasurer.  She also serves as the chair of AFP-GPC’s COVID Task Group which commissioned the survey.  She is the president and founder of InfoRich Group, Inc.

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