Poll: Nearly all charities feeling the impact of COVID-19

Just short of all of 544 global and local charitable organizations (97%) responding to a new survey have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

The survey, conducted by Charities Aid Foundation of America (CAFA), reveals more than 42% of charities that provide direct services to those affected by the pandemic are facing a steep decline in contributions and increased costs.

Other negative impacts reported include broken supply chains, staffing and operational inefficiencies, government and travel restrictions and an inability to meet the expectations of those served.

CAFA collected responses from 544 global organizations to learn how the pandemic is affecting them. 

Key findings include:

  • 42.5% of the organizations — spanning social services, education, health care and conservation and arts and culture — provide direct services to those affected by COVID-19.

  • 96.5% of the survey respondents indicated they were negatively impacted. The top three indicators were: 67.9% report a decline in contributions, due to donors giving less and the inability to reach donors; 63% have experienced travel disruption, including cancellations and the inability to work effectively, including contacting clients, donors and recipients; and, 56.4% report an issue with client relations, leading to the inability to meet expectations of those they serve due to inefficiency or barriers to service, such as cancelled public events or face-to-face operations.

  • One of the organizations noted: “Our revenues from the activities of a social enterprise fell by 80%. We have no finances to maintain employment of disabled and healthy people, to pay for electricity, heating, garbage collection, taxes and insurance.”

  • Almost all organizations indicated that they expect a decline in contributions (revenue): 41.2% expect a decline of greater than 21%; 43.4% expect a decline of 1% to 20%; and, only 2.6% expect contributions to increase.

  • While 90% said they are not currently experiencing a negative impact, most expected to be negatively impacted in the future due to cancelled events and programming and bankrupted sponsors: 73.3% expected to be impacted in one to three months; 34.4% expect to be impacted in more than three months; and, 11.1% expect no negative impact.

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