Latest News

Survey: Ohio nonprofits remain concerned about the future

Written on Oct 5, 2021

While Ohio’s nonprofit organizations are in better shape than they were at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, most continue to worry about declining revenues and donations, while some fear they are still at risk of shutting down indefinitely, according to the results of a recent survey.

In general, however, nonprofits are more optimistic than they were in earlier surveys, and most survey respondents indicated their concerns related to the pandemic are decreasing.

In all three waves of the survey released by the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University, one of the nonprofits’ primary concerns has been disruption to their services.

Even when nonprofits said they are worried about funding, they are mainly concerned that they will no longer be able to serve the community to the same extent.

More than 3,000 public charities in Ohio responded to a “wave 3″ survey designed to evaluate the needs and challenges of the state’s nonprofit sector during the coronavirus public health crisis.

Two previous surveys were completed last year (waves 1 and 2), and partners on the project included the Ohio Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section, Philanthropy Ohio, the Ohio Association for Nonprofit Organizations and authors from The Ohio State University and Bowling Green State University. In the newest study conducted this spring, they found:

  • About three-fourths of Ohio’s nonprofits are somewhat or very concerned when looking ahead about revenue losses and declining donations.

  • About 40% of public charities that employ staff are concerned about having to lay off employees or shut down operations indefinitely.

  • More than half of the nonprofit groups that took the survey do not have staff (57%).

  • Nearly one in three organizations with employees cut or furloughed staff during the public health crisis and some think their staffing reductions will be permanent.

  • Employment in the sector is down more than 4% since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • More than two-thirds of nonprofit organizations are providing services and programs in either a moderately reduced capacity (34%), a severely reduced capacity (25%) or not at all (9%).

The vast majority of nonprofits are small and many don’t have employees or offices, such as parent-teacher organizations, youth sports leagues, community arts groups and quilting clubs.

Ohio is home to 41,735 public charities, nearly two-thirds of which are non-reporting that often are smaller organizations with less than $50,000 in gross receipts, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, which is a project of the Urban Institute.

The number of registered public charities in Ohio has dropped in recent years, declining more than 4% between 2019 and 2021, the center said.