Survey: One-Third of Charities Can’t Sustain Another 12 Months

Nine in 10 charitable organizations have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, and leaders at one-third believe they will have to shut down within the next 12 months, according to a survey from grantmaking organization CAF (Charities Aid Foundation of America), Alexandria, Va.

More than half expressed an “urgent need” for funding to cover keep-the-lights-on expenses such as infrastructure, salaries and technology. Only one-third of leaders are confident they can sustain operations as long as needed, and 7.5 percent have already ceased operations.

“The next 12 months represent a critical window through which we may see as many as two-thirds of charities struggle to survive,” said Ted Hart, president and CEO of CAF America, in a statement.  CAF surveyed 414 global and local charity organizations.

Charities have adapted to the changed landscape under the pandemic. Just more than half (54 percent) have started providing new programs or services related to COVID-19, such as home delivery of household and other essential items, virtual therapy and remote learning. Slightly more than half have limited their services or programs.

Among those closing, nearly two-thirds did so because they were unable to provide services or programs virtually, 30.6 percent could not do volunteer-based activities because of shelter-at-home restrictions, 22.5 percent could not meet their expenses and 16.1 percent did not have the technology or infrastructure required to conduct remote operations.

Nearly 57 percent undertook new fundraising activities within the last two months in an effort to offset the pandemic’s effect. Of these, three-quarters raised less than 75 percent of their fundraising targets, while 12 percent raise no funds at all. Only 16.6 percent reached their goals.

Donors and grantors have been flexible regarding their gifts. Roughly 47 percent of charities were given more time to implement current projects, spend the granted funds or file project updates. Another 39.4 percent have received funding for their most urgent needs and 39.2 percent were permitted to change their grant purpose and redirect funds.