How are Nonprofits that Serve the Western U.S. Weathering the COVID-19 Crisis?

Nonprofit organizations have always been a critical resource in communities, as they deliver key services and promote policies that support the well-being and economic resilience of low-income people and people of color. The role of nonprofits has become even more critical in the current pandemic as the spread of COVID-19 and the many efforts to slow it are impacting communities around the nation. Current conditions, however, are placing significant strain on the ability of nonprofits to serve communities. In order to better understand the particular experiences of nonprofit organizations in the West, a new report utilizes recent survey data collected by the Federal Reserve System and the Board of Governors to assess levels of disruption communities and nonprofits were facing, impacts on communities they serve and on the nonprofit organizations themselves, and how long it will take them to bounce back. This report focuses on nonprofit respondents serving the Federal Reserve’s 12th District, which includes the nine western states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington, plus American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Key Findings from Nonprofit Respondents Serving the West

  • Almost three quarters of respondents (74%) indicated COVID-19 is causing significant disruption to the entity they represent, with only 42% expecting to bounce back quickly after recovery begins.
  • More than 3 out of 4 respondents (76%) indicated demand for their services has increased or is anticipated to increase, and more than half of the respondents (55%) noted a corresponding decrease or anticipated decrease in their ability to provide services.
  • More than a quarter of respondents (26%) indicated that their entity could operate for less than three months in the current environment before exhibiting financial distress.
  • Nearly 8 out of 10 respondents (78%) indicated COVID-19 was a significant disruption to the economic conditions of the communities they serve and that recovery is expected to be difficult.
  • Job losses, business impacts, financial insecurity, and basic consumer needs were the most frequently cited impacts of COVID-19.
  • 41% of respondents indicated it will take more than 12 months for their communities to return to the conditions prior to the disruption from COVID-19.

The work of nonprofit organizations is more important than ever. Supporting the economic resilience of low-income communities and communities of color requires investing in the both the short- and long-term viability of the nonprofit sector.

For more findings, read Impacts of COVID-19 on Nonprofits in the Western United States.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the management of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco or of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.