Nonprofits are reducing staff and reducing their use of volunteers while trying to figure out new ways to deliver their services, according to a report from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Center for Public Affairs.
“Covid-19 Effect on Nonprofit Organizations in Northeast Wisconsin, which is based on a survey conducted in late April, found that more than half of organizations reduced staff and 80 percent reduce their usage of volunteers. Most nonprofits reduced their service delivery while others quickly changed how their services were delivered to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while meeting the needs of their communities. Three-fourths of nonprofits also reported being concerned about being able to connect with their most vulnerable clients.
Northeast Wisconsin nonprofits showed higher rates of collaborating with each other compared to statewide, while they showed a lower rate of collaboration with local government. Just under half received no emergency funding and two-thirds are very concerned about loss of summer event revenues, which often provide funding for the year. While most report they can continue to operate for the next eight weeks, the next round of the survey in July will examine how they have fared.
The research project included 139 nonprofits in Northeast Wisconsin and 546 organizations statewide, with the organizations ranging in size and focus areas. Lora Warner, director of UW-Green Bay’s Center for Public Affairs and an associate professor at the college, and Michael Ford, an associate professor at UW-Oshkosh, worked together on the Northeast Wisconsin report.
The goal of this report is to share information with government, funders and corporate leaders about how the sector is doing so that community leaders can support the viability of the sector, Warner said.
“The nonprofit sector is an underappreciated part of our society that really provides the foundation for our quality of life in often-invisible ways,” she said. “I am full of admiration for the strength and creativity shown by our local nonprofits, who have turned on a dime, gotten creative, and jumped in as partners to meet our community’s needs.”
For the statewide report, the Helen Bader Institute for Nonprofit Management at UW-Milwaukee, in partnership with the Institute for Nonprofit Management Studies at UW-Whitewater will issue a series of surveys to nonprofit leaders throughout 2020.
Click here to read the report focused on Northeast Wisconsin.