Report Highlights Devastating Impact of COVID-19 on Arizona Nonprofits

ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation

As unemployment soars and Arizonans cope with the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, many nonprofit organizations, from food pantries to shelter services, are needed more than ever. But those same organizations are struggling with disruptions of their own as donations decline and volunteers stay home.

ASU’s Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation surveyed more than 400 Arizona nonprofit organizations to show the disruption caused by the pandemic. The results are grim.

  • Nearly 80% of Arizona nonprofits reported a reduction in their normal services.
  • More than 40% of nonprofits say it is unlikely they will be able to provide services within the next four weeks.
  • Just under 20% of nonprofits say they won’t meet payroll in eight weeks.
  • 11% of organizations are not operating at all.

The Report highlights the dramatic impacts of the pandemic on Arizona’s fifth largest non-government employer. One in 16 employees works for a nonprofit, representing $8.3 billion in annual wages.

Other key insights from the report:

  • Organizations are concerned that the pandemic will negatively impact volunteerism and charitable giving, further disrupting their ability to deliver services and programs.
  • Due to soaring unemployment and volatile financial markets, nonprofits will lose donations from personal income while demand for many services is spiking.
  • The well-being of staff is a concern as nonprofits determine how to develop and retain their teams, especially for those expecting difficulty in making payroll within the coming weeks.

“Arizona’s nonprofits are a vital part of the economic and social fabric of our state, and citizens everywhere rely on these organizations for everything from emergency services to cultural enrichment,” said Dr. Robert Ashcraft, executive director of ASU’s Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation and Saguaro Professor of Civic Enterprise. “While citizens across the state have been disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit sector too is facing challenges. Leaders from business, government and philanthropy can learn from what this report reveals as they seek strategies to assure community well-being.

Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American Research University, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. As the prototype for a New American University, ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.

The ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation is a global leader in advancing understanding and effective philanthropic and nonprofit practice as a distinctive community development strategy. The Center educates, empowers and connects nonprofit leaders to solve problems, to realize a community’s highest aspirations and to accelerate social impact.

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