Report Tells of COVID-19 Impact on Local Nonprofits

Gilbert and Mesa Chambers of Commerce

The Town of Gilbert, Dignity Health, and Gilbert and Mesa Chambers of Commerce teamed up to reach out to area non-profits to gain an understanding of the immediate and long term impact and need of these organizations as a result of COVID-19.

The group first conducted a survey sent to more than 100 non-profits with a primary focus on those serving residents of Gilbert. A Non-Profit Town Hall webinar was held on April 27th and will continue bi-weekly to provide continued updates, sharing of resources and collaboration.

Key Takeaways:

  • Respondents indicated awareness of Federal funding assistance (80%). Fewer have an understanding of state (52.3%) and local (38%) funding. There is a need for clarification of the distribution of funds being collected through donation to the Arizona Coronavirus Relief Fund. Note: Both the Town of Gilbert and the City of Mesa will be administering the use of CDBG-CV funds in response to COVID-19.
  • Currently, non-profits are primarily concerned with the safety of their staff, volunteers, and clients (57.1%), the health and well-being of clients who cannot receive services at this time (47.6%) and the ability to provide service (40.4%) while maintain staff salaries and benefits (40.4%). Respondents also commented on the concern for homeless clients and the technology needs of children in transitional housing. To ensure the safety of staff, volunteers, and clients, non-profits are limiting contact with clients, increasing sanitizing, and decreasing the number of volunteers and staff members allowed onsite at any one time.
  • Currently, a majority of respondents have needs for funding of operational costs (85.7%), funding for salaries and benefits (61.9%) and equipment and supplies for services (42.8%). Of least concern was a shortage of volunteers or support services (14.2%).
  • Post-COVID concerns include the impact on clients served (76.1%), insufficient funding and revenue to sustain the organization (64.2%), loss of revenue (59.5%) followed closely by the impact on staff and volunteers (57.1%). The inability to hold fundraisers and the loss of donors due to safety and economic concerns are significant concerns for long-term impact. The emotional and mental trauma sustained by staff also is a factor.
  • Respondents anticipate the long-term consequences on their organization to include a reduction on services (50%) and a reduction on staff (32.5%). Some anticipate their services to improve as a result of the response to changes in processes driven by COVID-19. There is concern for a decrease in government funding, inability to fundraise, and decrease in interest of volunteers.
  • While some non-profits indicated no change in their workforce (30.9%), others have responded to the impact of COVID-19 by reassigning employee duties (38%), laying off employees (23.8%) and placing employees on furlough (7.1%). Comments included reduction in staff hours due to the home commitments of staff members, budget changes, and safety concerns. One respondent indicated a reduction from 27 to 11 sites of service.

Non-profits shared best practices with an emphasis on connection – staying in contact with remote workers and clients and expressing gratitude and thanks to everyone.

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