By Nyamekye Daniel
(The Center Square) – North Carolina nonprofits are struggling to maintain funding and continue services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
About 75% of nonprofits started to face revenue challenges in March, only weeks into the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a survey of members conducted by the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits.
As many of 85% of the nearly 700 nonprofits that responded to the NCCN survey in March said they had to cancel events because of the pandemic.
“I think that those organizations that depend on one or two event fundraisers each year have been really hurt,” NCCN President and CEO Jeanne Tedrow said.
A more recent NCCN survey of 2,000 organizations found nonprofits consistently lost revenue and experienced staff, supply and service shortages over the past three months, Tedrow said.
Behavioral health programs also have faced service interruptions since March. Those that responded to the recent survey said they had to cancel or limit day programs that are critical for mentally vulnerable and disabled populations.
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has linked the pandemic to an increase in fear and anxiety among Americans.
It also has been a scramble for food security programs that are facing higher demands for assistance but are short on volunteers to distribute food, Tedrow said.
“So it’s one thing to have them available to give out, but it’s also very volunteer dependent,” she said. “Many of these food programs previously had volunteers that were in the high-risk category for catching COVID, and so many places aren’t encouraging elderly people or people 60 and above to volunteer.”
Most of the respondents from the March survey said they could use more flexibility in their grant spending guidelines from the government or large foundations to help with COVID-19 response efforts.
The effect of COVID-19 also has deeper implications on the economy, according to data from the National Council of Nonprofits.
Nonprofit jobs make up about 9% of the private sector in North Carolina.
The industry employs 12.3 million Americans nationwide. Nonprofits spend more than $826 billion a year on salaries, benefits and payroll taxes and $1 trillion a year on goods, supplies and services, according to the council.