COVID-19 is Impacting Montana Nonprofits: Survey Results

April 9, 2020 / Comments Off on COVID-19 is Impacting Montana Nonprofits: Survey Results

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In an ongoing effort to track the impacts COVID-19 is having on Montana’s nonprofit sector, Montana Nonprofit Association (MNA) invited member organizations to respond to a second survey on March 26, 2020. Responses came from 171 nonprofit professionals representing all nonprofit subsectors, and from organizations serving every Montana county but five (Wheatland, Sheridan, Petroleum, Golden Valley, and Choteau).

The survey was conducted shortly before information became available about bridge loans and short term payroll relief. MNA will continue to measure the impact of COVID-19 as circumstances rapidly change.

Key Findings

 Montana nonprofit organizations’ COVID-19-related fears and concerns vary based on mission and region served:

  • 68% of Montana’s direct service providers anticipate increased demand for their services, and worry about meeting this demand, and the harmful impacts to their clients if services are cut or limited.
  • Nonprofits who work in subsectors such as education, arts, sports, and recreation worry about both the short-term impact of closing their doors, their relevance in the face of more immediate concerns, and the long-term challenge of recovery once the pandemic subsides.
  • Rural nonprofit organizations are concerned about the long-term effect of shuttering their programs and services. Is the shut-down survivable? What will the impact of COVID-19 have on both the private sector and the nonprofit sector in small towns?

“(My top concerns are) isolation, loss of income, loss of community.”  – Montana nonprofit organization.

 As the economic impact of COVID-19 unfolds, the 171 Montana nonprofit organizations responding to the poll anticipate a loss of over $13 million in the next three months:

  • This estimated loss does not account for loss in assets due to market volatility.
  • While federal and state assistance (such as SBA loans and unemployment insurance) will help to curb some of this loss, nonprofit organizations are struggling to navigate these programs, which are geared to support the private sector more so than nonprofits.
  • The majority (71%) of those surveyed are able to wait 4-8 weeks for federal funding to come through.
  • Nonprofit organizations that need immediate help include those serving some of the most vulnerable – such as aging/senior services, early childhood, and housing. Several of these organizations have already or plan to lay off workers.

40% of Montana nonprofits responding have already or may need to lay off employees over the next three months:

  • 10% have laid off employees already.
  • 22% of respondents have not laid anyone off but may need to or plan to.
  • 7% have not laid off employees but have reduced hours or pay.

Montana nonprofits are adjusting their workforce as best they can:

  • 44% of organizations have the entire staff working remotely.
  • 26% have allowed staff that can work remotely to work from home, while other staff members that provide direct service are still working face-to-face, with safety precautions.
  • 13% have taken safety precautions, but doors are open as much as possible. These organizations provide direct services and cannot shut down or halt services.
  • 12% have a mixture of the above – staff that can work from home are doing so, while hotlines are staffed or doors are closed but staff is in place.

“We have gone dark. We are not open for business.”  – Montana nonprofit organization

Here’s what Montana nonprofits are saying is most helpful right now:

  1. Information about how to access state and federal aid and resources.
  2. Financial assistance to keep the lights on and staff paid.
  3. Information and resources on human resources, operations, financial management.
  4. Information and resources for program delivery.

 “If we receive federal or state grants for operation, we may be able to survive.”  – Montana nonprofit organization

Please let us know what your nonprofit is experiencing due to COVID-19 in the comment section below. And be sure to visit our COVID-19 Nonprofit Response & Resource page.