The Center for Corporate Social Responsibility at Waynesburg University presented data from its recent COVID-19 Impact Assessment survey during a virtual event Oct. 8 that included the data presentation and a moderated panel discussion.
The survey was conducted this past summer to assess the impact of COVID-19 on local nonprofits in Greene and Washington counties and explored how the pandemic affected, to date, their internal operations and external services provided.
“From the beginning of the pandemic, our Center has been involved with our member companies, learning and exploring ways in which they have been helping our local communities navigate (and survive) this crisis,” said Stacey Brodak, vice president for Institutional Advancement and University Relations. “The COVID-19 Impact Assessment is the result of our desire to collectively and strategically help local nonprofits in a meaningful and long-term way.”
More than 250 nonprofit organizations across the two-county region were contacted to participate in the 35-question survey. Eighty-three groups responded, providing a 33.25% response rate, which was slightly above the desired 30% response rate for greater statistical power.
Key highlights from the survey included:
- Approximately 60% of nonprofits have had to decrease their services provided since March.
- Nonprofits that have decreased services report needing the most help with strategic planning of fundraising, as well as greater losses in volunteers.
- In terms of strategic planning needs, most nonprofits want help with fundraising and developing partnerships (only half have connections to larger NPOs, for example).
- The greatest source of lost revenue is from events, followed by both private and corporate donations.
- Nonprofits anticipate the greatest future losses coming from private and corporate donations, followed closely by local funding.
- Going forward, the most imperative anticipated needs are financial resources and volunteers.
The data was compiled by a team of faculty researchers at Waynesburg University that included Dr. Ezekiel Olagoke, associate professor of sociology; Dr. Jenny Jellison, professor of psychology; and Dr. Karen Younger, chair of the Department of Humanities and associate professor of history.
The COVID-19 Impact Assessment is the result of our desire to collectively and strategically help local nonprofits in a meaningful and long-term way.”
The Community Foundation of Greene County, Washington County Community Foundation, Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania and the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management (at Robert Morris University) all contributed to developing the list of nonprofits contacted.
During the second half of the Oct. 8 virtual event, a panel discussion featured Dr. Jim Denova, vice president, Benedum Foundation; Laural Ziemba, director of public affairs, Range Resources; and Lisa Hannum, chief operating officer, Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern PA.
Moderated by Matthew Stultz, corporate relations and digital content manager at Waynesburg University, the panelists shared first-hand accounts of how the coronavirus pandemic has shifted work within their respective sectors and personal reactions to the data results.
“This data reinforces our initial concern - that many of our local nonprofits could face dire consequences if we don’t help create an inclusive, solutions-oriented strategy aimed at supporting these organizations for the short- and long-term,” shared Ziemba.
The panelists also discussed potential long-term strategies and opportunities for the future.
"In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, foundations have been flexibly adjusting existing grants to COVID-19-response strategies, and we are pooling funds to better coordinate support for the nonprofit community,” said Denova.
As for Hannum, who participated in the survey, she highlighted the “constant state of turmoil” for nonprofits and how the learning curve for navigating COVID-19 is ongoing.
Brodak announced that the Center will be organizing a joint nonprofit fundraising project in the upcoming weeks. The goal will be to not only provide financial support but tools and resources necessary for nonprofits to function virtually and with less volunteers or staff.
For more information regarding the data or the virtual event, visit waynesburg.edu/covid19data.
About the Center for Corporate Social Responsibility
The Center for Corporate Social Responsibility at Waynesburg University launched in 2018 with a $250,000 commitment from Chevron. The Center seeks to build a network of practitioners in the region dedicated to sharing best practices in corporate social responsibility work. As a membership organization of nearly 20 regional and national corporations, the Center represents a variety of industries, including banking, construction, energy, law, manufacturing and technology. The Center operates from the Waynesburg University Southpointe Center.