Survey: Nonprofits Challenged By COVID-19

May 25, 2020

A new survey says nonprofit groups in southwest Michigan are feeling pressure because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sarah Weishaar is the strategic advisor at Hub ONE. She says the collaboration of four Kalamazoo nonprofits asked 103 groups across the region how COVID-19 has affected them.

"Ninety-six percent of the organizations that, before the pandemic, had anticipated meeting their budgeted needs for the year, that same percentage is now unsure that they will be able to meet their budgeted revenue goals. So, the financial devastation is enormous."

Hub ONE includes Prevention Works, the Urban Alliance, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kalamazoo, and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

At the Urban Alliance in Kalamazoo, CEO Luke Kujacznski says some agencies have seen grants reduced and most have had to cancel or postpone fundraising events because of the state's stay-at-home order.

"Short-term, we're able to meet the needs. Long-term, there's serious question marks about the ability to continue to operate at the level that we have been."

But Kujacznski says some foundations and other donors have been flexible, allowing nonprofits to repurpose grants so they can pay the staff and cover other expenses like rent.

Prevention Works CEO Danielle Sielatycki says financial issues aren't the only challenges created by the pandemic. She says many nonprofits weren't prepared to move health, job training, and other services online.

"We did pivot and move to virtual-type programming, but with issues that certain populations experience with connectivity, having phones or laptops or tablets that are able to connect to the WiFi, it makes it even more difficult to reach populations with services."

Sielatycki says she thinks collaborations like Hub ONE can help nonprofits get through tough times like the pandemic.