Issue Overview

The COVID-19 pandemic has and continues to create a disruptive and measurable imprint on nonprofit organizations. In addition to disrupting the health and safety of the workforce, the pandemic challenges the fundamental ways nonprofits are meeting their organizational missions.  During this crisis HRA leveraged networks and partnerships with research institutions, other funding agencies, our researchers and others to provide valuable resources to the community.   Two examples are below.

HRA’s COVID-19 Impact Survey

After hearing from member organizations about the impact of the pandemic on fundraising events, research awards, etc., we conducted a survey of our membership to understand the pandemic’s broader organizational impacts. We were particularly interested in the pandemic’s impact on organizational revenues (e.g., revenue diversification, fundraising/endowment performance), operations (e.g., staff changes, restructuring, impact of remote work other bottom-line adaptations), research grant awards (e.g., number of awards, extensions, diversity of awards), and programming (e.g., conversion to virtual, cancelling).

In the report presenting and analyzing the survey data, you will read about these impacts. While we suspected many of the trends that this survey quantified, some results were surprising. Below are the four highlights of the report’s conclusions, but I encourage you to read the entire report.  The report has been used to facilitate complicated conversations within our CEO roundtables and collaborative working groups, and we hope this report and its strategic insights are also helpful to you as you reflect on your own organizational changes and as you plan for the future.

  • Flexibility is most important
  • Widespread changes to staffing and organizational structures were not reported
  • The impact of COVID-19 was not overwhelmingly negative (nor positive)
  • Different experiences for Fundraising vs. Endowment

Compilation of COVID-19 responses from funders

HRA members shared how their organizations are preparing for or responding to COVID-19 via our listserv.  We added that data to a broader set of responses compiled by a team at the Simons Foundation. This resulting spreadsheet has responses for a wide variety of funders.