At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Family Promise of Monroe County saw an immediate need of families who needed help.
The nonprofit, which serves both Monroe and Pike counties, helps at-risk children and families who are homeless.
The need for their services has quadrupled over the past year, said Enid Logan, executive director of Family Promise. Two years ago, the nonprofit sheltered 22 families, and in the past year, it sheltered 86.
“Prior to the pandemic, we worked with local churches in our community. People were fed and housed and then driven back to our day facility,” she said. “But the pandemic closed all of the churches and we had to use hotels and camp sites to house people.”
She said the annual budget is $594,000. Much of its budget comes from housing grants, but doesn’t cover things like diapers and laundry detergent. A big fundraiser, a walk, was not held because of the pandemic.
“With a small staff and an increased need, it’s been tough raising money,” she said. “We are thankful for the grants we receive.”
Pennsylvania has nearly 50,000 nonprofits and employs 16% of Pennsylvania’s workforce (that’s 800,000 workers), according to Anne Gingerich, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations.
She said certain nonprofits saw increased giving, but others saw a drop-off, depending on their need and the people they serve.
“And then you have nonprofits who couldn’t provide any services at all,” she said. “Anything dealing with arts and culture was shut down.”
Gingerich said nonprofits that deal with people who have intellectual disabilities, domestic violence and those dealing with hunger saw the greatest need.
Nonprofits that were not or couldn’t operate have a $700 million negative financial impact.
Laura Ducceschi, president and CEO of the Scranton Area Foundation, said in 2020, there was a “significant increase,” especially from first time donors.
“That was something I think that spoke to the fact that people really wanted to make a difference,” she said. “Many people realized the gravity of the pandemic. It was a wonderful thing to see. We raised more money than we did the year before and it was productive.”
Ducceschi said nonprofits that worked with people who needed food saw an increase while those nonprofits in the arts, culture and environment saw a drop-off.
In 2020, NEPA Gives, a collaboration of 218 nonprofits and foundations from eight counties throughout the region, surpassed a $1 million goal to help nonprofits that struggled during the pandemic. They raised $1,246,121.
“This is a new way to raise money and we capitalized on it,” she said. “I think nonprofits are now looking at ways to sustain their fundraising.”
The foundation manages 215 charitable funds that are established by individual donors. They pay out grants to the community as needed. The nonprofit raises money, but also relies on a $53 million endowment to help.
Ducceschi said she thinks a leveling off of giving will likely happen because there was a campaign level of giving during the past year.
“It was emergent,” Ducceschi said. “People were hungry. People were homeless. And people knew that. I believe now there’s less of an immediacy of that now, but it’s now up to us to engage those donors who had a reason to give in the first place.”
Amanda Campbell, executive director of the Schuylkill Area Community Foundation, said they continue to help about 300 nonprofits around Schuylkill County, despite giving fluctuations throughout the pandemic.
“Fundraising has just shifted,” she said. Many nonprofits the foundation works with moved things online or through different such as online giving days. “Now as we are starting to come out of the pandemic, we are definitely seeing an uptick of in-person events.”
Campbell said after the initial shutdowns, many people quickly realized they could shift their giving opportunities. She said food banks and women’s shelters saw the most need.
The Schuylkill foundation disbursed about $1 million in 2020. Its endowment is around $35 million.
“Most of our local nonprofits continued to receive funds from their donors,” she said. “Some were higher than others because most people weren’t going out and doing things as often. More recently, we are seeing more pre-pandemic giving levels. It’s moderate, but it’s still giving. The generosity is still there.”
She said she hopes giving will continue.
“There’s still a need,” said Campbell.
Gingerich state across the state, thinks will pick-up, but it will take time – it could take as long as 36 months.
“People have to work before they can give,” she said. “Many of our organizations depend on individual contributions to survive. That’s going to take time to come back.”