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Survey Results: How is COVID-19 affecting Kansas City nonprofits?

Nonprofit Connect recognizes the coronavirus outbreak is impacting the Kansas City nonprofit community. Through an online survey, we collected information on how organizations are being impacted to learn what resources are needed most. 104 nonprofits responded between March 20 and March 25. We've compiled the results, and pulled out notable comments for organizations, funders, the wider community to understand the lasting effects of this crisis on our charitable sector and the services we provide.

Question #1: Has your organization been impacted by the spread of spread of the coronavirus, or do you expect it to be impacted?

Question #1 Results:

  • Yes - 99.03%
  • No - 0.97%

Question #2: If you replied "Yes" to the above, which of the following impacts has your organization experienced or anticipates experiencing? (Check all that apply.)


Question #2 Results:

  • Cancellation of programs or events and corresponding reduced revenue - 87.25%
  • Disruption of services to clients and communities - 72.55%
  • Disruption of supplies or services provided by partners - 35.29%
  • Increased and sustained staff and volunteer absences - 45.10%
  • Challenges related to staff and volunteers needing to work remotely - 71.57%
  • Increased demand for services/support from clients and communities - 41.18%
  • Budgetary implications related to strains on the economy - 75.49%
  • Other - 11.76%

Question #3: Please estimate the level of severity that any impacts are currently having or are predicted to have on the programs, services, or general operations of your organization.


Question #3 Results:

  • Low (little to no impact) - 1.96% 
  • Moderate (minor disruption) - 26.47% 
  • High (significant impact) - 71.57% 


Question #4: If your organization is experiencing or is anticipating a DECREASE in revenue related to the coronavirus, please list either the dollar amount or the percent decrease.

80% of organizations reported experiencing or anticipating a decrease in revenue related to coronavirus  
  • Ranged from 9% - 100% of revenue
  • 31% average percentage reported
  • Ranged from $1,500 to $1,000,000 decrease
  • $93,455 average amount reported
Notable Comments:
  • “We are planning for a 25% reduction in individual contributions, a 15% reduction in foundation grants and a 15% reduction in ticket sales.”
  •  “Last week, we saw a 56% decrease of patient revenues. This is hitting us hard!”

Question #5: If your organization is experiencing or is anticipating an INCREASE in expenses related to the coronavirus, please list either the dollar amount or the percent increase.

35% of organizations reported experiencing or anticipating an increase in expenses related to coronavirus.
  • Ranged from <1% to 30% increase
  • 10% average percentage increase reported
  • Ranged from $150 - $1,000,000
  • $165,685 average increase reported
Notable Comments:
  •  “We had to spend about $5,000 to get everyone hooked up remotely so that we can provide services.”
  •  “Food donations from individuals has halted due to risk, so we are ordering directly which is more expensive.”

Question #6: What specific impacts do you anticipate COVID-19 will have on the community or population your nonprofit serves?

“Right now we're seeing an influx of community members who need help, don't know about/how to navigate community resources, and total disruption to all of our community-based programming. LOTS of people are out of work and need food, emergency bill assistance, childcare, and jobs.”
“Diaper need is going to skyrocket. Many of our families will be hard hit by layoffs and need even more diapers than usual. We’re receiving hundreds of new phone calls per day from families needing diapers. Additionally, there is a diaper shortage in the community.  People are hoarding diapers like they are toilet paper. Amid all of this, we cannot rely on the 100+ volunteers we use each week to wrap and prep diapers for distribution..”
“We are having significant implications protecting our staff while serving clients in their homes and in our facilities.”
“We provide vision screenings at preschools, daycares and Head Starts.  As long as there are quarantines and shelter-in-place orders, we will not be providing screenings. We expect that children we would have served will get their vision disorders detected later or not at all.”
“We provide housing, support and day program services to approximately 165 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We have had to shelter-in-place all residents, which requires staff to remain at the homes of the individuals 24/7 for 30 days. The rush on necessary supplies has lead to difficulty obtaining items that are vital to the health and safety of all. Administrative staff are working remotely, which has presented some difficulties as we are not entirely equipped for that. The economic impacts will affect all persons from our organization from staff to clients.”
“If the social distancing goes into our next performance season, it will have a profound effect on the organization.”
“We are a safety net health clinic in Wyandotte County. Patients are being asked to reschedule non-essential visits, which can correlate to poor health. Our surrounding community will likely face high unemployment rates, will be out of school for several months and many unable to continue home schooling due to internet, lack of parental involvement, and other factors.”
“We were very quick to put in-person services on hold. We are trying to use technology to help. However, being a very small nonprofit we only have 1 laptop with Zoom capabilities.  Additionally, our computers are very antiquated not allowing work on our finances or database to be done remotely.”
“With children not in school, there is a higher risk of child abuse and less opportunity to report.”
“As an organization that does so much of our fundraising through events internationally this will have a huge impact on our ability to fundraise dollars to support our mission and to retain staff.”


Question #7: Are there any additional resources or guidance that we could provide or share on COVID-19 preparation?

Among open-ended answers to this question, these topics were clear trends.
  • Emergency and Gap Funding – 12 responses
  • Understanding Government Relief Legislation – 10 responses
  • How to Fundraise During Economic Downturn – 5 responses
  • Working Remotely – 3 responses
  • Operations & Continuity Planning – 3 responses
Notable Comments: 
  • “Money is the most important way individuals can help. It’s not safe to train new volunteers.”
  •  “We need guidance on federal financial aid for both our organization and our individual staffers as we begin lay-offs.”

The Takeaway

Nonprofits are dealing with many of the same challenges as businesses, including continuity of operations during a crisis and the safety of their staff.

Unlike many businesses, the demand for nonprofit services is increasing exponentially, especially things like medical care, food and housing, childcare, and emergency bill assistance for those in need. Many nonprofits are on the front lines of this crisis and serving the most vulnerable populations, whether it’s the elderly or those who have been laid off.

On top of that, funds and resources are decreasing. Many nonprofits have had to cancel their fundraising events and programs that bring in revenue. In the long term, fundraising during a down economy is incredibly difficult.

In summary, nonprofit services are needed now more than ever. But many organizations will be unable to continue to provide services without emergency funds and additional resources.

The impact on our community will undeniable. Rescheduling non-essential visits at safety-net clinics leads to bigger health problems. Children staying home from school leads to a higher rate of child abuse. A higher rate of unemployment and under-resourced shelters leads to increased homelessness. This isn’t a nonprofit problem – it’s a Kansas City problem. Everyone needs to step up and help out.

Coronavirus Resources

Nonprofit Connect has compiled a list of considerations and resources for local nonprofits to be prepared, and we're updating the list daily. We're also providing virtual events for learning and connection. 

Each day brings new challenges. Remember the reason we were drawn to do this work is to make a difference, even in the face of opposition.


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