Summer Update – 2020 Sector Snapshot

The new summer update to our 2020 Sector Snapshot reveals the extent to which effects of COVID-19, the economic downturn, and the anti-racism movement are continuing to alter the Southern California nonprofit sector and how leaders are adapting.

  • 82% of nonprofit leaders indicated that they have made significant changes to their programs in order to meet changing community needs in the wake of the current crises.

  • Smaller organizations (1-4 FTE) have experienced more significant disruptions to their funding and revenue compared to larger organizations (50+ FTE).

  • 17% of organizations are either preparing to close down or have already done so, down slightly from what we heard via our Sector Survey in April (20%).

  • 2/3 reported that they are looking at their DEI practices internally and externally despite everything else going on.

  • Almost all organizations that applied for PPP loans received them (64.5% surveyed applied and 62.5% of those received them).

The snapshot, which is comprised of data gathered over a few days in late July from a survey of 150 nonprofit leaders, was also informed by CNM’s regular contact with hundreds of local leaders, nonprofit clients, members, program attendees, funders and government officials can be accessed here. You can also view the recording of our 8/21/20 Lunch & Learn when we walked through the results and discussed what they mean as organizations continue to adapt.

Right now, “there’s a kind of re-grouping that’s happening right now, a quick pause to evaluate options” noted CNM President & CEO Regina Birdsell. While nonprofits are looking at what’s sustainable as they assess the quick shifts they made to address an explosion in need or a complete shutdown of some services and programs, funders are also considering how they’ll allocate support in 2021 given the growing scale of need. “This is a good time to talk to your funders, donors, staff,” she said. “New strategies are emerging to provide services differently and there is a growing willingness to renegotiate grants and contract terms to better address emerging needs. This is a great time to ask for what you need and communicate more than ever.”

What we’re also seeing is this is not a one-size-fits-all moment – meaning there is no clear formula (budget size, age of organization, staff size) that will indicate how a nonprofit will weather this storm. What is an indicator, albeit one difficult to quantify, seems to be organizational resilience – the capacity for teams to creatively adapt to changing circumstances regardless of mission. We’ll continue to explore what’s working for those groups that are succeeding and work to share those learnings with our community. And we are also leaning into our own resilience by continuing to listen to the needs of our community and respond with relevant training, timely webinars, sector advocacy, and information-sharing gatherings such as this one.

Finally, the last push for the Census is underway and nonprofit leaders play a critical role in reminding your clients that services they want to see in their neighborhood depend on this information. And it is also time to remind people to register to vote. Onward!

Download the 2020 Sector Snapshot and the Summer Update here.

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CNM Nonprofit Hotline

Need expert advice? We’re only an email or phone call away. Use this form to get in touch or call the Nonprofit Answer Hotline at the number listed below.

You can also schedule a free, 15-minute appointment and we’ll match you with an in-house expert.








To select more than one item, hold Command on Mac or Control on PC.