The Winnipeg Foundation launches stage two of its bellwether survey initiative.
The Winnipeg Foundation aims to help our community as much as we are able. Part of that responsiveness is understanding what charities are facing. In Spring 2020, The Winnipeg Foundation conducted an eight-week COVID-19 sector survey. The Foundation invited 18 bellwether organizations, representing its five Cause areas, to provide information on their service and delivery situation amidst a global pandemic. Seventeen participated. The same organizations were invited to participate in a follow up survey in September 2021, with a response rate of 90 per cent (16 charities). Results from the findings will help inform The Foundation’s future grantmaking.
Summary of 2021 findings
Out of 16 organizations that responded, 12 indicated that 50 per cent or more of their services and activities had returned to pre-pandemic levels, while the remaining four organizations indicated 25 per cent or less of their services and activities had resumed to the same levels.
The survey also sought information from organizations about the demand for their services. The majority (10/16) reported an increase in demand, while two reported a decrease and an additional two reported no change in demand. When asked whether they are meeting demands for their services, just over half (9/16) reported they were.
Compare that to spring 2020…Two-thirds of charities surveyed suspended or cancelled at least 25 per cent of services offered, and three-quarters experienced either the same or an increase in demand.
Use of technology
The organizations were asked how much of their services had been moved online. Seven out of the 16 organizations indicated that 25 per cent or less of their services and/or activities had been moved online. Three of the 16 organizations indicated that three quarters or more of their services/activities had been moved online.
Compare that to spring 2020…Approximately three quarters of charities surveyed moved some or all services online.
Costs and revenue
When asked about their financial situation and whether their revenues had returned to pre-pandemic levels, the majority of organizations (11/16) reported that their revenues had not returned to pre-pandemic levels.
The organizations were asked if they had changed their fundraising approach. The majority (12) of the 16 organizations reported a change in their approach. The changes organizations have made include balancing in-person and virtual fundraising, applying for additional grants, diversifying their fundraising sources, and focusing on donor relations and stewardship.
The majority of organizations also reported an increase in operational costs. Ten out of 16 report an increase, while three organizations reported a decrease. Increases in operational costs are attributed to: additional cleaning protocols; increase in rent and utilities; renting of new or additional space to accommodate physical distancing; IT upgrades/security/ insurance; staffing; and the purchasing of additional supplies to meet community demand
Compare that to spring 2020…Approximately 75 per cent of surveyed charities advised they had experienced a loss in revenue, and all considered that loss “significant.”
Left to Right: Dr. Linda Hamilton, Winnipeg Foundation donor; Albert El Tassi, Winnipeg Foundation board member and donor; Liz Wilson and Ian Barnett, FortWhyte Alive; Mercy Oluwafemi, Youth in Philanthropy alumna and Winnipeg Foundation donor; Suhky Mann, LiteracyWorks; Doris Koop, Vision Impaired Resources Network.
This story is featured in the Fall 2021 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.