58% of Nonprofit Employees Report Program Cuts Within Their Organization

58% of Nonprofit Employees Report Program Cuts Within Their Organization

Nearly 9 in 10 nonprofit employees experience workplace changes due to COVID-19
A nonprofit donation center

Businesses have endured some of the most difficult times throughout the pandemic — and nonprofits are no exception. From program reductions to layoffs, nonprofits have had to adjust for these unprecedented economic and social changes.

According to a recent survey from Eagle Hill Consulting, 58% of nonprofit employees reported budget cuts in 2020, while almost half (49%) expect more cost-cutting changes to occur through 2021. Without a doubt, the pandemic has disrupted the nonprofit industry, forcing organizations to change or restructure their operations.

Nonprofit employees facing job uncertainty

Nonprofit employees have felt the pressure of the pandemic, with an overwhelming majority of employees (88%) revealing that the COVID-19 crisis has impacted their work responsibilities. Social distancing regulations and travel restrictions are just some of the challenges nonprofit employers face day to day. Another recent survey found that the pandemic may make remote work — among other changes — permanent.

Unsurprisingly, nonprofit budgets have been impacted due to the pandemic. Over 58% of employers cut costs in 2020, and 49% of employees expect these budget changes to continue in 2021. In the past six months, the survey found these direct impacts on nonprofit employees:

  • Program reductions: 30%
  • Hiring freezes: 30%
  • Furloughs: 25%
  • Salary reductions: 24%
  • Layoffs: 20%

Nonprofit employees expect similar changes to occur into 2021 — including program reductions (32%), hiring freezes (32%), salary reductions (23%), layoffs (20%) and furloughs (17%) as the pandemic continues to rage on.

On the other hand, another survey found that 81% of companies have not reduced workers' base compensation — revealing that the nonprofit sector faces more economic strains than other businesses.

Fundraising efforts shift to COVID-19 relief and racial justice

The crisis hasn't just impacted nonprofit employees in the workplace. Many nonprofits have changed their fundraising efforts to support economic and social recovery efforts. In the past six months, 51% of nonprofits raised money for COVID-19 relief, while 19% fundraised for racial justice causes.

Although these efforts may stray away from the nonprofit's mission, this data demonstrates how organizations have quickly adapted since the start of the pandemic.

Diversity and inclusion efforts increase

Nonprofits have not only changed their fundraising goals, but have introduced an overhaul of their internal operations. For instance, 58% of employees report that leadership has implemented new and improved goals and activities related to diversity and inclusion.

In the last six months, over half of employees cite that their respective organization has increased the following efforts within the workplace:

  • More training: 44%
  • Staff conversations: 33%
  • Governance structures: 18%
  • Affinity groups: 17%
  • Reformed recruiting: 14%
  • Changed HR policies: 12%

Amid budget costs and job insecurity, nonprofits have been proactive and adopted these hopeful changes to make workplaces more inclusive. In comparison, another survey found that nearly 8 in 10 employees revealed that their company has not implemented any changes related to diversity in the past year.

Methodology: Eagle Hill Consulting randomly sampled and surveyed 505 nonprofit employees across the United States. This survey took place in October 2020.