Nonprofits grapple with pandemic changes

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The pandemic has put stress on local nonprofits. Annual fundraisers have gone virtual. Some are seeing an increase in need for services.

All of this requires funding. Nonprofits receive funding in a variety of ways: fundraisers, donations, and grants.

Two organizations that provide grants to nonprofits are the United Way of Allen County and the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne.

The United Way has a three year grant cycle. It is currently in year two. The cycle usually requires nonprofits to propose a program and the United Way will fund those. Because of the pandemic, the United Way is allowing those funds to be allocated to general funds. That includes salaries, operating expenses, and whatever is needed.

The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne allows nonprofits to use funds “without any shackles,” according to the president and CEO, Brad Little.

Both the Community Foundation and United Way said the switch to virtual fundraisers for nonprofits are getting mixed responses.

Little said he’s heard from nonprofits that are receiving a positive response, whereas others are not. He said he hasn’t found a correlation why some work and others don’t.

He also explained the nonprofits that are doing well with getting support are maintaining great donor relationships.

Vice President of Community Impact at United Way of Allen County Tiffany Bailey said the pivot to virtual events is sometimes taking a toll, too. She said not all nonprofits have the resources to outfit virtual events to make it successful.

Bailey also explained businesses are looking at money being spent. In turn, nonprofits are seeing corporate sponsorships and donations are down.

“So the needs are greater than ever. And the resources, the financial resources have shrunk. And so the time for, and being very critical for individual donors willing to be able to provide financial assistance is so much more important now than ever before,” said Bailey.

Little said he’s surveyed some of the nonprofits the Community Foundation supports on how they’re doing.

“By and large the good news is a fair amount of our nonprofits are sustainable… Now I think maybe by 4th quarter 2021 depending how things shake out, we could start seeing some real trouble,” said Little.

Both the Community Foundation and United Way say they will continue to support nonprofits.

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