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Survey reveals SC Nonprofits still in need of help

Updated: Mar. 31, 2021 at 9:18 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Nonprofit organizations in South Carolina are seeing an increased need for services because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While they are working to meet those needs, a new study reveals some are struggling to keep afloat.

Together SC, a statewide network of nonprofit organizations, worked with Kahle Strategic Insights to conduct a survey that looked at how the state’s nonprofits are functioning one year into the pandemic.

The report, a follow-up from a September Survey, revealed that many non-profits are still in need of financial help and employees.

“In September we surveyed and found out that 63% of our respondents, and we had over 500 in the fall, only had resources to last six months if no other money came in,” Together SC President Madeleine McGee said. “This time we heard back from 927 nonprofits across the state, nearly double from the fall, and we thought that conditions would be better because of money from federal support, but they weren’t.”

Out of the respondents, 59% indicated they could only survive six months or less without additional funding.

“Organizations that are in the human services, particularly food banks, folks that help with housing, and homeless shelters, have been overwhelmed,” Robert Kahle PHD., Managing Director of Kahle Strategic Insights, said. “The need in terms of food, shelter, and basic healthcare is way over what they needed before.”

The survey found that nonprofits across the state need on average, a total of $54 million or about $63,000 each, to meet their needs. Those funds are only for the recipients who answered the survey, about 25% of all nonprofits in the state.

“No single revenue source is going to be able to solve the problem. We need the federal government to step up, state government to step up, local and municipal governments, but also foundations, individuals, and businesses to step forward,” Kahle said.

With the support of the community, some organizations like the Lowcountry Food Bank say they have been able to keep up with the demand.

“We’ve been able to give families about 40 pounds of food at distributions and we are continuing to operate at that same rate, same operational procedures right now for the foreseeable future,” Lowcountry Food Bank Chief Development Officer Brenda Shaw said.

Shaw says they are still accepting food donations and money donations.

Dorothea Bernique is the executive Director of Increasing Hope Financial Training Center, a community service provider that helps people manage their finances.

She says they have been able to receive financial assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program and grants, but they are looking for more opportunities to receive funds.

“Although increasing hope had a need, we were not able to take part in federal funds that came down to our state because we were recipients of PPP funds and other funds,” Bernique said. “My encouragement to local and state leaders is do not penalize those who are still standing in need as well.”

The survey also revealed some silver linings for nonprofits. More than two-thirds of responding organizations see positive impacts from the year during the pandemic.

For more information about the findings from the survey, click here.

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