The Health of our Nonprofits in 2020 – Survey Results

Greenville County’s Nonprofit Institutions Need “All Hands On Deck”

College of Charleston’s Riley Center for Livable Communities and Together SC Survey

Findings Underscores Needs and Resilience

 CHARLESTON, SC, September 18, 2020  Today, the College of Charleston, Together SC, SC Grantmakers Network and funding partners release top line results of a statewide survey that examines the status South Carolina’s nonprofit organizations.  A report specific to Greenville County’s nonprofits was developed with support from Greenville Partnership for Philanthropy, Community Foundation of Greenville, and the NonProfit Alliance.

The survey was distributed through United Ways, Community Foundations, philanthropic foundations and Together SC to nearly 3,000 charitable organizations across the state. The vast majority of the 566 responses were submitted by presidents/CEOs/executive directors of participating organizations. In Greenville County, 66 organizations responded.

GPP NPA Recap from GPP – Greenville Philanthropy on Vimeo.

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps through South Carolina the demand for services from the state’s nonprofit sector has increased and strained resources. At the same time, fee-based services and fundraising events have been cancelled stifling cash flow for many of these organizations.


Key findings revealed by responding nonprofits include:

  • 29% say they can only operate for three more months without additional financial support.
  • Since COVID-19, in total, 60% report a decrease in funding, while 24% indicate a slight or significant increase. There is great variation by sector with Arts, Culture and the Humanities being the most negatively affected and Human Services and Public and Social Benefit faring better.
  • Looking forward through the end of the calendar year, Greenville County’s nonprofits have significant needs to continue their missions, further adapt their service models and offset lost revenue from cancelled galas and fundraising events. Fifty-eight percent report that their greatest need is cash to meet operating needs due to lost revenue. In aggregate, responding nonprofits need more than $3.6 million to replace lost revenues and sustain themselves through the end of the calendar year.


“We are grateful for the partnership that sponsored this study and for the College of Charleston’s Riley Center for designing and executing it. With a better understanding of the depth and breadth of the crisis nonprofits are facing, Together SC and our allies for good hope to ensure that key community assets across the state can continue to serve the people of South Carolina.” said Madeleine McGee, president of Together SC.

 “Every sector of South Carolina’s economy has taken a hit from COVID-19 but finding a way to support the nonprofit sector is essential as many of these organizations serve vulnerable populations who have nowhere else to turn. This is an “all hands on-deck” situation where nonprofits need government, philanthropic, corporate and individuals support to sustain through the uncertain end of the pandemic.” said Bob Kahle of the Riley Center. 

The Riley Center for Livable Communities at the College of Charleston conducted this survey from September 1-8, 2020 in partnership with Together SC, the South Carolina Grantmakers Network, the United Way Association of South Carolina, the Greenville Partnership for Philanthropy, the Community Foundation of Greenville, and the NonProfit Alliance Greenville. A total of 566 nonprofit organizations in South Carolina completed the 33-question survey.

The survey research was designed to:

  • Assess the financial health and status of nonprofits in South Carolina.
  • Understand operational and programmatic changes made by nonprofits as a result of COVID-19 and needs they may have going forward.
  • Learn if nonprofit organizations have changed, expanded or revised their mission or methods of service delivery as a result of COVID-19.



More Articles