Survey shows fundraising diversity, strength among local LGBT non-profits

Fourth annual Community Assessment Survey gauges support received by LGBT community organizations

by Matt Comer  Editor  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: December 6, 2013 in Cover Stories, Featured Stories, Non-Profit Surveys

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Organization Expenses & Revenues: Organizations’ financial data is presented above. Unless otherwise specified in footnotes, all figures are reported from 2012 Form 990 filings for calendar and tax year 2012 (Jan. 1-Dec. 31). See footnotes at bottom of page. Click here to see a larger version with footnotes and revenue graphs (PDF).

Local and regional LGBT non-profit organizations are showing strength in their fundraising efforts and diversity in the sources of their revenue, even as low numbers of community members are actively donating, according to data reported in qnotes’ fourth annual Community Assessment Survey.

The survey is a tool designed to gauge community organizations’ financial health and measure their commitment to transparency. This year, qnotes chose to review 17 non-profit organizations, each of which were open with their finances and of which 12 voluntarily agreed to participate in our survey.

In total, 14 organizations had their 2012 Form 990 — the annual tax return non-profit groups file with the IRS — publicly available or chose to provide them to qnotes when asked. One organization had yet to file a Form 990 for 2012 and two organizations that were not yet required to file a Form 990 voluntarily submitted estimates about their revenue and expenses for 2013.

Additionally, this is the first year in which qnotes was able to collect financial data for two years in a row. In past survey reports, qnotes examined two-year-old data. The data presented here comes from 2012 Forms 990, and information from 2011 returns is available at the bottom of this article. Also for the first time, qnotes chose this year to review only those local and regional organizations based in the Carolinas doing the bulk of their work in the region.

The survey, inspired by similar initiatives by other media and non-profit organizations, had three goals this year: (1) Document the general expenses and revenue of non-profit organizations, as well as their general occupancy and salary expenses; (2) Explore organizations’ various sources of revenue; and (3) Determine the number of individuals actively contributing to each organization.

Expenses and revenue

Since 2010, qnotes’ annual Community Assessment Survey has tracked the income and expenses of several organizations, providing insight into the year-over-year finances of several groups. Most groups have seen relatively stable income and expense levels, but some others have reported significant increases or declines.

Equality North Carolina showed significantly-increased expenses and revenue. In 2008, Equality North Carolina had income of $293,391 and expenses of $286,540. In 2012, that rose to $476,823 in revenue and $486,571, but much of that increase is likely attributable to the organization’s higher-profile role and increased donor and volunteer networks in the lead up to and after the May 2012 vote on North Carolina’s anti-LGBT constitutional amendment.

Time Out Youth reported $135,922 in revenue and $117,989 in expenses from the fall of 2008 through the fall of 2009. Their most recent Form 990 for their most recent full tax year, from Sept. 1, 2011, through Aug. 31, 2012, shows the group raised nearly 100 percent more compared to 2008, raising $211,171 in revenue, with expenses of $177,365.

The Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN), which relies on government and non-profit foundation grants for nearly half of its funding, saw both increases and declines in revenue from year to year. In 2008, the group reported $786,491 in revenue, followed by a significant increase to nearly $1.1 million in 2009 and a drop to $958,634 in 2010. In 2011, the group reported somewhat stable income of $925,177 and followed in 2012 with $955,185.

Occupancy and salary expenses

Nine of the 17 organizations reviewed by qnotes this year directly reported some sort of salary and benefits expense for employees. The largest salary expenses were reported by Carolinas Care Partnership and the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network, both of which provide case management for people living with HIV and employ several staff members to oversee and implement other support services. The third-highest salary expenses belonged to Time Out Youth. All of the organizations reported a significant portion of salaries as “program services” expenses — expenditures that support the direct support and implementation of programs and services.

Similarly, nine organizations reported occupancy expenses, such as rent and utilities. The two highest reported occupancy expenses were Carolinas Care Partnership at $66,973 and RAIN at $45,960.

The third highest occupancy expenses were reported by the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte, coming in at $41,580. The Charlotte center’s occupancy expenses totaled 49 percent of their total expenses of $84,333. Their occupancy costs were also nearly double the occupancy costs of a similar organization, the LGBT Center of Raleigh. The Raleigh center, which also employs a full-time executive director, spent just $21,596 on occupancy expenses, with a total budget of $142,939, more than one-and-a-half times greater than Charlotte’s, and revenue of $160,669, more than three times that of Charlotte’s $53,796.

Individual contributors

Ten of the 17 organizations reviewed this year voluntarily disclosed the number of individual contributors who donated money to their organization. Some groups showed great strength in the number of individual contributors or in the amount raised by contributors.

At more than 3,300 each, RAIN and the Equality North Carolina Foundation reported the highest number of individual contributors in 2012. Contributions from individuals accounted for more than a third of those organizations’ revenues.

Average single gift from
individual contributors

Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte $519
SC Equality $443
Southern Country Charlotte $276
Charlotte Pride $253
Time Out Youth $183
LGBT Center of Raleigh $175
Different Roads Home $167
SC Equality Coalition $125
RAIN $90
ENC Foundation $47

Other organizations had far fewer identifiable individual contributors. The Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte reported 60 identifiable individual contributors, with the total of all individual contributions accounting for 43 percent of its total revenues. South Carolina Equality reported 172 identifiable contributors in 2012, with the total of all individual contributions accounting for 58 percent of its total revenues. Time Out Youth reported 745 identifiable contributors in 2012, with the total of all individual contributions accounting for 59 percent of its total revenues. The LGBT Center of Raleigh reported 300 identifiable contributors in 2012, with the total of all individual contributions accounting for 33 percent of its total revenues. Charlotte Pride had 55 identifiable contributors in 2013, with the total of all individual contributions accounting for six percent of its total revenues.

Yet, on average, these organizations had higher single gifts. Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte’s average gift was $519, South Carolina Equality’s average gift was $443 and Charlotte Pride’s was $253, followed by Time Out Youth at $183 and the LGBT Center of Raleigh at $175, among others. That compares to an average of $47 per contributor for Equality North Carolina Foundation and $90 for RAIN. See chart on this page for more information.

Higher individual gifts might be seen as a positive for organizations, but also suggests that fewer individual persons are carrying the over-all burden of individual giving or that organizations haven’t quite tapped into larger sources of revenue from smaller gifts like $5 and $10 contributions from individuals.

Few individual donors

In a December 2012 report on several national and leading LGBT organizations’ 2011 expenses and revenues, the Movement Advancement Project found that only three percent of the estimated number of LGBT adults in the U.S. had donated $35 or more during the past year to one of the organizations it reviewed.

Low individual donor participation is also reflected on the local level. Combining all individual contributors for organizations in the Charlotte area provides an extremely liberal interpretation of the number of individual contributors, given that some individuals may donate to more than one organization and some contributors likely live outside of the Charlotte area. Even then, results show that only a very small portion, 4,164 people or approximately 1.7 percent of the total estimated 241,989 LGBT people or potential straight allies living in Charlotte had actively donated to the local organizations participating in qnotes’ survey.

Diversity of revenue sources

The Movement Advancement Project’s report also found that despite low participation, individual contributions made up the largest single portion of national organizations’ revenues. Individual contributions accounted for 36 percent of national organizations’ revenue, followed by 20 percent from foundations, 17 percent from in-kind contributions and 12 percent from fundraising events. Corporate donations accounted for 4 percent and government grants accounted for two percent, among other revenue sources.

Several organizations in qnotes’ Community Assessment Survey bested or closely matched national organizations’ revenues generated from individuals. Eight of the 12 participating organizations reported receiving 33 percent or more of their revenues coming from individual contributions.

Organizations also excelled at tapping into corporate support. While only four percent of national organizations’ revenues came from corporations, eight of the 12 participating organizations reported at least nine percent of their revenues coming from corporations.

Support from non-profit foundation grants were not as essential in local organizations’ funding. Equality North Carolina Foundation and South Carolina Equality reported 47 percent and 42 percent, respectively, of their revenues from foundations, but most groups reported 30 percent or less. Four organizations reported receiving no foundation support, though two of those — one a 501(c)4 advocacy group and another a 501(c)6 trade organization — were likely ineligible for most foundation grant programs.

Two organizations — Carolinas Care Partnership and RAIN — depended heavily on government support. Carolinas Care Partnership reported receiving 90 percent of its funding from either the state or federal governments. RAIN reported receiving 32 percent of its revenue from state or federal governments.

Reported Revenue Sources

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Above are graphs representing the breakdown in organizations’ revenue sources as voluntarily submitted by organizations that participated in our 2013 Community Assessment Survey. The graphs indicate the portions of revenue received by organizations from individual contributors, corporate contributions and sponsors, federal and state grants and grants from non-profit foundations. Other revenue sources are also indicated. Twelve of the 17 groups qnotes chose to review this year opted to voluntarily participate in the revenue survey. Figures may represent estimated, unreviewed or preliminary figures; qnotes’ presentation of this data is not intended to portray a full or final accounting of organizations’ revenue streams. If you seek more detailed information about an organization’s finances, please consult that organization’s completed and filed Form 990 or contact the organization directly.

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Organization Expenses & Revenue 2011

For the first time in our annual survey of local non-profits, we were able to document expenses and other data from the immediately preceding year. Below is also data from 2011. You can see past Community Assessment Survey coverage here.

Organization Expenses Revenue Occupancy Salaries/Benefits
Campaign for Southern Equality $29,857 $38,568 $834 $9,475
Carolina Care Partnership^a $1,633,897 $1,682,235 $69,666 $714,247
Charlotte Business Guild^b <$50,000 N/A N/A
Charlotte Pride Band^b <$50,000 N/A N/A
Equality North Carolina $441,438 $533,113 $23,158 $251,528
Equality North Carolina Foundation $402,054 $466,157 N/A^c N/A^c
Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte^d $77,283 $79,470 $13,813 N/A
LGBT Center of Raleigh $92,365 $105,530 $16,541 N/A
LGBT Community Center of Charlotte $72,810 $108,263 $43,509 $11,412
One Voice Chorus $73,759 $76,849 $11,035 N/A
Regional AIDS Interfaith Network $987,913 $925,177 $44,483 $568,860
South Carolina Equality $129,345 $127,000 $2,256 $77,841
South Carolina Equality Coalition $5,781 $10,568 N/A^c N/A^c
Southern Country Charlotte^b <$50,000 N/A N/A
Time Out Youth^e $145,696 $215,169 $6,000 $83,359

Notes for 2011 Chart:
Unless otherwise specified, all financial data represents that which was reported on a Form 990 for fiscal calendar year 2011.
a – For fiscal year July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011.
b – Smaller organizations are not required to file full Forms 990 or Forms 990-EZ. These organizations filed a Form 990-N “e-Postcard” with the IRS, indicating their gross receipts were no greater than $50,000.
c – Equality North Carolina Foundation shares some expenses with Equality North Carolina and did not record its own occupancy or salary expenses in its Form 990. Similarly, the South Carolina Equality Coalition shares some expenses with the South Carolina Equality Foundation and did not record its own occupancy or salary expenses in its Form 990.
d – For fiscal year July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011.
e – For fiscal year Sept. 1, 2010-Aug. 30, 2011.

Notes for 2012 Chart (at top):
Unless otherwise specified, all financial data represents that which was reported on a Form 990 for fiscal calendar year 2012.
a – For fiscal year July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012
b – Smaller organizations are not required to file full Forms 990 or Forms 990-EZ. These organizations filed a Form 990-N “e-Postcard” with the IRS, indicating their gross receipts were no greater than $50,000.
c – Different Roads Home was founded in 2013. Charlotte Pride’s tax-exempt status was reinstated this year, after being dormant since 2006. Neither Different Roads Home nor Charlotte Pride have yet been required to file a Form 990 for their activities this year. Data presented here represents voluntarily-submitted, unreviewed and preliminary figures and estimates as of the date of the newspaper’s requests and are not reflective nor predictive of any final accounting to be reported on their forthcoming 2013 Forms 990.
d – Equality North Carolina Foundation shares some expenses with Equality North Carolina and did not record its own occupancy or salary expenses in its Form 990. Similarly, the South Carolina Equality Coalition shares some expenses with the South Carolina Equality Foundation and did not record its own occupancy or salary expenses in its Form 990.
e – For fiscal calendar year 2011.
f – For fiscal year Sept. 1, 2011-Aug. 31, 2012. Time Out Youth also completed a Form 990 for Sept. 1-Dec. 31, 2012. Starting in 2013, its fiscal year will align with the calendar year.
§ – As voluntarily reported by organizations.