Rising public support and historic victories reverses trend
Following several years of declining revenue, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) social justice organizations experienced a 17% revenue increase from 2010 to 2011 according to a new report by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP). Organizations are reaping the benefits of improved efficiency during the belt-tightening years, and increased funding primarily fueled by an increase in individual donations, which helped secure historic victories in the 2012 election.
According to the 2012 National LGBT Movement Report, LGBT organizations are projecting combined 2012 expense budgets of $158.4 million, which will represent an 11% increase from 2011, while 2011 expenses increased by 15% from 2010. The report provides a comprehensive and standardized look at the LGBT movement’s finances across 40 major LGBT organizations which collectively represent 69% of the budgets of all LGBTQ social justice organizations.
“Individual donors are increasing their giving to LGBT organizations—and seeing results,” said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of MAP. “There is still a lot of work to be done, but the election left no doubt that Americans support equality for LGBT people. The time for change is now, and it’s heartening to see more and more donors supporting the organizations who are working tirelessly to make that change a reality. ”
“We are seeing more of a willingness to give on the part of donors, both those who are new to MassEquality and its mission to end discrimination and oppression based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, as well as those who have been with us from the beginning,” said MassEquality Executive Director Kara Suffredini. “Part of that is because the economy is improving and part of that is because donors interested in advancing social justice see that we are a smart investment.”
Despite these gains in giving, the report also revealed some other challenges:
-- The revenue of anti-LGBT organizations still greatly outweighs that of participating LGBT organizations, and the threat that comes from anti-LGBT initiatives funded with these dollars continues to jeopardize the lives of LGBT Americans.
--While more individual donors are giving to LGBT organizations, still only 3% of LGBT adults have donated to one of the 40 participating LGBT organizations.
-- Participating organizations received, on average, almost half (44%) of 2011 revenue from their 10 largest contributors—including individual donors, foundations and/or corporate donors.
Despite these challenges, the overall news is positive:
--General financial health remains strong. In 2011, organizations reported nearly six months of available working capital.
--Movement groups are highly efficient in their fundraising and programming operations. On average, 80% of total expenses are dedicated to programs and services, exceeding the nonprofit efficiency benchmarks set by American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) and Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance (BBB).
-- The staff of participating organizations is diverse, roughly mirroring the broader U.S. population with 34% identifying as people of color, and a lower percentage of senior staff (29%) identifying as people of color. Also, 49% are women and 7% identify as transgender.
-- Responsive fiscal management and expense reductions over the past few years have protected participating organizations, leaving them in a stronger position to capture and build upon a newly growing revenue base.
MassEquality is the leading statewide grassroots advocacy organization working to ensure that everyone across Massachusetts can thrive from cradle to grave without discrimination and oppression based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. We do this by partnering across issues, identities and communities to build a broad, inclusive and politically powerful movement that changes hearts and minds and achieves policy and electoral victories.