2022 Survey: A Focus on Racial Equity

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NFF’s 2022 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey gathered data to compare the experiences of BIPOC-led (Black, Indigenous, and person of color) organizations with those of white-led organizations. 

A greater number of BIPOC-led organizations saw an increase in service demand during the pandemic: 81% of BIPOC-led nonprofits, compared to 67% of white-led organizations. They are more likely to have leadership that represents the communities they serve: 57% of BIPOC CEOs/EDs have lived experience that is representative of one or more of the communities their organization serves, compared to 18% of white CEOs/EDs. Also, BIPOC-led organizations were more likely than white-led organizations to take public action about racial equity: for instance, 59% of BIPOC-led organizations publicly advocated for policies to advance racial equity in the communities they serve, compared to 41% of white-led organizations.  

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We strongly encourage all foundations, investors, individual donors, and government agencies that contract with nonprofits to review this data, to note the disparities in how the nonprofit funding system is supporting BIPOC-led organizations, and to take action to change that, honoring the valuable contributions of BIPOC-led organizations by supporting them with the resources they need to support communities’ aspirations. 

The impact of 2020-2021 on how nonprofits work:  

  • While most nonprofits across the sample saw an increase in demand for services over the last two years, 64% of BIPOC-led organizations saw a significant increase in demand (10%+ increase in demand), versus 47% of white-led organizations.  

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A focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion: 

  • 68% increased their focus on advancing racial equity over the past two years.  
  • 95% have taken one or more actions to address diversity, equity, and inclusion, such as DEI discussions with their Board (79%) and staff (78%).  
  • When it comes to advancing racial equity, 48% of BIPOC-led organizations have been actively engaged in advancing racial equity for 5+ years, as compared to 29% of white-led organizations. 
  • While nearly all respondents took actions to address DEI in various ways, we see some differences emerge in terms of actions taken based on the organizations’ leaders’ racial identity: 
    • 64% of BIPOC led organizations developed, improved and/or expanded services to Black, Indigenous, or other people of color, as compared to 52% of white-led organizations. 

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The financial picture emerging from 2020-2021:  

  • In FY2021, 36% of nonprofits received more than half of their funding in unrestricted funds, including general operating support. Unrestricted funding is critical for most nonprofits; it lets them decide how to spend their funds to best support their work. Forty-one percent of white-led nonprofits received 50% or more unrestricted funds in FY2021 as compared to 26% of BIPOC-led organizations.  
  • 66% of white-led organizations ended FY2021 with a surplus, as did 64% of AAPI- and Latinx-led organizations. 49% percent of Black-led organizations ended FY2021 with a surplus. 
  • White-led nonprofits were also more likely to receive corporate donations in 2021—71% vs 58% for BIPOC-led nonprofits. They were also more likely to have revenue from sales (23% for white-led organizations; 11% for BIPOC-led organizations), from the federal government, excluding PPP (46% of white-led organizations; 32% of BIPOC-led organizations) and from investment income (33% white-led vs 16% BIPOC-led). 
  • Achieving long-term financial sustainability is the most cited financial challenge across the sample. 82% of BIPOC-led organizations reported this as a top need, as did 69% of white-led organizations. 

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About the Survey

  • 1,168 respondents from 47 states plus Puerto Rico and District of Columbia.
  • Leaders from a diverse array of service areas, with human services (including housing, youth services, and other) representing the highest percentage (39%), followed by arts & culture (12%) and community/economic development (11%).
  • Organizations of all sizes participated: 12% had annual expenses less than $100,000 in the 2021 fiscal year, while 7% were at $20,000,000 or more.
  • 69% primarily or exclusively serve people with lower incomes.
  • 33% of responding organizations are BIPOC-led, which, for the purposes of this survey, we define as having an Executive Director or CEO who is Black, Indigenous, or other person of color.
Looking more closely at the makeup of BIPOC-led (Black, Indigenous, or person of color) nonprofits, respondents came from organizations with the following leadership (note, respondents could select more than one identity, so the total slightly exceeds 100%):
  • American Indian or Alaska Native: 1%
  • Middle Eastern or North African (MENA): 1%
  • Other or Unsure: 3%
  • Multi-Racial/Multi-Ethnic: 4%
  • Asian or Asian American, Native Hawaiian and/or Pacific Islander: 8%
  • Hispanic or Latinx: 11%
  • Black or African American: 14%
  • Non-Hispanic White: 63%
Additional background:
  • 74 of the organizations in our survey sample were founded in the last five years; of those, 77% are BIPOC-led.
  • 83% of BIPOC-led organizations primarily or exclusively serve people with lower incomes, as compared to 62% of white-led organizations.
However, we also recognize that “BIPOC” (Black, Indigenous, or person of color) as a category merges and could potentially obscure the different experiences of specific racial/ethnic groups. So, we occasionally highlight the specific responses of Latinx/Hispanic-led, Black-led, and AAPI-led (Asian American/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander) nonprofits, where there are notable differences in the data amongst these groups. Additionally, for purposes of this document:
  • A Black leader is a CEO/ED who identifies as Black or African American.
  • A Latinx leader is a CEO/ED who identifies as Hispanic or Latinx.
  • An AAPI leader is a CEO/ED who identifies as Asian or Asian American, Native Hawaiian and/or Pacific Islander.
  • A multi-racial leader is a CEO/ED who identifies as Multi-Racial/Multi-Ethnic.
  • A white leader is a CEO/ED who identifies as Non-Hispanic White.
We also defined the size of organizations using the following budget ranges:
  • $0 to $499,999: Smaller-sized organization
  • $500,000 to $4,999,999: Mid-sized organization
  • $5,000,000 or more: Larger-sized organization

Continue exploring 2022 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey results

You can also take a closer look at the experiences of LA-area nonprofits

Explore the survey brochure for more analysis, including charts and graphs of key fundings.

NFF thanks the Bank of America Charitable Foundation for generously supporting the 2022 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey, and for its ongoing support of the Survey since 2010. The 2022 survey was conducted in partnership with EVITARUS and Ambit 360.

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