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EDITORIAL: S.C. non-profits still have need for generosity
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EDITORIAL: S.C. non-profits still have need for generosity

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Last September, according to a survey coordinated by Together SC, nearly two-thirds (63%) of nonprofits surveyed indicated they could survive six months or less without additional funding. In March, the percentage of those with the same answer about sustainability has only dropped slightly to 59%.

South Carolina’s nonprofit organizations are still in need.

As the pandemic and its impacts extend into 2021, Together SC, the state’s network of nonprofit organizations has conducted another survey via Kahle Strategic Insights. The findings convey the status of South Carolina’s nonprofit organizations one year into the COVID-19 health crisis.

The findings come from nearly 1,000 respondents, including those working in human services; arts, culture, and humanities; education; health; public/social benefit; religion; and, environment/animal welfare.

The data strongly suggest that federal financial assistance, like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the state’s CARES Act-funded grant program, helped many nonprofits, but only for a period of time. Forty-five percent of non-profit respondents receiving PPP loans still faced fiscal year operating losses.

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“Hearing from so many leaders, nearly a quarter of those surveyed, gives great credence to the survey’s findings that nonprofits are still struggling. These insights will help inform our partners and state and local government about the degree of continuing need within the nonprofit industry. It is our aim to ensure that key community organizations across the state can continue to serve the people of South Carolina as we move into the summer and beyond.” said Madeleine McGee, president of Together SC.

Other key findings:

• There’s been no change in the percent of those who reported being out of funds, still 5% of respondents.

• Cash, in support of programs and operations, is the single biggest need for these nonprofit organizations as they look to continue to operate through June 30, 2021.

• Human service organizations have the single biggest cash need for food, housing and assistance with basic human needs; a total of $23 million through June 30, 2021.

• Employment within the nonprofit industry in South Carolina has taken a hit. Jobs dropped by 7.5% in the last year.

“Government assistance to the nonprofit sector has been, and continues to be, essential for these organizations to maintain key services, especially in helping provide for basic human needs.” Dr. Robert Kahle, managing director of Kahle Strategic Insights, said.

South Carolinians have always been generous in supporting non-profits that serve the state's people, giving of their time and money to the work of worthwhile organizations. As much as government assistance in the form of PPP and CARES has been and is needed, there may be a silver lining in the form of indirect help from the government though personal generosity.

The personal-finance website WalletHub has done an Easter survey that finds people plan to be generous with their latest U.S. government stimulus checks, with 76 million saying they will donate part of the money to a religious organization.

Some of that money will find its way to affiliated non-profits. And surely still more dollars will be donated directly to those organizations without religious affiliation. They are counting on it to continue their missions.

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