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LGBT Organizations See Decrease in Financial Support as Urgent Work for Non-Discrimination and Other Protections Continues

DENVER, December 3, 2015 — As efforts to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people from discrimination intensify, LGBT social justice organizations’ revenues experienced a decline in revenue for the first time since the Great Recession of 2007-2008. According to a new report by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), despite the decrease in revenue, leading LGBT social justice organizations are projecting combined 2015 expense budgets totaling $189.6 million, a 12% increase from 2014 expenses.

The 2015 National LGBT Movement Report also found that while individual donor revenue grew 11% from 2013 to 2014, organizations lost an aggregate of $6.3 million of revenue from foundations over the same period, an 18% drop. Half of participating organizations experienced revenue declines, with the average of these organizations experiencing a shocking 20% revenue decline. Comparing participating LGBT organizations to national averages outside of the LGBT movement, revenue for the top 100 nonprofit organizations across the country increased 3.4%, compared to the 0.4% decrease in revenue for LGBT organizations.

The report provides a comprehensive overview of the finances and financial health of a key segment of the LGBT movement: LGBT social justice organizations focusing on broad LGBT advocacy, issue-specific advocacy, legal advocacy, and research and public education. The 38 national and leading statewide organizations participating in this report collectively represent 66% of the budgets of LGBT social justice organizations. Among the findings of the report:

  • Movement groups are highly efficient in their fundraising and programming operations. On average, 81% 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).
  • Fundraising and individual donations continue to increase, with a notable spike in individual giving, which increased 11% from 2013 to 2014 for participating LGBT nonprofits, compared to a 5.7% increase in individual giving for nonprofits nationwide.
  • General financial health remains strong. In 2014, LGBT organizations reported an average of sixth months of working capital, a 2% increase from 2013.

“Although we rejoiced at the Supreme Court decision granting same-sex couples the freedom to marry, in most of the country, transgender people can be kicked out of their apartments, LGBT students lack legal protections when they are bullied, and anti-LGBT activists are introducing harmful legislation and efforts to repeal existing legal protections at every level of government,” said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of MAP. “Now is not the time to reduce support for LGBT organizations.”

The report also uncovered some other challenging trends:

  • While more individual donors are giving to LGBT organizations, still less than 3.3% of LGBT adults have donated to one of the participating LGBT organizations.
  • Participating organizations received, on average, 39% of their 2014 revenue from their 10 largest contributors. Eleven organizations received more than 50% of their income from their top 10 contributors. Only five organizations received less than 20% of their income from their top 10 contributors.
  • Organizations experienced an alarming 18% drop in foundation contributions, which fell from $35.3 million in 2013 to $29.0 million in 2014.
  • The racial and ethnic diversity of paid staff at participating organizations have similar diversity to the overall population: 38% of paid staff identify as people of color compared to 38% of the U.S. population. However, among senior staff, the percentage who are people of color was 35%. Also, 46% of all staff are women and 8% identify as transgender.

“We end the year with only 19 states and Washington D.C. with comprehensive statewide nondiscrimination laws. Last year, there was a record number of harmful anti-LGBT bills introduced in state legislatures,” said Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of Equality Federation. “It will require a deeper investment to extend nondiscrimination protections across the country, as well as to preserve our hard-won victories.”

The LGBT movement saw progress in a number of areas. To view an extended timeline of the progress and setbacks of 2015, visit http://www.lgbtmap.org/2015-timeline.

The report is available at http://lgbtmap.org/2015-national-lgbt-movement-report.

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Founded in 2006, the Movement Advancement Project is an independent think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and analysis that help speed equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. www.lgbtmap.org

Media Contact:
Calla Rongerude
Movement Advancement Project (MAP)
(415) 205-2420