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LGBT Organizations See Continued Financial Growth and Stability

Annual Analysis of LGBT Movement Finds Another Year of Increased Revenues and Donations

Denver, CO, December 15, 2016 — 2015 held many changes for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organizations and their funders, especially as a result of the Supreme Court’s decisive ruling that expanded the freedom to marry nationwide. As a few major organizations closed their doors declaring their mission accomplished, others sought to broaden their work and hold ground against the almost immediate backlash in state legislatures across the country, which included efforts to thwart nondiscrimination protections, broad religious exemption laws, and attacks on transgender people and their ability to participate fully in public life.

According to a new report by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), leading LGBT social justice organizations reported an increase in revenue of 8% overall, including 5% growth in individual donor revenue from 2014 to 2015. Cumulatively, the 36 participating organizations had combined 2016 budgets of $188.8 million, a 14% increase from their 2015 actual combined expenses.

“The past year and a half has brought momentous progress for LGBT equality which included securing the freedom to marry nationwide. However, we now must focus on protecting and defending our hard-fought and hard-won gains while also looking ahead to critical protections still needed for LGBT people and our families,” said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of the Movement Advancement Project. “We are facing a political climate that is more hostile to LGBT people than any we’ve seen in the prior eight years. Now is the time to stand with LGBT organizations and sustain our commitment to progress and equality for all.”

The 2016 National LGBT Movement Report provides a comprehensive and standardized look at LGBT movement’s finances across key, issue-specific LGBT organizations: LGBT social justice organizations focusing on broad LGBT advocacy, issue-specific advocacy, legal advocacy, and research and public education. The 36 organizations represent 45% of the budgets of all LGBT social justice organizations. As the national, state, and local landscapes change for LGBT equality, tracking these trends moving forward will be crucial for understanding the financial health and stability of the movement. Among the findings in the report:

Revenue and Expenses

  • Participating organizations reported increased revenues and expenses. Organizations reported an 8% increase in revenue for 2015 over 2014, compared to a national report on the top 100 nonprofit organizations nationwide, which reported a combined growth of just 2.6%. At the same time, 2015 expenses for participating organizations increased 4% from 2014.
  • Individual donor and corporate contributions continue to grow. Individual donor revenue, the greatest share of cumulative revenue, grew 5% from 2014 to 2015. Organizations raised a combined total of $6.8 million from corporate contributions in 2014 and $9.6 million in 2015, a 41% increase. Notably, among the 33 organizations reporting this data, the number of donors giving $25,000 or more increased by 45% over five years for participating organizations.
  • Participating organizations have robust working capital and have kept fundraising costs low. Of total expenses, 79% were dedicated to programs and services and only 11% to fundraising, well above nonprofit standards.
  • The indicators of financial health show a movement poised for the work ahead in the near future. The average liquidity ratio is healthy, and long-term debt is down for participating organizations, however, so are long-term assets.

Staff and Boards

  • Organizations have diverse staff that mirror the overall population. 38% of paid staff at participating organizations identify as people of color. Among senior staff, the percentage identifying as people of color is 36%.
  • Slightly less than half of staff (48%) identify as women, 46% as men, and 6% as genderqueer or another gender. Slightly more than one in ten staff (11%) identify as transgender. Looking just at the 31 non-transgender-specific organizations that reported this data, 11 have more than 10% of their staff who identify as transgender.
  • For the first time this year, participating organizations were asked to report on the sexual orientation of their staff and board members. Of the 24 participating organizations to report this data, 59% of staff identified as gay or lesbian, 7% as bisexual, 0.2% as asexual, 24% as another orientation, and 10% as straight.

The report also uncovered some challenges ahead:

  • While there has been a cumulative increase in revenue from individual contributions, LGBT organizations continue to rely on contributions from a small fraction of the LGBT community. The total number of people who gave $35 or more to a participating organization represents approximately 3.1% of the total number of LGBT adults in the United States.
  • For the 33 organizations that reported this data, donors giving $35 to $999 actually decreased 7% from 2014 to 2015, while donors giving $1,000 to $24,999 increased 2% and donors giving $25,000 or more increased 6%. Compared to 2011, the number of donors increased across all categories. Most notably, the number of donors giving $25,000 or more increased by 45% over five years.
  • A few organizations experienced steep revenue decline despite steady growth overall for the participating organizations. Fourteen participating organizations experienced revenue declines, with an average decline of 20% for these organizations. Participating organizations also experienced an aggregate 11% decrease in government funding, which comprised just 2% of total revenue in 2015. This number is likely to decline further given the shift in administration.
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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.

Media Contact:
Calla Rongerude
Movement Advancement Project