In Financial Support as Momentum, Victories Continue
DENVER — Fueled by sharp increases in public support for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, as well as major marriage victories, the LGBT movement is seeing another year of rising revenues and expenses. According to a new report by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), leading LGBT organizations are projecting combined 2014 expense budgets totaling $185.9 million, a 14% increase from 2013 expenses.
The 2014 National LGBT Movement Report also found that LGBT social justice organizations’ revenues grew 7% from 2012 to 2013, with revenue exceeding expenses by $5.8 million in 2013
This financial growth continues an upward trend that re-emerged in 2011, following a downturn experienced by the LGBT movement during the Great Recession. Increases in expenses and revenue closely tracked national averages for nonprofits: nationally, total nonprofit revenue increased 7.8% and expenses increased 4.5%.
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 37 national and leading statewide organizations participating in this report collectively represent 61% 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 15% from 2012 to 2013, compared to a 4.2%nationwide increase in nonprofit giving.
• General financial health remains strong. In 2013, organizations reported an average of six months of working capital in 2013, a 9% increase from 2012.
“Fundamentally, Americans believe in fairness, and we are heartened to see more resources dedicated to making that value a reality,” said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of MAP. “However, our work is far from finished. Same-sex couples can now marry in 34 states, but wearing a wedding ring to work can still result in gay or lesbian workers being legally fired in 29 states. We hope the continued growth in LGBT movement resources will help remedy these significant disparities.”
The report also uncovered some other challenging trends:
• While more individual donors are giving to LGBT organizations, still less than 4% of LGBT adults have donated to one of the participating LGBT organizations.
• Participating organizations received, on average, 41% of their 2013 revenue from their 10 largest contributors. The average organization’s reliance on top 10 contributors has fluctuated only 4 percentage points over the last five years—meaning the LGBT movement is highly reliant on a few key revenue sources.
• The racial and ethnic diversity of paid staff at participating organizations is slightly less than that of the overall population: 34% of paid staff identify as people of color compared to 37% of the U.S. population. Among senior staff, the percentage who are people of color dropped to 27%. Also, 47% of all staff are women and 12% identify as transgender.
New to the report this year, The 2014 National LGBT Movement Report includes a ten-year review, which analyzes the data available from the 22 organizations that have participated in the survey every year from 2004 to 2013. Some of the findings include:
• From 2004 to 2013, combined revenue for the 22 organizations increased 76%, from $75.8 million to $133.0 million.
• The ten-year time period is marked by an overall, though sporadic, increase in revenue coming from individual donations. However, the percentage of revenue coming from individual donations has actually declined over this period, from 57% of total revenue in 2004 to 40% in 2013.
• Since 2004, the 10-year participating organizations have reported an 800% increase in in-kind contributions, perhaps due to the rise in marriage equality litigation, aided by the generous pro bono donations of law firms across the country.
“Campaigns need fuel, and happily more and more people have stepped forward with financial support as we continue to make the case that all of America is ready for the freedom to marry,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry. “But the work is far from done and this is no time to drop the ball—not just in winning marriage nationwide but in securing full inclusion and protections and enlarged possibilities for everyone, everywhere, throughout the country and beyond.”
Founded in 2006, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) is an independent think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and analysis that help speed equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.