WCF recognizes the uncertainty that lays ahead for our nonprofit partners as they navigate their operations and programs during the pandemic. The next year or more will look different from any other we have experienced. The economic forecast, public health considerations, and advisories are expected to change regularly. How are nonprofits adapting to this new environment? How can we balance concern for safety with resuming critical community services? What sort of “new normal” can we expect?
For the month of June, WCF opened a survey to all nonprofits on Whidbey Island. The objective of the survey was to further our understanding of how COVID-19 has altered the nonprofit landscape here on Whidbey. In addition, this survey was an opportunity to hear from nonprofits how WCF can best support them during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The survey closed with a total of 33 organizations participating.
Some key findings from the survey that we wanted to share with our broader network:
- Of the Whidbey nonprofits that responded, most serve the whole island with less than $100,000 in annual budgets and fewer than 1 employee.
- Most of the organizations indicated that they operate within the Education and Environment sectors.
- Of the most pressing concerns and challenges related to COVID-19, Whidbey nonprofits noted:
- Disruption or cancellation of services
- Restricted in-person contact
- Revenue shortfalls
- The most critical challenges among the populations that these nonprofits serve include:
- Economic insecurity
- Food insecurity
- Access to health care and medication
- Connection/isolation/loss of safe space
- Seasonal employment
- The most popular topics requested for future Zoom Community Forums and training opportunities hosted by WCF:
- Online/virtual fundraising
- Food systems/security
- Best practices for moving organization online
- Opportunity to connect with other nonprofits
- Volunteer recruitment and retention
- Board training and recruitment
Survey respondents also indicated an interest in topics related to safely reopening during the pandemic. WCF partnered with Washington Nonprofits to offer its 4-part webinar series on “Reopening Considerations” for free to Whidbey nonprofits. If you were not able to participate, Washington Nonprofits provides a debrief HERE has more resources available HERE.
As a result of what we learned from the survey, we are pleased to announce WCF will host another Zoom Community Forum on August 10 at 4pm. Please register HERE. Similar to the Zoom Community Forum that WCF hosted in May, we intend for this to be an opportunity to discuss findings from our survey, hear from you, and to give Whidbey organizations a space to connect virtually as we continue to operate in a socially distant world. WCF also plans to host topics related to the themes addressed in the Nonprofit Survey this Fall.
Additionally, our funding programs continue. COVID-19 Community Resilience Fund applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. And our Annual Grant Cycle is currently accepting applications—with priority focus in general operations and capacity building—through August 31; grant announcements are expected in October. More information can be found on our website: www.whidbeyfoundation.org
We thank our partners in our shared work in the recovery and to make Whidbey Island more resilient as we navigate the effects of COVID-19 together.