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Friday, March 11, 2011

Orgs working for LGBT equality are bouncing back from recession

BOSTON—A report released this month by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), an independent, policy think tank focused on LGBT issues, finds that organizations working for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are showing strong signs of financial health and operating efficiency despite a cumulative 20 percent revenue decline from 2008 to 2009.

Of 553 active, registered nonprofits in the country with an LGBT-focused mission, 42 were invited to participate in the first-of-its-kind study (39 participated). Invitations were sent to organizations based on their size, focus, and “importance to the overall LGBT movement.” Collectively, participants represent 69 percent of the expense budgets of all LGBT advocacy organizations. All of the participating organizations, including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Human Rights Campaign; and MassEquality, exceeded the efficiency standards of both the American Institute of Philanthropy and the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, with an average of 79 percent of expenses being spent on programs and services; nine percent on management and general expenses, and only 12 percent on fundraising.

“This report shows that the national LGBT movement is facing a tough fundraising climate due to the economic downturn,” said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of MAP. “But the groups we analyzed are adapting well by taking steps to respond to the downturn and showing impressive financial and organizational stability as a result.”

“MassEquality is proud to have participated in the MAP study,” said MassEquality Executive Director Kara Suffredini. “Strategic stewardship of our donors’ dollars is a key ingredient for expanding LGBT equality in Massachusetts from cradle to grave.”

The most troublesome finding from the report is that the 39 organizations’ combined 2009 expenses of $165.6 million is equal to just half of the combined annual expenses of the 10 largest organizations working to oppose LGBT equality ($333.1 million). And the report estimates that less than 4 percent of all LGBT adults in the U.S. donated $35 or more to these LGBT organizations.

“There is so much work to do. Rhode Island is close to winning marriage equality and we’re making progress in Massachusetts on the Transgender Equal Rights Bill, but we still need additional resources to monitor the implementation of the state’s new anti-bullying bill,” said Suffredini. “It’s absolutely critical that we keep the support of our existing donors while bringing new ones in to expand what we’re able to accomplish.”

“2010 National LGBT Movement Report: A Financial Overview of Leading Advocacy Organizations in the LGBT Movement” is available online at


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