DENVER With a steady string of blockbuster victories, including the U.S. Supreme Court's striking down of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and the expansion of the freedom to marry to a growing number of states, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT ) movement is benefitting from increased financial support. According to a new report by the Movement Advancement Project ( MAP ), LGBT organizations are projecting combined 2013 expense budgets of $165.6 million, a 10% increase from 2012 expenses.
The 2013 National LGBT Movement Report also found that LGBT social justice organizations' revenues exceeded expenses by $3.2 million in 2012, and overall growth in revenue from 2011 to 2012 slightly outpaced the national average for nonprofits of 3.2%. The increased revenue in 2012 marks two years of growth after a two-year revenue decline in 2009 and 2010. Although revenues are still not back up to 2008 levels, the last two years of growth indicate that the LGBT nonprofit sector, like the American economy, is experiencing a slow but steady recovery after the recent economic downturn.
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 36 national and leading statewide organizations participating in this report collectively represent 61% of the budgets of all 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 government funding due to several organizations receiving large grants, likely due to the Obama Administration's increased awareness of and attention to LGBT issues.
General financial health remains strong. In 2012, organizations reported an average of nearly six months of available working capital.
"After such a banner year, the LGBT movement is positioned well to leverage these victories into future policy gains," said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of MAP. "These organizations have done remarkable work, but dozens of states still ban relationship recognition for same-sex couples and between LGBT parents and their children, preventing families from accessing crucial safety nets. Poverty remains high for LGBT individuals, and federal and most state law still fails to explicitly protect a worker from being fired simply because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The lack of comprehensive immigration reform is continuing to harm thousands of LGBT immigrants and their families. HIV infection rates are skyrocketing among LGBT people of color."
The report also uncovered some other challenges:
While more individual donors are giving to LGBT organizations, still only 3% of LGBT adults have donated to one of the participating LGBT organizations.
Participating organizations received, on average, 41% of 2012 revenue from their 10 largest contributorsmeaning 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: 32% of paid staff identify as people of color compared to 37% of the U.S. population. Senior staff exhibit lower diversity: 30% of senior staff identify as people of color. Also, 46% are women and 7% identify as transgender.
"We saw a revenue increase of 42% this year, yet despite the tremendous growth in support, bias and prejudice based on race, sexual orientation, and gender identity/expression intersect to the detriment of LGBT people of color," said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition. "For example, ENDA passed the Senate but is blocked in the House. This lack of explicit employment protections threatens LGBT workers and contributes to unemployment and poverty, which are a particular problem for LGBT workers of color. We remain unwavering in our fight for justice and equality, and there is much still left to do."
The report is available at www.lgbtmap.org/2013-national-lgbt-movement-report .
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.