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New report: LGBT movement grows in 2010, but donations decline

DENVER -- Following a steep 25% decline in revenue from 2008 to 2009, the finances of organizations working in the LGBT movement stabilized in 2010, according to a new report by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP).

Growing revenue from corporations, bequests, fundraising events and in-kind giving helped organizations' revenue outpace spending in 2010. Yet the number of individual donors fell by 12% from 2009 to 2010, and their total contributions fell by 14% -- raising concerns because such contributions comprise the greatest source of organizational revenue.

The 2011 National LGBT Movement Report examines 40 leading organizations in the national LGBT movement comprising 71% of the budgets of all LGBT social justice organizations.

"The finances of LGBT movement organizations appear to be stabilizing despite the difficult economic climate," said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of MAP. "However, while most revenue streams are increasing, organizations are seeing continued drops in individual donors. Finding ways to reach the 97% of LGBT adults who do not give to these organizations is becoming a more urgent priority."

Among the report's key findings:

• The overall financial health of the LGBT movement remains strong. Combined 2010 revenues exceeded expenses by $4.6 million, a reversal from 2009, when expenses outstripped revenues by nearly the same amount. In addition, organizations are projecting expense budget increases of 13% for 2011, after reducing expenses 8% from 2009 to 2010 and 7% the year prior.

• Organizational revenue has stabilized in the last year. Revenue including in-kind contributions increased by 1% from 2009 to 2010, compared to a 20% drop from 2008 to 2009. Excluding in-kind contributions, revenue dropped 2% in the last year, compared to 25% the prior year.

• Contributions from individual donors dipped 14% in 2010, and foundation contributions also declined slightly (2%). However, increases in corporate giving (41%), bequests (30%), in-kind contributions (12%), event revenue (6%) and revenue from other sources (126%) offset these declines.

• Less than 3% of LGBT adults give to national LGBT organizations--a troubling figure given that individual donors are organizations' largest sources of revenue, providing 35% of organizations' funding. Adding to the concern, the 10 largest anti-gay organizations spent almost three times as much as all 40 participating LGBT advocacy organizations in 2010 ($330.4 million versus $126.8 million).

• Fundraising operations continue to be efficient. Only 11% of expenses are spent on fundraising, and 79% go directly to programs and services, surpassing benchmarks of the American Institute of Philanthropy and Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.

• LGBT organizations' paid staff is roughly representative of the broader U.S. population, with 32% identifying as people of color and 48% identifying as women. Six percent of staff identify as transgender.

"The advances of the past few years--from marriage to open military service to non-discrimination laws and legal protections for LGBT families--show a thriving and successful LGBT movement," said Jason Franklin, executive director of Bolder Giving, an organization working to inspire people to increase their charitable giving.

"To protect these gains and build on that progress, LGBT people and allies must renew their commitment to, and investment in, the organizations doing this work."

About MAP

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 LGBT people.