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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Think tank releases report of finances of LGBT-advocacy groups
by Angelique Smith
2014-12-31

This article shared 4019 times since Wed Dec 31, 2014
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This December, the Colorado-based independent think tank Movement Advancement Project ( MAP ) released the 2014 National LGBT Movement Report, a comprehensive overview of the financial health of almost forty leading LGBT social justice organizations.

These organizations ranged from legal advocacy ( e.g., Lambda Legal Defense ), broad LGBT advocacy ( e.g., HRC ), research and public education ( e.g. ,Funders for LGBTQ Issues ), and issue-specific advocacy ( e.g., Freedom to Marry ), and represent "61 percent of the budgets of all LGBT social-justice organizations." ( Note: The source here and forward is the MAP's National LGBT Movement Report. )

The yearly report was created to educate donors and advocates on organizations at the forefront of the LGBT movement and was funded by organizations such as the Ford Foundation, David Geffen Foundation, and the Palette Fund. LGBT community centers, arts and culture organizations, social and recreational organizations, and health and human services providers were excluded from the report.

The participating organizations were chosen based on factors such as size and relevancy within the total LGBT movement, with almost 84 percent of those participating having a budget over $1 million. Of those with smaller budgets, the chosen organizations had the criteria of being national and "working in areas of critical concern to the LGBT movement." For a complete list of the organizations included in the report, see attached image titled, "Table 1: Participating Organizations by Category."

The organizations in the report "employed a total of 836 full-time and 141 part-time staff." In terms of diversity of board members and staff, the profiled LGBT advocacy organizations were slightly below tracking against U.S. population percentages in terms race and gender. "Compared to 37.4 percent of the U.S. population identifying as people of color, 34 percent of paid staff at participating organizations identify as people of color. Among senior staff, the percentage dropped to 27 percent" ( see Figure 20 ).

Forty-seven percent of staff identified as women ( vs. 51 percent of the U.S. population, according to the 2012 census ). Twelve percent of paid staff identified as transgender, although it should be taken into consideration that transgender status is noted as separate than gender identity in this report and that "most will also identify as male, female, or genderqueer." Of the 33 non-transgender-specific organizations that reported this data, nine reported that over 10 percent of their staff identify as transgender.

Almost 60 percent of staff was between the ages of 30 and 54, with 32 percent under 30 and less than 10 percent in the age range of 55 and older. For the sake of comparison, the current U.S. workforce has a little over 12 percent of the population as 55+ in age.

In addition to staff breakdowns, the report compared indicators of financial health, such as an organization's liquidity ratio, and assets and liabilities. The recession of 2007 to 2008 saw a decrease in revenue but, "as a group, participating organizations reported increased revenue in 2013, marking the third year of growth," and totaling $209.5 million.

Of the total revenue for the participating organizations, funding from the government only accounted for 3 percent in 2013. The lion's share of revenue came from individual contributions at 37 percent: a total of 309,097 individual donors gave $35 or more, a 6 percent increase over the year before; and donors who gave "$25,000 or more increased 18 percent from 2012 to 2013." Revenue also came from a plethora of other sources, ranging from merchandise to corporate contributions to fundraising events.

On average, participating organizations spent 12 cents to raise each dollar, a relatively constant ratio for about five years. Of total expenses, "81 percent were dedicated to programs and services and 10 percent to fundraising." Nine percent of expenses went towards management and general expenditures.

All but two organizations exceed the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance Benchmarks, minus the one that preferred not to be listed by name in the overall study. The benchmarks include set standards for board oversight and compensation, effectiveness, budget allocation, expense reporting, accuracy in organization materials, and cause marketing disclosures. Board and staff conflicts of interest, how complaints are handled and donor privacy measures are also examined.

Within the report, a standalone ten-year review was compiled for the 22 organizations that have consistently participated in the survey from 2004 to 2013, such as the Log Cabin Republicans, GLAAD, and ACLU LGBT & AIDS Project.

From 2004 to 2013, combined revenue for those organizations "increased 76 percent, from $75.8 million to $133.0 million ( excluding in-kind revenue )." The report notes that the financial health of the profiled organizations was impacted negatively during the aforementioned recession and positively by philanthropist Ric Weiland's 2008 donation of $65 million. A software programmer and developer, Weiland was one of the first employees at Microsoft and his posthumous bequest to LGBT advocacy organizations is the largest to date.

To read the complete MAP report and learn more about the missions of the participating organizations, visit www.lgbtmap.org .


This article shared 4019 times since Wed Dec 31, 2014
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