Extensive New Report "Follows the Money" of LGBT Orgs

Posted by Chris Geidner
March 2, 2011 12:41 AM |

Today, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) is releasing what it calls "a comprehensive look at the finances of 39 leading national LGBT organizations." The participant organizations had revenues of more than $161.3 million in 2009 and represent nearly 70 percent of funding for all LGBT social justice advocacy organizations.

map-logo.pngThe $161 million, however, is a decrease of 20 percent from 2008, a fact that MAP attributes, at least in part, to the economic crisis nationwide and the fact that 2009 was an off-election year.

The 39 organizations include advocacy organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and Log Cabin Republicans, issue organizations like Freedom to Marry and The Trevor Project, legal organizations like Lambda Legal and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and research and public education groups like The Palm Center.

Among the most striking findings is that more than 96 percent of LGBT adults contributed less than $35 to any of those 39 LGBT organizations in 2009. According to MAP, "only 3.4% of LGB adults have donated to a participant" organization. Less than 15,000 people gave $1,000-plus donations in 2009.

Moreover, the 3.4 percent number is likely a dramatic overstatement. As the report notes, "Given that the combined donor figure almost certainly includes a significant number of heterosexual allies and individuals who contributed to multiple organizations, the actual portion of LGBT adults who have donated is likely much lower than 3.4%."

Another interesting finding related to staffing, which MAP found "is roughly racially/ethnically representative of the broader U.S. population." Of the 808 staff members combined among the 39 organizations, 32 percent were non-white – with 12 percent each identified as African-American/Black and Hispanic/Latino(a), another 7 percent identified as Asian/Pacific Islander and the remaining 1 percent identified as Native American/Other. Board make-up, meanwhile, was more white, with a full three-quarters of the 689 board members identified as white.

Gender make-up was nearly balanced, with 46 percent of staff and 40 percent of boards identifying as women and 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively, identifying as genderqueer or other. Both staff and board make-up included 6 percent who identified as transgender.

Among the funding findings included a remarkable statistic that "[t]he average organization receives almost half (48%) of its revenue from its 10 largest contributors."

Additionally, although many often raise concerns about the efficiency of organizations' spending, MAP found, "Of total organizational expenses, 79% are spent on programs and services, 9% are spent on management and general expenses and only 12% are spent on fundraising. These numbers more than meet the efficiency benchmarks set by the American Institute of Philanthropy and the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance."

Read the report: 2010-national-lgbt-movement-report.pdf

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