United Way of Central Indiana releases analysis on effect of COVID-19 on human services sector

INDIANAPOLIS – Today, United Way of Central Indiana released a community-wide analysis that sheds light on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nonprofit community in central Indiana.
United Way surveyed 160 community-based organizations working in the human services sector in Boone, Hancock, Hamilton, Hendricks, Marion and Morgan counties and received 80 responses. The goal of the survey was to identify the ever-changing and emerging issues related to the crisis, the pandemic’s impact on nonprofit operations and funding, and the critical resources needed for services to vulnerable populations.
Survey Findings to Date
Overall, 99% of nonprofits which responded have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, 41% of the respondents identified the need to expand services for a new population affected by the virus. Examples include unaccompanied children whose parents have tested positive for coronavirus, senior citizens needing food and medicines delivered safely, and essential employees who need childcare and other basic needs support.
Other key issues in the survey indicate:

  • 60% of nonprofits have experienced a disruption in services; 25% have added new programs to respond to the crisis.
  • 81% of respondents mention mental health and the well-being of their staff as a concern. Measures are being taken at many organizations to offer staff mental health resources, virtual engagement opportunities and flexible work-from-home schedules.
  • 61% of nonprofits are experiencing a decline in donations; 51% have seen a decline in revenue due to canceled fundraising events.
  • Even with shelter-in-place and social distancing restrictions, respondents indicated that every effort is being made to increase outreach, communication and delivery of services to current clients. Social media and phone calls are the most common form of communication to identify and reduce barriers to resources.
  • The top 3 services most impacted by the crisis at this time are food/meals, transportation and employment.
    “What we are learning from our community-based partners is that the pandemic is changing everything about the human services sector – from organizational staffing, operations and fundraising to how to effectively deliver services to a growing population of struggling individuals, families and children,” said Ann D. Murtlow, president and CEO of United Way. “We’re communicating with each other in real time to identify gaps in our community, work creatively together to fill those needs and deploy appropriate resources, and learn from our unique situations to prepare for what the future might look like for our community.”
    Resources for Community-Based Organizations
    In addition to the survey analysis, United Way has been co-convening weekly calls with Red Cross and Salvation Army to hear first-hand from nearly 100 human service nonprofits about their experiences serving Hoosiers amidst the pandemic and to identify solutions to challenges arising due to the crisis. As a result of these conversations, United Way has hosted seminars on the CARES Act and offered grants to community-based organizations for critical technology upgrades.
    A snapshot of the COVID-19 community analysis will be updated regularly and available on United Way’s website.


    Jennifer Hashem | Public Relations Manager
    Jessica DiSanto | Senior Director of Communications