Riley Center Underscores Needs of SC Nonprofits

Posted By: Madeleine McGee Covid-19 Response, Speaking Together,

College of Charleston’s Riley Center for Livable Communities and Together SC Survey Findings Underscores Needs and Resilience of Nonprofits.

The College of Charleston, Together SC, SC Grantmakers Network and funding partners have released top line results of a statewide survey that examines the status of South Carolina’s nonprofit organizations.

The survey was distributed through United Ways,  Community Foundations, philanthropic foundations  and Together SC to nearly 3,000 charitable organizations. The vast majority of the 566 responses were submitted by presidents/CEOs/executive directors of participating organizations.

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps through South Carolina the demand for services from the state’s nonprofit sector has increased and strained resources. At the same time, fee-based services and fundraising events have been cancelled stifling cash flow for many of these organizations.

Key findings revealed by responding nonprofits include:

  • Five percent indicate they are out of funds now.
  • 29% say they can only operate for three more months without additional financial support. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of nonprofits indicate they can survive for only six months or less without additional funding.
  • Since COVID-19, in total, 76% report a decrease in funding, while 24% indicate a slight or significant increase. There is great variation by sector with Arts, Culture and the Humanities being the most negatively affected and Human Services and Public and Social Benefit faring better.
  • Looking forward through the end of the calendar year, South Carolina’s nonprofits have significant needs to continue their missions, further adapt their service models and offset lost revenue from cancelled galas and fundraising events. Fifty-four percent report that their greatest need is cash to meet operating needs due to lost revenue.
  • In aggregate, responding nonprofits need more than $61 million to replace lost revenues and sustain services through the end of the calendar year. 

Click here to read the full SC report. (Updated 10/23/2020)

Click here to read the Greenville Report

Click here to read the Spartanburg Report (Updated 12/04/2020)

Click here to read the Lowcountry Report (Updated 12/09/2020)

Media coverage:

Background Information:

The Riley Center for Livable Communities at the College of Charleston conducted this survey from September 1-8, 2020 in partnership with Together SC, the South Carolina Grantmakers Network, the United Way Association of South Carolina, the Greenville Partnership for Philanthropy, the Community Foundation of Greenville, and the NonProfit Alliance Greenville. A total of 566 nonprofit organizations in South Carolina completed the 33-question survey.

The survey research was designed to:

  • Assess the financial health and status of nonprofits in South Carolina.
  • Understand operational and programmatic changes made by nonprofits as a result of COVID-19 and needs they may have going forward.
  • Learn if nonprofit organizations have changed, expanded or revised their mission or methods of service delivery as a result of COVID-19.


Project Partners




CofC Riley Center

Robert Kahle

Associate Director


Together SC

Madeleine McGee



SC Grantmakers Network

Chris Steed



United Way Association of SC

Naomi Lett

President & CEO


Greenville Partnership for Philanthropy

Katy Smith



Community Foundation of Greenville

Robert Morris



Nonprofit Alliance Greenville

Catherine Puckett

Interim Executive Director