UNI survey finds COVID-19 painfully impacts Iowa nonprofits

UNI NEWS SERVICES – The largest survey of Iowa businesses and nonprofit organizations to date shows the staggering financial impact of COVID-19.  

The University of Northern Iowa’s Strategic Marketing Services (SMS) and Institute for Decision Making (IDM), in partnership with the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), surveyed businesses and organizations across the state of Iowa hoping to better understand the initial impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on their operations. 

Survey respondents, - most of them small businesses or organizations - reported employing nearly 400,000 people. Of these organizations, 83.6% reported a negative financial impact from the coronavirus pandemic.

The reported impact on Iowa’s nonprofits - who said they employ nearly 100,000 people - was even greater. Of these organizations, 88.8% reported a negative impact from the outbreak of COVID-19. 

The top three concerns for their organizations are: financial impact on operations and/or liquidity and capital, decreasing consumer confidence/spending and workforce reductions. Respondents estimated a loss of 45% in revenue and employment reduction of 29% within the first 30 days of the ongoing crisis. Over 40% identified financial assistance and resources, such as direct assistance and access to capital, as most helpful to their organizations, while information and communication followed. 

To read the report in its entirety, please visit https://bcs.uni.edu/eda-university-center-university-northern-iowa.

The survey was open for seven days starting March 17.  Nearly 14,000 businesses and organizations completed the survey and of those respondents, about 1,500 were nonprofit organizations.  

IDM, SMS and IEDA will follow up with a second survey in early May to continue to monitor the impacts the COVID-19 virus is taking on Iowa businesses and organizations. 

 About UNI Institute for Decision Making (IDM)

The Institute for Decision Making (idm.uni.edu) is the economic and community development outreach unit of Business and Community Services at the University of Northern Iowa. IDM has a 30-year record of delivering tailored and innovative planning, technical assistance, applied research, and training to over 800 communities, economic development groups, chambers of commerce, state agencies/associations, convention and visitor bureaus, community planning groups and other similar not-for-profit organizations throughout Iowa and beyond.

About UNI Strategic Marketing Services (SMS)

Strategic Marketing Services (sms.uni.edu) works with organizations within Iowa to deepen their market intelligence, so they can craft business strategies aimed to improve products, services and customer relationships. SMS has 30 years of experience in gathering information from a wide variety of strategically chosen resources to provide a reliable and comprehensive backdrop for confident decision making. 


Ricki Alford, marketing and communications, UNI Business and Community Services, 319-273-6729 ricki.alford@uni.edu 

Steve Schmadeke, UNI public relations manager, 319-273-6120, steve.schmadeke@uni.edu