In a series of increasingly hostile attacks, the Trump Administration has targeted lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans, attempting to dismantle hard-won protections secured over the last decade. The 2018 National Movement Report, published annually by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), analyzes the first full year under the Trump Administration (Fiscal Year 2017), as well as budget projections for 2018.
The report finds that, at the end of Fiscal Year 2017, the participating organizations remain efficient, focused on providing vital programs and services, and are supported by a diverse range of revenue sources. Cumulative in-kind contributions increased by 52%, with multiple organizations reporting that the bulk of these increases were due to donated legal services to advance equality and counter the harmful and discriminatory policies of the Trump presidency.
The 2018 National Movement Report provides a comprehensive and standardized look at the LGBT movement’s finances for Fiscal Year 2017 across 40 major LGBT advocacy organizations. The total combined 2017 revenue (including in-kind) for the participating organizations was $269.7 million—up 13% from 2016. This is the largest year-to-year increase in the past five years. The majority of 2017 expenses (81%) was spent on programs and services, demonstrating that the largest LGBT social justice organizations operate efficiently.
“We have seen continued attacks on the nation’s most vulnerable populations, including the LGBT community,” said Ineke Mushovic, MAP executive director. “It is encouraging to see the rise in support of LGBT movement organizations; however, these resources are sorely needed. As the administration rolls back important nondiscrimination protections for transgender Americans, as states advance efforts to expand religious exemption laws that allow discrimination, and with the shift in the Supreme Court, LGBT people are increasingly vulnerable, and the work of LGBT organizations is critical.”
Among the key findings for organizations participating in the report:
- Excluding in-kind revenue, organizations reported an aggregate 5% revenue increase from 2016 to 2017. Aggregate revenue including in-kind revenue was up 13% for the same period. Over the past five years, total revenue has increased 34% from 2013 to 2017.
- Total combined 2017 expenses (including in-kind) across all participating organizations were $250.2 million–up 11% from 2016. This is also the largest year-to-year increase in the past five years, reflecting increased advocacy to combat the policies of the Trump Administration. Over the past five years, total expenses have increased 28%.
- Looking just at in-kind revenue and expenses, these increased 52% from 2016 to 2017, largely reflecting an increase in donated legal services.
One such group to benefit from an increase in in-kind contributions is GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), which works to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.
“In fiscal years 2017 and 2018, GLAD received unusually high donated legal services, given the new challenges from the new federal administration and a reinvigorated conservative opposition,” said Janson Wu, Executive Director of GLAD. “We are grateful to those law firms that have stepped up to protect against the roll-back of LGBTQ rights, such as our co-counsel in our two challenges to the transgender military ban, and our partners in our New England-wide transgender ID clinic.”
- Individual donor contributions remain the most significant source of revenue among participating LGBT organizations, comprising 36% of their total 2017 revenue.
- In 2017, participating organizations saw a 14% increase in the number of individual donor contributions from 2016.
- Over the last five years, large donors ($25,000+ per year) increased by 91%. Medium donors ($1,000-$24,999) increased by 12%, and small donors ($35-$999) increased by 3%.
- From 2016 to 2017, large donors increased by 43%, and small donors increased by 15%. Medium donors, however, slightly decreased by 2.4%.
- Participating organizations employed a total of 964 full-time and 127 part-time staff.
- Organizations that reported staff demographics have diverse staff that reflects the overall population. Fifty-six percent of staff are Caucasian, while 15% identify as Black, 13% as Latinx, 8% Asian or Pacific Islander, less than 1% as Native American, 5% as multiracial, and 3% as some other race or ethnicity.
- Among senior staff and board members of LGBT organizations, roughly two-thirds are Caucasian (65% of senior staff, and 67% of board members).
- Slightly less than half of all staff identifies as men (47%), and 46% identify as women, while 4% identify as non-binary and 3% as genderqueer or some other identity. One in ten (10%) staff identify as transgender. The majority (60%) of staff are between the ages of 30 and 54.
- Among board members, 51% identify as men, 45% as female, 2% as non-binary, and 2% as genderqueer or some other identity. Six percent of board members identify as transgender.
- Of organizations providing data on the sexual orientation of their staff, 54% of staff identified as gay or lesbian, 7% as bisexual, 16% as queer, 15% as another orientation, and 8% as straight.
While there has been a cumulative increase in revenue from individual contributions, the data continue to reiterate findings from previous years that very few LGBT people contribute to these major legal, advocacy, and public education LGBT organizations. Based on the number of donors to participating organizations (assuming that all donors are LGBT and there are no duplicates), only 2.8% of LGBT people contributed $35 or more in 2017 to participating organizations.
As the political landscapes change for LGBT equality, tracking these trends moving forward will be crucial for understanding the financial health and stability of the movement.