UW Oshkosh COVID-19 impact survey: Shop local campaigns helped, non-profit organizations report fundraising shortfalls

Posted February 8, 2021

UW Oshkosh COVID-19 impact survey: Shop local campaigns helped, non-profit organizations report fundraising shortfalls

New North, WEDC join UWO to announce January statewide survey results

NEW NORTH, February 8, 2021 – A survey conducted last month by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Center for Customized Research and Services found campaigns to shop locally over the holidays helped, but businesses are struggling with extra expenses related to COVID-19. Still, overall viability remains high, with nearly half of responding businesses reporting the ability to continue more than 10 months under current conditions. The January COVID-19 Business and Economic Impact Survey covers impacts for December. Responses were received from 331 Wisconsin businesses.

Survey respondents reported the following from December:

  • Inventory losses of $1.2 million
  • Income losses of $609,416
  • Wage and productivity gains of $155,760
  • Other financial losses of $6 million
  • Employment gains of 247 employees

Jeff Sachse, interim director of the UW Oshkosh Center for Customized Research and Services (CCRS), said “relatively modest” income losses point to the resilience many of the state’s businesses demonstrated over the past several months as well as a greater level of support from local consumers.

He believes efforts by Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and Main Street communities to promote shop local campaigns during the holiday season helped stem losses many small businesses expected to see.

“More troubling is the fact that businesses reported a large volume of unanticipated expenses, with several non-profits reporting annual fundraising results well behind their averages,” Sachse said. “These organizations have also attempted to pivot through new donor portals and activities, yet many lack the capacity to do so effectively. This is an area that certainly bears further consideration.”

Nearly half of responding businesses said they can survive more than 10 months under current conditions, but Sachse said future surveys will attempt to identify areas of concern and where business owners see opportunities to recover.

The survey wrapping up 2020 was sent to more than 2,500 businesses throughout Wisconsin. The low response level was expected, Sachse said, due to both the long duration of the pandemic and because many businesses are still analyzing their year-end finances.

The survey is a partnership of UWO, the state’s nine Regional Development Organizations including New North Inc., and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

The February survey is open through Feb. 22.


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New North, Inc., is a 501(c)3 non-profit, regional economic development corporation fostering collaboration among private and public sector leaders throughout the 18 counties of Northeast Wisconsin, known as the New North region. The New North brand unites the region both internally and externally around talent development, brand promotion and business development, signifying the collective economic power behind the 18 counties. The counties include Outagamie, Winnebago, Calumet, Waupaca, Brown, Shawano, Oconto, Marinette, Door, Kewaunee, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, Florence, Menominee and Waushara.

New North Media Contact: Jeff Blumb, 920.328.5454 or [email protected]

UW Oshkosh Media Contact: Natalie Johnson, 920.267.0628 or [email protected]


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