Seventy percent of Australia's sporting clubs, arts and cultural organisations, community groups, welfare services and youth services have described themselves as “threatened” by COVID in a new national survey released Friday May 15.
The deadly impact of COVID-19 on Australia’s 600,000 community organisations has been revealed by a survey showing the $146 billion dollar sector fighting for cash, volunteers and in many cases, survival.
The national COVID-19 Community Sector Impact Survey questioned 366 community and not-for-profit organisations from the volunteer-run to those with turnover in the millions. The survey is part of #GivingTuesdayNow, a global campaign encouraging generosity, volunteering and gratitude, which is overseen in Australia by Our Community.
“There’s no way to sugar coat this – the COVID-19 pandemic is seismic,” says GivingTuesdayNow Ambassador Rev. Tim Costello. “Community groups are the social infrastructure of our economy – they need fast-tracked investment from government, philanthropy and individuals before it’s too late. JobKeeper is a great start but we need to go further.”
Some key findings from the survey:
- Nearly all (85%) respondents have been impacted by social distancing laws with many having to cease all activity.
- Two thirds (67%) have seen a drop in fundraising.
- One third (35%) have reduced staff, with 40% unsure if there will be further reductions.
- More than half (57%) have seen a drop in volunteer activity.
- 39% believe they have not received the support they need from government, philanthropy and peak bodies.
- There is huge uncertainty about the future. 33% believe COVID-19 poses a “significant threat” to their ongoing viability; 53% describe their post-pandemic future as uncertain; and 14% describe their future state as “weaker”.
In response to the crisis, a COVID-19 Generosity Register, launching at the same time as the study, will enable passionate individuals with the ability to give to find local groups to help by volunteering, donating or by providing other forms of support. Already the register has 100+ groups keen to meet new supporters.
The survey responses reveal some high- speed innovation, with groups that delivered services face-to-face now operating online, groups combining, working from home, sharing resources and re-inventing themselves.
“Community groups have always had to innovate to thrive,” added Rev Costello. “Now it goes to their ability to survive.”
READ IN FULL: COVID-19 Community Sector Impact Survey
GivingTuesdayNow: A celebration of generosity in the time of the Coronavirus
GiveNow's COVID-19 Generosity Register
Save Our Sector campaign: Vital information to help not-for-profits survive the pandemic
More not-for-profit research findings
Media queries: Brett de Hoedt of Hootville Communications: 0414 713 802 / firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Australian not-for-profit sector:
There are more than 600,000 not-for-profit organisations in Australia, together employing more than 1 million people (almost 10% of the Australian workforce). The 2017 Australian Charities Report found the sector had a total revenue of $146.1 billion – while recognised for its enormous social contribution, the sector makes a massive economic contribution as well.
The sector covers many activities and services, spanning the areas of health and wellbeing, housing and homelessness, disaster relief, animal welfare, sports, religion, the environment, education and social justice.
About Our Community:
The survey was conducted by Our Community, a social enterprise and highly-rated accredited B Corporation that services the Australian not-for-profit sector, and the organisations that support the sector.
Our Community’s mission is to build stronger communities through stronger community organisations. We work towards that goal by providing advice, connections, training and easy-to-use tech for the people and organisations sharing the same motivation.
This article is just one of the ways the Our Community Group is working to support not-for-profits through the COVID-19 crisis, as part of our major campaign to help the not-for-profit sector to survive, re-invent and sustain.