COVID Threatens 230,000 Community Groups

Filed under Charity & Non-profit, News ~ by Press on  18 May 2020

Nearly 230,000 Community Groups Could Be Killed By COVID – Survey .

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 nonprofit 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.

There’s no way to sugar coat this – the COVID-19 pandemic is seismic,” said Giving Tuesday 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: 

  • 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.
  • Nearly all (85%) respondents have been impacted by social distancing laws with many having to cease all 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 and 53% describing their post-pandemic future as "uncertain”.

In response to the crisis, a COVID-19 Giving Register launching Friday May 15 will enable passionate individuals to find local groups to help by volunteering, donating or 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 just to thrive,” said Rev Costello.

Now it’s goes to their ability to survive.”

  • medical research foundation that had to throw its $1.2 million fundraising ball online;
  • 130 year old Sydney charity working with vulnerable children now acting as a food bank;
  • theatre troupe working with Aboriginal communities in Queensland forced to halt business;
  • Neighbourhood Houses that have downed tools and found a master tailor with a science degree to make PPE for medicos;
  • rural retreat and mentoring program for vulnerable boys that’s expecting a post-COVID surge;
  • charity helping low-income families meet technology costs.

Full survey results including graphics and respondent comments : www.communitydirectors.com.au

The Generosity Registry: www.givenow.com.au

Giving Tuesday: www.givingtuesday.org.au



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