30.06.2020Opportunities exist for nimble charitable and NFP organisations as they respond to COVID-19

 Charities and Not-for-profit (NFP) organisations have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19 with increased workloads and reduced income being the reality for many. Yet despite the difficulties, opportunities exist in the post-COVID-19 environment for nimble organisations.  

This was a significant takeaway from the Committee’s Road to Recovery E-ROOM forum held on 28 May. Titled How charities can thrive in a post-COVID-19 world.  The forum sought to address the impact of COVID-19 on the charitable sector, the stakeholders that support them, as well as measures which could be taken to build organisational resilience.  

Scott Chapman (CEO, Royal Flying Doctor Service VIC), Sarah Davies AM (CEO, Philanthropy Australia), Dr Gary Johns (Commissioner, ACNC) and Frank Kelloway (Partner, Deloitte Private Business Advisory), provided valuable testimony and insights for those working in and with the sector.  

Key messages included:   

  • NFP and charitable organisations should consolidate their mission, while remaining flexible in their approach. Organisations that apply a business-as-usual approach may struggle to take opportunities to provide services in new ways following the crisis.    
  • Charities should consider their service offerings and ensure that they remain within the bounds of their charitable purpose, as registered with the ACNC.  
  • The response from Australia’s leading philanthropists to this crisis has been inspiring. They are giving more than ever and have moved quickly to support charities and the communities they serve. Giving from everyday Australians has also been very generous during this uncertain period.  
  • The private sector will change the way it engages the NFP and charitable sector following the crisis. In the new environment, collaboration will be critical, with the types of interaction evolving and the number of social enterprises likely to increase. 

COVID-19 has shone a light on the importance of charitable and NFP organisations. However, these organisations are not in existence solely to fix or respond to issues; they are a critical part of Australia’s social and economic fabric. More than ever, governments and industry must work with these organisations to build capacity, so they can continue to deliver vital services for the community as Melbourne emerges from the crisis.     

If you missed the forum, you can view it here.

You may also like to download a copy of the Committee’s report; Charitable Giving in Australia, which was released in February 2020.   

For more information about the Committee’s NFP Taskforce, please contact Leanne Edwards, Director Policy at ledwards@melbourne.org.au or Brett van Duppen, Policy and Research Officer at bvanduppen@melbourne.org.au 

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