In the era of COVID-19 we can’t have a group hug, but we can offer some information to help you find a way through this troubling terrain.

COVID-19 resourcesToday as I worked from home, four school buses drove past my house on the way to the local high school. The first three were empty. On the fourth, a lone child. It was the saddest sight.

All of us, no matter who we are, where we live or where we work, will be profoundly affected by COVID-19.

So, as Australia becomes increasingly engulfed by this terrible pandemic, we thought we’d aggregate some information that may help you navigate your way through these tumultuous times.

The government responds

After missing out in the first stimulus package, charities took action and on Sunday 22 March the Federal Government announced economic support for approximately 30,000 not-for-profit organisations in the second round of measures in the Economic Response to Coronavirus. The government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium-sized businesses, and not-for-profits (including charities) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. These payments will help businesses’ and not-for-profits’ cash flow so they can keep operating, pay their rent, electricity and other bills and retain staff.

Perpetual has a good snapshot of the stimulus measures.

The ATO has released information about the support and services available to nonprofits and their communities, including info about cashflow assistance, tax and superannuation changes, and a list of FAQs.

Industry bodies respond

Fundraising Institute Australia CEO Katherine Raskob says this is a good first step and she will continue to work with members to argue for more assistance. She has been in touch with the Assistant Minister for Charities’ Office to discuss the immediate, short and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on the fundraising sector and she is discussing with FIA members the key areas where they need assistance. Regular updates will be provided to members

Speaking of which Fundraising Institute Australia collaborated with More Strategic and Donor Republic to conduct some research on how you are all feeling and how you are managing your fundraising – 423 of you across 196 organisations responded and the webinar COVID-19 Impact on Fundraising on Friday 20 March to reveal the results attracted more than 1,000 FIA members.

If you are an FIA member, you can download the results and view the webinar. You can find out how the rest of your sector colleagues are feeing and there is some great information about how to cope and move forward. You can also join a LinkedIn group to discuss the results.

FIA also has a good list of resources and articles to help you navigate the crisis.

Here’s what the ACNC has to say on charity operations and COVID-19.

And as was no doubt inevitable, the PFRA has announced that in extensive consultation with its members, it has taken the decision to instruct all members to immediately suspend face-to-face public fundraising, until further notice.

Our Community has launched the #SaveOurSector campaign and has an excellent list of resources.

Over the Tasman, Fundraising Institute of Australia have released a webinar attended by more than 400 FINZ members called COVID19 and YOUR Cause – Weathering the Storm.

The webinar promises to help protect your fundraising investment, give you ideas to mitigate potential losses and may even help you grow your fundraising.


Philanthropy responds

Philanthropic organisations have taken decisive action. Paul Ramsay Foundation has committed $9 million to universities and research groups in a bid to find a cure for COVID-19 and support vulnerable communities.

There are some foundations that have cancelled annual funding rounds but from conversations I have had there are very good reasons for these decisions, including not putting pressure on charities to submit applications and go through a competitive funding round at this time.

Philanthropic organisations are also offering updates to their communities about how they are approaching the pandemic.

Gandel Philanthropy has released an update about the measures they are taking in response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 virus. As has The Ian Potter Foundation and no doubt there are more out there taking care of their communities with clear and timely communications.

CEO of Philanthropy Australia Sarah Davies wrote a great piece: How should philanthropy be thinking in response to COVID-19?

Philanthropy Australia has also partnered with Australian Communities Foundation to provide a national funding platform to coordinate the philanthropic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Krystian Seibert from the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of Technology shares his reflections about what the COVID-19 pandemic means for the Australian charities sector and four things philanthropy needs to do.

Fiona Higgins from Australian Philanthropic Services offers some good advice in her article, Pandemic philanthropy: giving in a time of crisis.

Over in the US philanthropists and foundations are rapidly responding to the crisis. Here’s a good piece from Lori Bezahler is the CEO of the Edward W. Hazen Foundation on six ways philanthropy can help, including converting funding to unrestricted general operating support.

And still in the US, The Milken Institute and its Center for Strategic Philanthropy has launched an online COVID-19 Philanthropy Hub.

Consultants and vendors respond

Consultants are also putting together resources and good counsel for nonprofits.

David Knowles, Partner and Head of Philanthropy & Social Capital at Koda Capital, gives an audio summary of valuable insights from expert contributors in the sector. It’s a very helpful listen.

Koda Capital takes a deeper dive with Navigating Non-Profit Organisations Through the COVID-19 Crisis, a paper that provides insights from nonprofit leaders who share the actions they have taken in the last few weeks, their approach to leadership and thoughts for the future.

Fundraising and design agency Redstone gathered some advice after talking to friends and colleagues in the nonprofit community.

Marlin has put together a great blog posts giving practical solutions to six issues not-for-profits are currently facing.

Abby Clemence from Infinity Sponsorship is running a free webinar, Preserving Your Corporate Partnerships in a Pandemic.

The Grants Hub’s Slack Community is is a free space for people to share ideas around grants and funding. There’s lots of news and updates on there and importantly much moral support. They’ve started a specific #covid-19 channel to share all things related to COVID-19 and funding. Check it out.

Founder and CEO The Grants Hub,  Jessie Ballantyne, also wrote a great article for us on funding and grants in a COVID-19 world.

Strategic Grants also has a great list of resources.

Hailey Cavill has written an interesting post called Recession or reinvention? What will it be for your non-profit? It begins with a reference to the movie Donnie Darko so that’s a good start! And Part 2 is now up!

Your colleagues might appreciate an offer from Seer Data & Analytics, a civic tech start-up committed to making data and insights accessible to help solve social problems. They are offering a free crisis data package for the rest of 2020 to assist organisations in planning responses.

Message Media is offering is offering free SMS support packages for nonprofits.

Howard Lake from UK Fundraising wrote a great blog, Love for fundraisers in a time of coronavirus, on where we are at and how to respond.

Here’s an interesting article on crisis fundraising through the lens of historical events by Mark Phillips from UK fudnraising agency Bluefrog.

With fundraising events hard hit by coronavirus, Blackbaud has some very useful information on holding virtual events.

And here’s a video Q&A with Justin Wheeler, Funraise CEO and fundraiser, on how to salvage your fundraising events during COVID-19 lockdown.

And finally

And we love what Professor Kristy Muir from the Centre for Social Impact has to say.


No doubt there are many more ideas and resources out there. We’ll keep adding to this list so please get in touch if you have anything to share with your sector colleagues. Or if there are topics you’d like us to write about.

And here’s an excellent article about taking care of your mental health.

Take very good care. Because as our PM likes to say, we are in this together (but physically apart).

Clare Joyce is the Editor-in-Chief of F&P.

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