New research investigates ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on the social sector
The second phase of a national research project designed to measure the ongoing and evolving impact of COVID-19 on social purpose organisations was launched this week.
The study is an initiative of social-purpose organisation The Xfactor Collective with the support of Equity Trustees, and is designed to identify the issues affecting the social sector. The goal is to help identify what support is needed for those organisations to make it through the pandemic.
The first part of this National Impact+Need Research Study was conducted in May and revealed the many challenges faced by the social sector due to the pandemic.
“In the first survey, many organisations reported they had only a few months of financial reserves. In addition to financial pressures, many organisations were concerned about the mental wellbeing of their staff and volunteers. That is six months ago now, so we want to understand the evolving and ongoing impacts of COVID-19,” said Julia Keady, CEO and Founder of The Xfactor Collective.
Keady said what they are hoping to achieve with this second survey is to understand how their circumstances have changed since then. What’s different? What’s new? What’s still affecting them?”
“These insights will inform what support social change-makers and organisations across our sector require right now. We can then leverage our collaborative, integrated and complementary network to provide relevant resources that can help bring us all out of this pandemic stronger than ever,” she said.
The ongoing effects of the pandemic are still taking a toll on large organisations and community grass-roots groups alike. In May, 53% of participants indicated the uncertainty and constant change was having the greatest overall impact.
Jodi Kennedy, General Manager, Charitable Trusts and Philanthropy, Equity Trustees said it is vital to stay on top of these changes and consider what they mean for the longevity of the sector and the one in 10 Australians it employs, let alone the people the sector supports.
“By understanding the ongoing – and new – impacts of this prolonged pandemic on the for-purpose sector, we as sector leaders can start to think about our role in reimagining the future. We not only have a responsibility to use what we’re learning, but a unique opportunity through this crisis to better plan for resilience, to ensure the sector not just survives, but thrives for the longer term,” Kennedy said. “So, no matter what role people hold in the social sector – employee, CEO, volunteer, committee member, board member or sector advisor – we want to hear from you.”
All social sector organisations are encouraged to participate in the research study. The survey will close 18 October, with results announced in November.