New research has found, more than a year on from the onset of the COVID-19 crisis many charities are struggling financially, despite Australia’s promising economic recovery from the pandemic.
The recent report titled ‘Vital support: Building resilient charities to support Australia’s wellbeing’ by Social Ventures Australia (SVA) and the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) finds that “more than half of charities faced some form of temporary closure during the crisis.”
The report’s new findings build on CSI’s recent Pulse report, which revealed that “77% of organisations stated that the pandemic had put a strain on their financial operations, while 52% were worried they would not be able to provide their services in the current economic climate.”
With the recent end of JobKeeper, some charities are expected to retrench staff or shrink their operations and are finding it difficult to meet community demands.
Professor Kristy Muir, CEO of CSI said, “Despite the fact that the Australian economy has performed much better than expected in the recovery phase of the pandemic, charities continue to be at risk. Now that JobSeeker and the JobKeeper Coronavirus Supplement have ended, more people will be turning to charities for support as they experience a significant loss of income.
“However, many charities do not have funding streams or reserves to draw on that can meet this demand, which could see devastating flow-on effects for the thousands of Australians who access their services,” said Professor Muir.
CEO of SVA, Suzie Riddell said charities can and should be part of Australia’s economic recovery and called on governments to step-up and support the charity sector.
“Many people don’t know what an important sector it is in total, and that charities employ more than one in ten employees in Australia (1.3 million).”
“Charities provide services that people, communities and governments rely on. They are the social glue in our society, and ensure people and communities receive life-changing support,” Ms Riddell said.
“We hope to see the government invest in the charities sector and provide the tailored support needed to build the sector’s resilience. Charities can be part of the recovery solution, but they need assistance to continue providing essential services and employment opportunities to millions of Australians.”
The Vital support: Building resilient charities to support Australia’s wellbeing report calls for six actions for governments and others that would support charity resilience:
- Continue to provide targeted support to charities facing long-run effects of the pandemic, including ensuring that business support is structured so charities can benefit on an equal footing
- Appropriately fund government contracted services delivered by charities
- Make fundraising and philanthropy simpler to encourage increased giving
- Establish a Resilient Charities Fund to enable charities to invest in capability building and organisational transformation
- Support further research to better understand how to build back the charities sector so that they are funded for impact
- Meaningfully increase the rate of JobSeeker payment to reduce poverty and financial stress.