Significant revenue shortfalls and limited reserves are shaping up as the biggest issues for social purpose organisations as a result of COVID-19, according to early insights from the RESET 2020 National Support Program and Research Study, which is currently underway with support from Equity Trustees and the Sector Capacity Building Fund.

50% of the organisations that have responded so far report a loss of revenue, although they can continue for now. However, 11% need immediate financial assistance to continue their operations, and a third of organisations with less than $250,000 in annual turnover only have been 1 and 3 months of reserves.

44% of responses report some or significant increase in demand for their services. Conversely, only 4% report an increase in their revenues. As a result, 21% report that staff are working longer hours to deal with demand.

Against this backdrop, it’s not surprising that the areas where organisations are seeking most immediate help is in attracting and retaining donors, sponsors and/or partners, and support to keep the public focus on the issues and needs of the beneficiaries they support.

Julia Keady, CEO of The Xfactor Collective, which is running the RESET 2020 program, says it was designed to provide practical advice from specialists to help those organisations grappling with these issues take practical action.

“These early insights have shaped the content for the first six free advice sessions that will be running over the next three weeks. As a group of professionals across a wide range of disciplines, the members of the Collective wanted to offer practical support for the sector, especially as we know that many small organisations can’t normally access this kind of professional advice,” says Keady.

“Some organisations are responding well though, so the live shows will be a mix of case studies and an interactive Q&A session, so people can get the inspiration, advice and support they need.”

Equity Trustees’ support ensures that all of the sessions are free to anyone across the sector.

Given the importance of maintaining awareness of issues and fundraising, the first live show is ‘Events in this New World’ with events specialist Liliana Sanelli and communications specialist Julie Weldon. The session will feature an interview with the Head of Marketing & Communications for Guide Dogs ACT, NSW and VIC, Charlie Spendlove.

International Guide Dog Day is a significant event in the Guide Dogs promotional calendar, and usually involves a physical event. Charlie and the team thought out of the box and created an online event that attracted more than 2,000 people and has had significant benefits for them already in terms of awareness and leads for fundraising. Charlie will highlight what made it successful and the lessons they learnt along the way.

The next session ‘Corporate and Community Partnerships in Uncertain Times’, is with Corporate Partnerships Specialist Linda Garnett and Stakeholder Engagement Specialist Renae Hanvin teaming up to share knowledge and answer questions about the corporate and community partnerships. This program will feature a representative from Beyond Blue who will share how they have navigated the changes with their existing partnerships, but also created new opportunities together since COVID-19 hit.

 The next 4 sessions will cover:

  • getting cut through in communications and marketing;
  • how to identify and support staff and volunteers who are struggling emotionally
  • sustaining donor and funder relationships; and
  • retaining talent and the various recruitment and staffing challenges that organisations are experiencing.

Keady says that the research has been critical, and that the study remain opens and will continue to inform the upcoming topics. However, its role is even broader and more important.

“COVID-19 is going to have a long-term impact, so the research will be repeated at intervals over the next 12 months. The findings will be shared across the sector, and will help to inform the sector’s future response, as the issues will no doubt evolve over time.”

All organisations are encouraged to complete the Survey and register for the sessions. The sessions will also be recorded and available for replay.


Julie Weldon, The Xfactor Collective RESET 2020 Communications Lead, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Phone 0423 110 802


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