THE IMPACT LEAK – 5 Good Things to Focus on for Rapid Covid Recovery
Updated: Jun 25
- What impacts the good we do?
Feeling deluged and overwhelmed by Covid? Were the changes so fast and furious that you can barely count them all? Much of the nonprofit sector, if not ALL of the nonprofit sector, felt the impact of Covid-19. And from those actions and learnings, the sector is emerging a different place. But Canada’s nonprofit sector has always been a place of hope and our Covid recovery will be no different. Here are 5 good reasons to let your hope spring forth.
1. Community Togetherness
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With the time crunch, money crunch, service crunch experienced by so many, we took the opportunity to come together. Large coalitions of organizations were born and with them, an unblinking look at what our sector needed. We saw that adaptations were necessary and we made them. New partnerships were formed, along with new distribution networks of goods and services like the Surplus Food Rescue Program. Pre-Covid coalitions strengthened their work and brought new insights. Groups like SETSI (Social Economy through Social Inclusion) created events to empower communities and the Network for the Advancement of Black Communities and Carleton University gave us the very real stats on Canada’s under-funding of its black communities https://www.forblackcommunities.org/#report. Together we formed and re-formed what it meant to work in this sector.
2. Advocacy for Policy Changes
There is no question that the nonprofit sector knows how to advocate but previous years saw the sector advocate on individual and specific issues raising the competition for funder dollars and government ears. But with the advent of Covid, we needed to advocate for the sector as a whole for new dollars, recognition and equity. Imagine Canada noted that the sector worked hard and came together FOR EACH OTHER since Covid and it “has never before seen as much engagement or consensus on sector-wide policy issues as we have this past year.”
It was through our advocacy and strong coalition voices that government increased funding for services. Specific new funds were introduced like the Emergency Community Support Fund and the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative. As well, after initially being overlooked, the sector was able to participate in the Canada Emergency Wage and Rent Subsidies. These new dollars saved a sector that was generally holding its breath. As we move through our recovery stage, the new dollars and focus will bring the change that many knew was needed.
4. Focus on Mental Health
While the sector works to support mental health for Canadians, it does not do so for itself. Covid put tremendous pressure on staff, those laid off and those left behind to keep the doors open. Finally, the light was shone on burn-out – how we live it, contribute to it and even expand it. A Charity Village article first mentioned this in 2016. Today, because of Covid, Funders, Nonprofit leaders, Board members and staff all came to realize the effect on our over-stretched sector. As we make our way towards recovery, there is a recognition that we can’t return to our old workings. Before the nonprofit sector also becomes its own vulnerable sector, organizations will be changing policies, looking at staffing schedules and continuing with less labour-intensive service delivery where it makes sense.
5. Looking Inward to Find Resilience, From Survival to Revival
Photo by Michael Lee via UnSplash
Nell Edgington of Social Velocity gives good advice. A thought leader and doer steeped in the American nonprofit sector, she has turned her attention to us, individuals, working in the sector and her advice applies to Canadians as much as it does to Americans. During Covid, were you impressed by your leadership? Did you twist and turn and adapt and help your teams to do the same? When Nell writes “the truth is you are powerful beyond measure”. I believe her. One look at how many organizations are still standing tells me that our sector will recover. The stories, ideas and adaptations that took place enveloped us in our ‘can do’ attitude once again. Many organizations were surprised, even shocked, at how well altered delivery models worked. We rose to the occasion even though it was a long one. As we come out the other side towards recovery, we know we’ve changed. While some will call this time period, ‘survival’, I think it more like ‘revival.’ Covid recovery has all the makings of the miraculous for which we are known. And miracles are great things to focus on.