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Lost income streams, financial uncertainty, immense pressure on operating costs, and balancing and maintaining a level of service on reduced revenue. These are some of the major issues identified by the 1,400 plus community and voluntary sector organisations that responded to a national survey of the impacts of COVID-19.

The survey found that a sizable number of tangata whenua, community and voluntary organisations took a hit throughout lockdown and beyond. Despite this, they rallied, moved rapidly, and in some cases did, and are doing, more with less.

Post-lockdown, the survey reveals the sector is in a precarious, finely balanced position. In May-June 74% of survey participants had taken some form of financial hit. Almost half had sufficient funds to maintain staff and activity for six months or more, the rest did not without more revenue coming in.

The Centre for Social Impact and its partners in the survey, Hui E! Community Aotearoa, Philanthropy New Zealand and Volunteering New Zealand, are concerned about what might be coming down the line.

“The survey suggests that there was a high level of effective collaboration throughout lockdown between many community organisations, funders, and central and local government,” says Monica Briggs, Head of the Centre for Social Impact. “The challenge now is to collaborate as the sector recovers, reimagines and rebuilds to address the social impacts of COVID-19 crisis.”

“This survey will help inform the sector’s ‘recover, reimagine, rebuild’ discussions as we work together to shape a future in which community organisations are well positioned to respond to the emerging needs of communities across the motu.”

The report is available here.