Ontario’s nonprofits and charities are facing a triple threat as a result of COVID-19: an abrupt loss of revenue from the cancellation of fundraising events and a steep drop-off in donations; the closure of offices and cancellation of programs and services due to pandemic restrictions; and unprecedented human resource challenges in terms of both paid staff and volunteers. The Ontario Nonprofit Network conducted a flash survey to examine how organizations across Ontario are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nonprofit leaders are concerned about the safety of their employees, many of whom are front-line staff with insufficient access to personal protective equipment (community workers, personal support workers, child care workers, and shelter staff). Leaders are also deeply worried about the capacity of their organizations to carry out their missions amid the crisis.
Arts organizations are having to cancel shows, recreation centres have been shut due to the state of emergency, and front-line social services and residential homes are struggling to provide services safely without access to adequate testing and personal protection equipment (PPE). Catering, courier, and retail social enterprises that employ people with disabilities have had to close up shop. Food banks are running low on provisions and volunteers. The situation is dire.
But even in the face of what are challenging times, nonprofits remain resilient, working on the frontlines to support their communities they serve in an unparalleled time of need.
The survey was open to Ontario nonprofits, charities, and nonprofit co-operatives with a mission to serve a public benefit, aimed specifically at executive directors and other senior leaders. It was conducted between March 23 and April 2, 2020 and garnered 483 responses via an online tool.