Covid-19: running a not-for-profit in a changing world

Hands With Red Ribbon Charity

Every not-for-profit organisation will have had different experiences over the last couple of months during the ongoing global pandemic. But most will have experienced a reduced ability to raise funds through traditional methods and have had to make difficult decisions to suspend events or fundraising activities. Your organisation may also have been hit as gaming trust funding dried up with pubs, clubs and bars shut.

The not-for-profit sector provides an incredible contribution to our economy, currently around 27,000 registered charities employ about 130,000 fulltime staff in New Zealand.

Good leadership is vital right now, strategic planning, reviewing how you do business, making changes to your operational plans or fund applications, reviewing your budget, communicating with your stakeholders, clients and members. Essential service or not, there is a lot on offer to support your not-for-profit organisation as we move into post lockdown world of Alert Level 1.

Here are a few ideas that might help as you move on.

Review your funding sources

There are many organisations throughout New Zealand that provide funding support to charities and not-for-profit organisations including local councils, community trusts, community foundations, grant schemes and corporate charitable foundations. Start with these:

Charities Services

The Tindall Foundation

Companies office flexibility

If you have not been able to finalise your annual return or hold your AGM during the lockdown period, don’t worry, The Companies Office has made temporary changes to their legislation provide more flexibility to allow charities to delay their annual general meetings until a time when it is reasonable to hold them.

Arrange an extension

Small business cash flow loan

Your charity may qualify for the small business cash flow loan, with a five year term, the annual interest rate of 3% will not be charged if the loan is paid back within one year. Applications have been extended to 24th July.

More about cashflow loans

Wage subsidy and leave support extension

Again, the wage subsidy support is available to all businesses adversely affected by Covid-19 including charities to enable you to continue to pay wages. The subsidy is not available to state sector organisations.

More about wage subsidy

Business debt hibernation

You may want to consider business debt hibernation. Debt hibernation helps companies and other entities affected by Covid-19 manage their existing debts until they can start trading normally again.

More about debt hibernation

Collaboration will help

Co-operation among charities is being seen as an answer to not-for-profits currently fighting for survival due to Covid-19 restrictions. You can use the search the Charities Register to see if there is a charity you can join or collaborate with.

Cutting costs

Many currently in this situation are reducing staff levels. If you do have to make the hard decision to cut staffing, be aware that new support is available for your employees if your business is no longer viable.

More about Income Relief Payment

Supporting staff and volunteers

We recommend reassuring your staff that you are operating safely, in making provisions to keep your staff, volunteers, customers, members and stakeholders safe and promote good hygiene throughout your organisation. It’s worth being mindful that team members may perceive the threat differently or have special concerns, be careful how you communicate any changes in how you do your work or deliver programmes to your beneficiaries and stakeholders.

Remember there is still a global pandemic going on, be prepared to act fast to step up Alert Levels if we have to. Continue to be kind to yourselves and others.

Not sure where to start? We’re here if you need us, cash flow, budgeting or just to chat through different business ideas.

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