Impact of COVID-19 on work of NGOs: CAF survey

CAF investigated the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on the work of NGOs


The charitable foundation CAF has presented its findings from a survey into the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on the work carried out by NGOs in Moscow and the regions.

Over the period of 18 to 23 March, more than 230 NGOs took part in the investigation.

The research revealed that almost half of the NGOs have reduced face to face meetings, cancelled events that were planned to take place over the next two to three months as well as trips around Russia and abroad (67%). In Moscow 83% of the organisations surveyed asked their employees to work from home and 44% have closed their office for quarantine; in comparison only a quarter of the organisations based in the regions have taken this step. Just 9% stated that their work had not changed in any way over the past few days.

According to the study, most NGOs (75%) are operating at the same level or have marginally reduced their productivity. The main difficulty that the organisations are facing is the same as in other sectors of the economy – suddenly transferring their current activities to an online space: a third believe that it is difficult to ‘work remotely’ on their current projects. One in five organisations pointed out that they have never had to work remotely and more than a quarter of the organisations surveyed believe that they do not have the infrastructure in place to do so. 

Almost half of the NGOs surveyed have needed to cancel or postpone projects, and as a result there will need to be a review of their operating models and obligations to donors. The majority of organisations hope that their partners will show understanding and be flexible in their approach to changing deadlines, budgets and project plans.

In general, despite the many difficulties, only 5% of the organisations have completely suspended their activities. On the contrary, the majority of NGOs are seeing positives from the current situation. Almost half believe that they now need to pay more attention to strategy and organisational development and a quarter of the organisations surveyed believe that the time has now come to commit fully to online fundraising, as it is now the fastest growing format for collecting donations.

“Despite the difficult situation, the majority of NGOs are quickly rebuilding and continue to provide help to those who need it most,” says the director of CAF foundation Maria Chertok. “After all, it is NGOs’ clients that suffer most from the restrictions imposed to fight the epidemic. At this challenging time, it is fundamental that public support for the work NGOs carry out does not flag. Donors must show loyalty and flexibility so that their partner organisations can continue to provide help in these new conditions”.


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