“Double Disaster”: What can global philanthropy learn from Australia’s consecutive bushfire and COVID-19 crises?

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Alexandra Williamson, Queensland University of Technology & Diana Leat, Independent Consultant and Visitor Professor at Cass Business School

If, as Oscar Wilde remarked, losing one parent may be regarded as a misfortune but losing two looks like carelessness, the same might be said of disasters. For Australian nonprofit organizations and philanthropic foundations scrambling to frame and action responses to the unprecedented damage caused by 2019-20 bushfires in four states, the advent of coronavirus seems worse than unlucky. But does Australia’s double experience of misfortune offer any useful insights?

While it is obviously too early for comprehensive national data on giving by individuals, corporates and philanthropic foundations, there are some key themes and reflections on the similarities, differences and challenges of Australia’s philanthropic response to disaster overload.

Unlike some disasters that happen almost instantaneously or with only a few days’ warning, both the bushfires and COVID-19 built over a period of months. Similarly, neither the bushfires nor COVID-19 could be simply ‘put out’ but had/will have to run their course (given our current state of knowledge on a vaccine). In another temporal dimension, both disasters require responders to think beyond immediate short-term response to longer-term recovery. Both disasters take a greater toll on those who are already disadvantaged, with a disproportionate impact on physical and mental safety, social and financial wellbeing. Lastly, both disasters restrict movement and access of and to people and resources. Nonprofit responders and funders cannot go into the field to observe and understand for themselves under COVID-19 lockdown conditions or bushfire emergency evacuations. Continue reading ““Double Disaster”: What can global philanthropy learn from Australia’s consecutive bushfire and COVID-19 crises?”

Charities are making giant leap towards cryptocurrencies in corona crisis

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Peter Howson, Nottingham Trent University, U.K.

This year was a leap year. In normal circumstances such a thing is nothing to celebrate in England, aside from an extra February day of bad weather, and waiting a day longer for one’s pay cheque. Today, how we all miss February. I will probably never forget that day in early March. A stranger in the street asks me where I had brought my 2 pints of milk (I paid £3 cash for it in the village pub as they were locking the doors indefinitely), before joining the queue at the fish and chip shop to buy a sack of potatoes. All our plans for the year; holidays, work projects, moving house, everything that was once considered concrete has changed in a matter of weeks for almost everyone in the whole world, in different ways.

The pandemic has triggered an unprecedented government support package for UK businesses, including for charities plugging the gap in underfunded medical and social care systems, weathered by a decade of austerity measures. The UK Finance Minister admits the £750 million of extra funding to support ‘front-line’ charities will not save them all from collapse during the corona crisis, while the charity sector as a whole faces a £3.7 billion shortfall over the next 12 weeks. Many social enterprises, small and international NGOs are in dire straits, as revenue from charity shops dries up, and nothing that was expected from summer events comes in during the lockdown. Cancellation of this month’s London marathon alone is estimated to cost the sector £66m. Continue reading “Charities are making giant leap towards cryptocurrencies in corona crisis”

Are all nonprofits becoming more ‘business-like’?

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Ben Suykens, Filip De Rynck & Bram Verschuere, Ghent University

As previous posts on this blog demonstrate, recent nonprofit management research is preoccupied with the idea that nonprofit organizations (NPOs) are increasingly becoming ‘business-like’ by incorporating corporate norms, values and practices. Scholars are generally critical of this supposed trend, highlighting that NPOs may well gain resources, influence and the opportunity to deliver more services but at great cost to mission, values and voluntary contribution. Continue reading “Are all nonprofits becoming more ‘business-like’?”

Check Out this ‘Editor’s Choice’ Virtual Special Issue from NVSQ!

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Dear friends,

Happy 2020! As we embark on a new year, we—the editorial team of Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly working closely with Sage—are proud to present to you this virtual special issue of Editors’ Choice. These fourteen (14) articles were published in various issues of NVSQ between January 2018 and December 2019. We have selected and curated them into this virtual collection to draw attention and provide ease of access to particularly distinctive, high-quality work in different genres. Some have already been highly-cited over the past two years (for example, the top-cited article on use of social media by nonprofit advocacy organizations by Guo and Saxton); others we expect will be widely read and used to inform new research, but may not yet have high citations because they were published more recently.

Here is a link to the Virtual Special Issue:

https://journals.sagepub.com/topic/collections-nvs/nvs-1-editors_choice/nvs

As a collection, these articles showcase the diversity of topics as well as the conceptual and methodological innovations that characterize NVSQ. The topics cover accountability and governance, revenue diversification, cross-sector partnerships, giving and volunteering, civil engagement, policy advocacy and social entrepreneurship. This collection is also broadly international, as is every issue of the journal. We hope you find this special collection of articles interesting, relevant, and inspiring.

The articles will be open for free download for the next two weeks. Enjoy!

The NVSQ Editorial Team”