Media Release


Wednesday 23 June


Pandemic pressure: Not-for-profits struggle while Australians commit to giving more


Not-for-profits (NFPs) in Australia are coming under intense pressure one year on from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic with 52 per cent reporting an increase in demand for services and the majority reporting a decline in volunteers and donations.

However, Australians have indicated a willingness to help, with 37 per cent saying they will give more time and money in the year ahead according to new research released today. The COVID-19 Community Sector Impact Survey by Our Community, in partnership with Salesforce, surveyed 907 NFP representatives and 1,027 members of the public to understand the current state of the sector, how it has handled the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and what's needed to rebuild and recover.

In a survey conducted by Our Community in April 2020, 67 per cent of respondents said they’d already experienced a decrease in fundraising income, with 47 per cent reporting a significant decrease. This year’s research reveals the percentage of organisations reporting an increase in income doubled from 6 per cent in 2020 to 12 per cent in 2021.

Seventy-three per cent of NFPs rely on volunteers to deliver programs or services, but 64 per cent of organisations reported a drop in volunteers during the pandemic.

Sixty-nine per cent of Aussies believe there are challenges when trying to engage with and offer support to NFP organisations. Forty-five per cent of Aussies said it’s difficult to find information on how to volunteer and what opportunities are available. More than half said NFPs would do better with volunteers if they established an online community and engaged with them more.

The pandemic has accelerated the NFP sector’s shift to digital technology, with most organisations (74 per cent) increasing their use of tech in the past 12 months, and 64 per cent planning further adoption or investment over the year ahead. Sixty-one per cent of Aussies say that the use of technology by NFPs has an impact on their level of trust for the organisation.

Commentary on the report:

  • “A trilogy of terror is facing the Australian community sector, which is facing increased demand for services, a reduction in donations and a catastrophic collapse in volunteering. The only thing that will save Australia’s 600,000 community groups will be Australians’ continued faith in them, and a bloody big investment by government to ensure the sector can invest in technology and reskill its workforce. We need a major industry plan for the future,” said Denis Moriarty, group managing director, Our Community.
  • “Australians have moved to a digital first world and want to engage with NFPs in the same way they engage retailers, banks and governments. There’s a clear imperative to invest in seamless and comprehensive digital experiences which make it easier for people to volunteer and donate.
  • “Now is the time to capture the increased awareness and motivation for people to give back to their communities. Reaching people both online and in-person increases the scope and ease for not-for-profits to increase volunteer engagement and drive fundraising activities,” said Andrew Hill, Regional Vice President of Non-Profit & Education, Salesforce.



Read the full report and download it here: COVID-19 Community Sector Impact Survey

About Salesforce is a social impact centre of Salesforce. We build powerful technology for, and with, our community of nonprofit, educational and philanthropic organisations to help them operate effectively, raise funds and connect.
In a world where digital-first is no longer a choice, our Nonprofit, Education and Philanthropy Clouds enable organisations to increase digital engagement, create a single source of truth, and generate actionable insights. Technology helps build resilience, maximise social impact, and build a better world. Together, we can close the gap between the impact created today, and the potential for impact in the future.

About Our Community
Our Community is a Melbourne-based social enterprise that provides advice, training and software for the country’s 600,000 not-for-profits, and the business and government agencies that support community development in Australia, New Zealand and beyond.
Our Community was founded in 1999 with a mission of building stronger communities by supporting community organisations. It is led by former senior public servant and ethics graduate Denis Moriarty, and is chaired by leading businesswoman, social investor and Reserve Bank member Carol Schwartz AO. Australia's leading ethicist Simon Longstaff AO also serves on the board.

About YouGov
YouGov is an international research and data analytics group. Our mission is to supply a continuous stream of accurate data into what the world thinks, so that organisations can better serve the communities that sustain them. Each day, our highly engaged proprietary global panel of over 15 million registered members provides us with thousands of data points on consumer opinions, attitudes and behaviour. We combine this continuous stream of data with our research expertise to provide insights that enable intelligent decision-making and informed conversations. With operations in the UK, North America, Mainland Europe, the Nordics, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, YouGov has one of the world’s largest research networks.