Partners in Recovery

As the charity sector seeks to transform in response to COVID-19, the Centre for Social Impact and Social Ventures Australia have been undertaking the Partners in Recovery research series since mid-2020 to support public and sector discussion, and advocacy.

The series explores the unique social and economic contribution charities make to Australian society and how they are affected by the confluence of service disruption, falling income, rising demand and higher operating costs.

Partners in Recovery begins with a financial health check of Australia's more than 57,500 registered charities, which collectively employ around 1 in 10 workers, reviewing how they have been affected since the onset of COVID-19. Subsequent reports provide new analysis on the charity sector's economic contribution and outline a case for government support for the sector's ongoing resilience and productivity.

This report series is also the first work to intersect with CSI’s Pulse of the For-Purpose Sector, a national and rapid-response research program to guide the for-purpose sector through recovery from COVID-19.
Launched in mid-2020 , Partners in Recovery includes five publications, so far.

Report One: Will Australian charities be COVID-19 casualties or partners in recovery? A financial health check

Published June 2020

This report models how ACNC-registered charities are likely to be affected by the COVID-19 crisis; explores the implications of the sector experiencing greater financial vulnerability; assesses the impact of the first phase of JobKeeper; and sets out the extent of support needed to ensure a thriving and financially viable charities sector.

Report Two: Partners in recovery - Why charities need tailored support

Published July 2020

This policy snapshot explores the different financial, legal and operational constraints to commercial businesses that charities face, and shows that charities need tailored support from government that recognises their unique situation if we are to preserve jobs and services.

Report Three: Taken for granted? Charities' role in economic recovery

Published August 2020

This third report updates the modelling presented in the June 2020 report to explore the implications of the revised JobKeeper wage subsidy arrangements announced by the Commonwealth Government in July 2020. It also presents new analysis on the economic contribution of the charity sector.

Report Four: Vital support - Building resilient charities to support Australia's wellbeing

Published May 2021

The fourth report in the series reviews the state of the charity sector, more than a year on from the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, and investigates what support charities need from government and others to be effective partners in Australia’s recovery. New analysis has found that more than half of charities faced some form of temporary closure, and more than 80% made some shift towards at least partial online service delivery.

Report Five: Partners in Recovery - Moving beyond the crisis?

Partners in Recovery: Moving Beyond the Crisis? takes a refreshed look at the state of the charity sector and its financial health. It explores the challenges facing our sector two years on from the start of the pandemic, as well as those on the horizon. Analysis in the report reveals that 4 out of 5 charities struggled with increased demand from the community throughout the pandemic.

Charities supporting young children and families, and those that provide housing and homelessness support, saw the most significant uptick. While generous funding from government and the philanthropic community helped the sector overall, some charities continued to struggle and are now barely holding on.

Today, rising inflation and cost of living, coupled with the end of pandemic supports, are placing renewed pressure on the charities that support our community. This is being felt across the sector, from organisations caring for older Australians, to those helping people buy food and find shelter, or supporting young children and families.