Catalyser Series: Corporate Social Impact in the time of COVID-19
Amidst all the commercial uncertainty and disruption due to COVID-19, there are also amazing stories of corporate citizenship and community impact around the world. Through a series of virtual interviews, Catalyser showcases stories from leaders and organisations that continue to invest and innovate in corporate social impact.
We hope these stories will uplift and inspire you and companies to continue to change the world from your workplace.
Coordinating Collective Impact to support our Communities with United Way New Zealand
While New Zealand makes progress containing the public health impact of COVID-19, a survey of frontline charities by United Way New Zealand shows the challenges for community organisations dealing with growing social needs. We discuss the research findings and the opportunities to make collective impact in our interview with Ms Teresa Moore, CEO of United Way New Zealand.
What are the main findings from United Way New Zealand’s research?
United Way New Zealand’s sector-wide research shows “95% of Kiwi charities have been directly affected by COVID-19”, and face surging demands for services with fewer resources. More than 74% of charities require extra funding, 41% need more staff and volunteers and 27% want other additional resources to continue to effectively deliver programs.
As the first responders to urgent health, economic and social welfare needs, small and medium frontline charities are most impacted as they often have limited funding reserves. Teresa concludes that without help, charities will not be able to continue their vital services.
What does the gradual ‘normalisation’ of public life in New Zealand mean for the community sector?
Teresa acknowledges the positive New Zealand government initiatives such as wage subsidies and grants to support the community sector. As the country moves from level four lockdown and an end to the pandemic seems in sight, she cautions that “the financial and social effects on New Zealand families and communities will continue to rise for some time and frontline charities cannot support our communities alone”. The road to normalisation may take the “next 12 to 18 months” and we need to be committed to long term support of charities to ensure vulnerable groups get to the other side.
How can we best support our charities and communities at this time?
This is a time for collective action and Teresa calls on everyone who can to “give just a little”. United Way New Zealand has launched the UnitedTwenty20 initiative, that is asking people to donate $20 to help a wide range of selected frontline charities across New Zealand. Donations can be made digitally on the UnitedTwenty20 Covid-19 Response Hub. Other ways individuals can make a difference are to get their workplaces involved in corporate giving initiatives or to sign up for volunteering opportunities.
What are some leadership themes and lessons from United Way New Zealand?
Even though we are all experiencing uncertainty and impacted by current times, we can still make a difference and support our communities. The need for a responsive assessment of conditions, importance of collective action and the acknowledgment that we need provide long term support to our community sector are key takeaways from our discussion with United Way New Zealand.
About Teresa’s role and United Way New Zealand
Teresa leads United Way New Zealand, a not for profit that has been raising funds for community organisations across New Zealand and representing the sector since 1975. United Way New Zealand partners with community charities, philanthropists, governments, individuals and corporate donors to “wisely invest back into communities”. Foreseeing the testing times for vulnerable communities as New Zealand entered lock-down, Teresa quickly reached out to charities to understand the situation on the frontlines.