Corporate directors throw support behind NFPs to survive COVID-19
23 April 2020 at 8:32 am
“NFPs are needed now and will be needed even more into the future,” AICD director says.
Australia’s peak body for directors says it will be impossible for the not-for-profit sector to financially withstand the fall-out from COVID-19 and is calling on the federal government to deliver an urgent relief package for the entire sector.
So far, around 30,000 NFPs will receive a tax-free payment of up to $100,000, as part of the Morrison government’s $66 billion COVID-19 economic stimulus package.
Mental health services, domestic violence support, and emergency food relief will also receive a cut of an additional $1.1 billion package.
But the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) CEO and managing director, Angus Armour, said it was not enough to see charities through to the other side of the pandemic.
“Increased demand, decreased donations, loss of access to volunteers, inability to hold fundraising events and in some cases significant loss of operating revenues are examples of the difficulties this sector is facing,” Armour told Pro Bono News.
“I acknowledge the government’s significant measures but we need to adapt to a surge in demand for many NFP community services, at a time when it will be difficult – if not impossible – for many NFPs to financially withstand the impact of COVID-19 without substantial additional support.”
As part of the urgent relief package, AICD said the government should bring forward the payment of committed government funding as soon as possible, extend funding commitments to all organisations for an initial 12 months to provide certainty and capacity to address current cash flow constraints, and automatically extend any stimulus or assistance packages aimed at supporting businesses to NFPs.
Armour said that with NFP board directors making up the largest proportion of the organisation’s membership, he knew these organisations not only played a critical role in supporting society through the crisis, but in the aftermath.
“Disability and mental health services are facing peak demand right now, and I also think we need to acknowledge that we are facing an impending mental health crisis as a consequence of COVID-19,” he said.
“So we’re throwing our support behind the NFP sector because they are needed now and will be needed even more in the future to deliver some very critical services to our community.”