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Lessons to be learned from how the charity sector stepped up to meet community need during lockdown

Published: 21 June 2022

Painted stones with slogans like NHS and hope

Dr Chi Maher, Head of Programme: Master of Business Administration (MBA) at York St John University London, has published a paper in the International Journal of Business Research Management (IJBRM) looking at how charities shifted their working to cope during the pandemic.

NGOs Collaboration Strategies during the Covid-19 Pandemic First Lockdown:  Poland and the United Kingdom was co-authored by Dr Anna Czarczyńska of Kozminski University.

The study examined ways of working in charities in the UK and Poland during the first lockdown. In both countries they observed fast development of managerial skills and cooperation capacity, higher efficiency, and better use of the limited resources. 

The research shows how NGOs demonstrated rapid adaptation, innovation and had to reinvent themselves during a crisis. The outcome of pandemic shock depended strongly on these organizations’ maturity and agility, and this study demonstrates that it was the catalyst for a change.  

Although Covid-19 further highlighted funding difficulties in the charity sector, organisations worked together as never before. This joined-up approach meant successful delivery of much-needed services to the community. 

The academics also remark that their findings demonstrate the long-term effects of how Governments’ reduction in public sector funding is severely affecting many small charities. They are now calling for funding support schemes to be established to help charities to stay afloat as they deal with the aftereffects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Maher said: “Building social capital with NGOs should be a key public policy in the post-pandemic period as a new model of state crisis management preparation. Governments need to support non-governmental organizations transparently in an open way within the framework of collaboration, promoting civil society self-relied capacity.   

“State funding bodies should facilitate integrated networking and collaborative arrangements between all sectors to co-produce solutions for tackling environmental, health and social care problems during a pandemic. This can inform public policy and make sure that lessons learned during the pandemic are not lost.  

“Going forward, the state should not view collaboration as a means of cost-cutting and reduction in NGOs funding. Collaboration should be recognised as a means of improving efficiency and effectiveness.” 

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