How are governments reacting in light of the COVID-19 crisis?

It is vital that governments recognise and value the crucial role of civil society and philanthropy in the immediate response to the Coronavirus crisis and for the rebuilding efforts that will be needed.

Currently governments are responding to the crisis in various ways, on the national and regional level, and many measures apply directly or indirectly to civil society, philanthropy and the wider giving environment. Governments must now fully consider how the sector can be harnessed to support and compliment their own rebuilding efforts.

What can we learn from actions taken by countries to respond to the crisis? What must be different next time around? How must we be better prepared? And, importantly, what are the root causes to address so we are not left fighting symptoms?

European policy responses for philanthropy and civil society

CAF we’re interested in recording what is happening across countries and have started by creating a ‘living repository’ of good and bad practice in European policy responses for philanthropy and civil society. Whilst our discussions to date have focused on Europe, we welcome the opportunity to share with and learn from our global colleagues and peers.

  • Do read, share and give us your feedback on this paper
  • Do share your good and bad practice examples in this framework

Some observations from the paper

Tax incentives

Introduction of tax incentives for specific cause areas such as health

Lack of strategic partnerships

A lack of strategic involvement of civil society and philanthropy in the response to the pandemic

Closing civic space

Some cases of states using the COVID-19 response to further close civic space

Some transferable lessons:

  • Civil Society surviving the crisis: Governments should be designing response packages specific to the sector and tailored to CSO needs and operations – rather than retrofitting measures to civil society seen as an afterthought, and philanthropy an input of additional resources rather than a partner
  • Civil Society, a key strategic partner: Governments should consider how civil society and philanthropy can be leveraged as strategic partners in the COVID-19 response (and future crisis and rebuilding efforts). Ongoing collaboration forums are needed for early engagement and building multi-sector partnerships
  • Civil Society paving the way for the future: Changes in the way the value and role of philanthropy and civil society is understood, approached and worked with must be dealt with to improve their operating environment, with the case for long-term vision and preparedness, collaboration forums and resilience needing to be made now

Looking to the future: civil society and philanthropy in a post-covid world

In addition to considering the immediate impact of COVID-19 we also look ahead to what the future may bring. We can at least start asking some of the right questions (highlighted in the paper).

Funders and CSOs must together consider what comes next; only by doing so will we be able to shape the future we want for philanthropy, civil society and the people they serve. 

Download the policy paper

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