Government Relations During COVID-19: What AFP Canada is Doing and How YOU Can Help
It has been said on a daily, if not on an hourly basis over the last few weeks that these are unprecedented times. COVID-19 has had and will continue to have a significant impact on many aspects of our lives, including our work in this sector. With the cancellation of events and the reduction of individual and corporate giving, professional fundraisers—and the causes they support—are feeling the impact of the coronavirus.
During this crisis, AFP Canada has been advocating for an emergency stabilization fund to help charities and nonprofits. Along with over 150 other organizations across our country, we are championing this sector-wide request of the government.
Each member of AFP, as well as their friends, family, and any concerned Canadians, can—and should—take a moment to send a letter to their MP about this urgent request. Please go to https://afpglobal.org/news/advocate-for-our-sector-during-covid-19 for more details.
AFP Canada will continue to focus on this and other important initiatives that support our sector. We will continue to advocate for an environment that strengthens effective and ethical fundraising to encourage giving. We are hopeful that future government announcements will include support for the charities and nonprofits that do such amazing work in our communities.
But what comes next?
While we don’t yet know the depth of this crisis or when it will be over, we know that it will pass. When it does, the government will most certainly be looking for ways to stimulate the economy.
Following past downturns, the government has invested heavily in infrastructure and public works projects. Our sector has been part of these “booms” in the past, whether through initiatives to expand libraries, recreation centres, university campuses or other projects. It makes sense for governments to turn to our sector as a trusted partner for these projects because we are nimble, responsive and responsible.
Charities and nonprofits have ambitious plans to make the world better, and many of these plans involve building or expanding services. In anticipation of stimulus funding, it makes sense to reach out to local federal, provincial and municipal representatives and share these plans. Waiting until post-crisis funding opportunities are announced is too late to start this work because, as we know, relationship building takes time.
Now is the time for charities to start this government relations work. By socializing these plans and demonstrating their readiness, organizations will be well-positioned when the funding stimulus packages are announced. By doing this important work in advance, charities can make the most of these opportunities.
We anticipate that the coronavirus will have a long-lasting impact on all our lives and it will definitely have an enormous impact on our sector. While not every charity will be able to leverage government stimulus opportunities, each charity—and professional fundraiser who supports their work—makes an important difference to those they serve. By taking the time now to prepare for what comes next, charities and nonprofits will be well positioned to continue their amazing work to make the world a better place.