CAF survey: effect of COVID-19 on NGOs

“Good and bad news”: CAF publishes research on the impact of COVID-19 on NGOs


The good news is that NGO activity has remained largely unaffected during the pandemic. The bad news is that the number of donations has fallen significantly. On 24 June, the charity for the support and development of philanthropy, CAF, published the results of its latest study entitled “NGOs and coronavirus – staying alive”.

The research was based on a survey conducted between 25 May and 8 June among 194 NGOs. Most of them (72%) are based in the regions while the rest are from Moscow or the Moscow oblast. According to CAF, the study was useful in monitoring the trend of changes that have been taking place within NGOs during the COVID-19 pandemic. CAF presented its first study on this topic in late March.

In looking at the results of the charity’s research, CAF noted that NGOs “have been quite strong” during the lockdown with hardly any reduction in their programme of activities. Indeed, almost half of respondents have not only maintained their workload but actually added to it by launching new projects, with 20% of them supporting the fight against the coronavirus. Most respondents, particularly from Moscow, have retained their staff and continued to pay their wages.

At the same time, most NGOs have seen a significant decrease in donations. During March and April, 60% of organisations saw a drop in donations and one in five of them more than 80%. More often than not, it was regional-based NGOs who raised this as an issue. Half of those interviewed held out little hope of donations returning to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year. 78% of NGOs said they needed financial support to maintain current programmes, as well as help with salaries and administrative expenses.

Other changes

In carrying out its study, CAF found that NGOs had started to engage in organisational development during the pandemic (a third of respondents) as well as mastering digital tools, in particular when supporting those in care online (a third of respondents). However, 44% of those questioned said they had little experience in online donations and needed help in organising them. In addition, almost half of NGOs said that long-standing donors and partners had stopped supporting them during the pandemic. A quarter of NGOs interviewed said they needed basic essentials, products and food for animals, with 17% requiring Personal Protective Equipment.

A full report on the survey’s findings can be found on

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