Research/Networking Covid-19 and Third Sector
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ISTR's new research and networking forum is designed to provide an active and engaging space for our members to share new research being carried out on Covid-19 and the Third Sector. Use this space to share research ideas, identify research partners/collaborators, seek feedback and support on work-in-progress, and solicit and discuss research ideas and methods. Also use this space to publicize relevant reports, op-eds, papers, etc. you have published that might be of interest to your peers and provide links to collections of research being compiled by other organizations that represent third sector sub-fields (philanthropy, volunteerism, governance, legal studies, etc.) or global regions (Asia, LAC, Africa, Europe, etc.) to facilitate the cross-pollination of ideas. We will cross post these on our static resources page: This forum is open to all, though you must be logged in to an ISTR account to post. To post, click on "Add new post" below.


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Coronavirus volunteers aren’t just a source of free labour – don’t take advantage of them

Posted By Matt Baillie Smith, Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Article in The Conversation, May 19, 2020

Coronavirus volunteers aren’t just a source of free labour – don’t take advantage of them

, Professor of International Development, Northumbria University, Newcastle

"The diverse groups of volunteers responding to COVID-19 around the world are a source of positivity and hope.

But volunteers are not simply a source of free labour. Volunteering is both political and influenced by social and cultural factors. Keeping volunteers safe and well demands investment, and how they are engaged and by whom has consequences during and beyond a crisis." more.


Tags:  covid-19  Volunteering 

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Giving Tuesday Research Priorities

Posted By Woodrow Rosenbaum, Chief Data Officer, Giving Tuesday, Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The GivingTuesday Data Commons is a global collaboration of research partners including more than 150 organizations, donation platform, and researchers in the US, as well as teams in 47 other countries. Together, we are working to understand giving behavior and how to motivate increased generosity. I wanted to share with you an update on our work and priorities right now. Things are moving very quickly and we want to stay connected to our network and maximize opportunities for collaboration.  

There is new urgency behind our data efforts as we work with our partners, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Fidelity Charitable to help address the current crisis and emerging threats around the world. We are leveraging our data, findings, collaborative research, and network in a number of ways. These include, identifying opportunities and challenges for sector resilience, measuring and understanding individual behavior in response to crisis, identifying and scaling best practices for mitigation, and understanding how to leverage emergent generosity action for longer term culture shifts.

We want to help the social and charitable sectors to realize the opportunities for a positive legacy of this crisis.

Our Research Priorities

We are implementing measurement processes right now to answer this need:

  • Meta-analysis of research on the impact of economic shocks to the social sector and distilling findings for actionable insights.
  • Analyzing 990 and our unique transactional datasets to uncover deeper insights and identify key indicators. We’re using tools we developed with our collaborators and making the code and data open for others.
  • Global social and media listening to measure the conversation, test interventions, and connect engagement to action. We’ll use this to identify the opportunities for scalability, mitigation and recovery.
  • Fielding survey research in global markets to establish baseline attitudes, values and self-report behavior. We’ll run a second round after GTNow to measure impact.
  • Developing values and behavior dashboards to track longer term trends and forecast.
  • Coordinating our network of 47 global teams and US working groups to gather data, collaborate on research and share findings and best practice.
  • Working with our platform partners to collect and analyze transaction data to identify current and emerging trends and forecast opportunities and risks.

Tags:  Philanthropy 

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Study Report Launched [Impact of COVID-19 on Nepali Civil Society Organizations]

Posted By Dipendra K C, Tuesday, May 12, 2020

In an initial effort to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the CSO’s ability to meet their community’s needs, we launched a nationwide study on April 14, 2020. Nepal is well known for its vibrancy of civic space; a little over 54,000 NGOs are registered with Social Welfare Council. We invited a total of 488 randomly sampled CSOs to participate in the study. A total of 235 organizations from 64 districts covering all seven provinces of the country participated in the survey between April 14 to May 1. The respondents comprised of NGOs (91%), federations and associations (7%), and profit not distributing companies (2%). Participating organizations also covered a broad range of functional areas, from human rights to research and reconstruction.

Key Insights

  1. Three out of ten organizations have entirely stopped their services. In comparison, six out of ten responding organizations’ ability to deliver services and/or programs has been affected by COVID-19, and the rest are either providing their regular services or to a greater extent.
  2. CSOs with relatively smaller budgets working outside the Kathmandu valley are comparatively vulnerable and more worried than CSOs inside the valley.
  3. Mobility of CSOs is limited due to lockdown, due to which CSOs ability to provide service to vulnerable population are severely affected.
  4.  CSOs need support in reevaluating their future directions in fundraising, financial scenario planning, technological upskilling, and strengthening organizational resilience.
  5.  CSOs are responding to COVID-19 in numerous ways. Nine of ten responding organizations are informing their beneficiaries and communities on risks and steps to protect from COVID-19, six out of ten organizations are collecting some kind of data at the local level, five out of ten organizations are building a coalition with other organizations for relief and support. Similarly, CSOs are coordinating with local governments for relief activities, combating fake news, and fundraising.

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Tags:  Nepal  nonprofits  survey 

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Inter-American Development Bank - Data Dashboard

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Inter-American Development Bank, Citizen participation group offers a data dashboard that shows the perceptions and concerns expressed online by the citizens of Latin America and the Caribbean in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. This data enables better listening and understanding of various categories of information related to civic needs, related to dignity, trust, security and visibility. With this data, we seek to support citizens, governments and the private sector to take action with solutions at a local and regional level. Read more

Tags:  citizen participation  covid-19  Latin America 

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Special Edition: Philanthropy & COVID-19

Posted By Katherine MacDonald, Tuesday, May 5, 2020
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List of US-based social impact business research happening now

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 30, 2020

Here is a link to recent and ongoing research taking place now in response to the pandemic with a focus on social impact business in the United States.  While most of this has a business marketing purpose, it does provide some interesting insights, including some related to corporate volunteerism. This rwebsite also offers links to a webinar series where you can access stored recordings.


Tags:  corporate volunteering  United States. business social impact 

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NGOs on Coronavirus Mode: The Risks of ‘Business as Usual’

Posted By Daniel Diaz Vera, Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Hi all, even though we are sad for the cancelation of Montreal's conference, this is being an opportunity to reflect on how NGOs are coping with this pandemic in an organizational level of analysis. Here is a short note just published at E-International Relations on the risks for NGOs on adopting the approach that we can call "Business as usual".

Kind regards, 

Daniel A. Diaz, University of Manchester, 

Tags:  covid-19  NGO  nonprofit leadership 

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Civil Society and the Coronavirus: Dynamism Despite Disruption

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Civil Society and the Coronavirus: Dynamism Despite Disruption

by Saskia Brechenmacher, Thomas Carothers, Richard Youngs

This article draws on comparative insights and examples provided by members of Carnegie’s Civic Research Network. 

Click here for the link.


This post has not been tagged.

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Moving Through Loneliness During the Pandemic

Posted By Anthony Silard, Monday, April 20, 2020

My name is Anthony Silard and I just joined ISTR. I was really excited about this summer's conference, and will maintain that enthusiasm for July 2021. I hope to meet you there! 

After over 25 years as a nonprofit Executive Director and leadership coach and educator for senior nonprofit leaders, I now also teach at California State San Bernardino and Claremont McKenna College. My research focuses on how nonprofit leaders manage their emotions. Two discrete emotions I emphasize are loneliness and secondary trauma - I have published this year on how these emotions emerge in organizations in Human Relations, Nonprofit Management and Leadership and Leadership and also recently in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. Please feel free to email me at if you are interested in collaborating on future research. 

Please also check out my new book, Screened In: The Art of Living Free in the Digital Age, which includes ten years of research on how technology is affecting us and our relationships. 100% of the proceeds from the book go to nonprofit education programs. Also, here's my new Psychology Today article on moving through loneliness during the pandemic. (Please send out to your students, it may be helpful for them as they try to get through this challenging time.) If you like this article and want more, you can receive the weekly articles I'm writing for free at The Art of Living Free Blog.



Tags:  emotions  nonprofit leadership  relationships  technology 

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Impact of COVID-19 on Nepali Civil Society Organizations

Posted By Dipendra K C, Friday, April 17, 2020

Thammasat University’s School of Global Studies and Nepal Institute for Policy Research have partnered to launch a survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on Civil Society Organizations (CSO) of Nepal. The survey aims to explore the effect of the virus on a broad range of organizations like NGOs, associations and foundations, and social enterprises. The study also examines the early measures taken by the CSOs in serving their constituencies.


We adapted the instrument developed by The University of San Diego’s Nonprofit Institute. We aim to launch the initial report by the end of the first week of May. We have used KoboToolbox to deploy the multilingual (English & Nepali) survey. Please feel free to reach out to Dipendra K C ( if you need a copy of the XLS survey.

Tags:  covid-19  Nepal  Survey 

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