The analytical platform VoxUkraine, together with the Belgium-based NGO Promote Ukraine, studied the impact of coronavirus restrictions on the communication activity of NGOs in Ukraine and Europe, as well as the impact of a full-scale Russian invasion on the activities of the public sector in Ukraine.
“As our study showed, the pandemic-related experiences helped NGOs quickly adapt to the challenges after the full-scale unmotivated military invasion of the Russian Federation in Ukraine in psychological, organisational, and technical aspects,” the authors of the study note.
According to the survey, the most useful skills were digital tools for organising remote work, crisis management experience, and rapid change in focus of activity.
Ukrainian NGOs identified the psychological burden on the team, the physical danger for employees, the need to organise work in new conditions, and lack of funding as the biggest challenges during the full-scale war. The least challenging for NGOs was irrelevant statutory activities. At the same time, during the pandemic, the main challenges for NGOs were setting up remote work, finding funding, and communicating with the audience.
At the same time, the majority — 85% of the surveyed NGOs that maintained their activities during the full-scale war — added war-related activities to their activity lists or completely switched to them. Most NGOs added to their activity lists assistance to civilians and military, as well as fighting Russia on the information front.
Based on the results of the study, the authors formulated recommendations for the “survival” of NGOs in conditions of large-scale crises. Analysts advise developing digital skills of both employees of organisations and their audience; building a network of personal contacts, and trying to diversify sources of income. The authors also suggest using research components (organisation of work, interaction with key stakeholders, financing) to (self-)assess the sustainability and effectiveness of NGO activities.
The research results can be found in the analytical report “Adapt or disappear.’