Giving Compass' Take:

• When COVID-19 is over, foundations should use their philanthropic vitality to strategically support nonprofits for a full recovery.

• How are foundations already committing to more nuanced ways of helping nonprofits beyond "relief" stages? How do you plan to support organizations during and after COVID-19? 

• Read more about helping nonprofit organizations through this unprecedented time. 

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020 put an end to a decade of global economic recovery. Governments have stepped in to help stabilize things; in the United States alone, the monetary and fiscal stimulus stands at more than $6 trillion and counting. But we entered the COVID-19 crisis with global debt over 322 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)—that’s 40 percent, or $87 trillion, higher than at the onset of the 2008 financial crisis—and we’ll need to return to sustainable spending eventually.

Meanwhile, the full extent of the pandemic’s tragic human impact isn’t yet known, but we can already see dramatic implications, particularly for low-income communities. In the social sector, the public eye is mostly on the nonprofits that support emergency health response and offer services to the many populations that fall through the cracks of standard public services—including elderly people and minorities; people experiencing poverty, unemployment, or homelessness; and asylum-seekers.

Amid these economic, human, and institutional pressures, the need for philanthropy has increased, but it’s plain to see the crisis is shaking the sector.

Before devising ambitious plans for how to build a better philanthropic sector, it’s worth taking stock of the factors that influence it and identifying strategic opportunities to enhance its dynamism. A useful concept here is “philanthropic vitality,” or what makes the sector efficient, impact-focused, and trustworthy. Gauging the philanthropic sector in any given region by its vitality can help us identify what’s working and what’s not, and then create a strategy for achieving vitality.

Read the full article about philanthropic vitality by Maximilian Martin at Stanford Social Innovation Review.