It is heartening to see the amazing work being done by non-profits and charities who are stepping up across the Island to ensure our most vulnerable are being taken care of. Our sector plays a critical role in keeping our communities healthy and strong.
This new reality is extremely challenging, especially for those who are working on the front lines, while facing drastic cuts in resources at a time when demands are rising significantly. You have likely heard it before – but be gentle on yourself as you lead and navigate through these new challenges and uncharted waters. It is okay to be upset, frustrated, and overwhelmed at times.
This pandemic is highlighting the importance of our sector and the work we do. It is also highlighting and exasperating many of the challenges and inefficiencies we have long struggled with in regards to funding and sustainability. I want to thank you all for your efforts, and please reach out if you believe United Way can support you or your organizations.
– Andrea MacDonald, CEO United Way of PEI
1. FUNDING AND SUPPORT
Atlantic Compassion Fund Update
Now more than ever, we need to pull together to support those who need it most. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Atlantic Compassion Fund is helping us do just that. The Atlantic Compassion Fund is here to provide financial support to local registered charities across PEI to help them respond to the immediate and emerging needs of vulnerable populations their local communities.
The fund consists of two tiers – Emergency Community Support Fund and Compassion Fund for Charities. The first tier is aimed at ensuring that the needs of vulnerable Islanders resulting from the COVID-19 crisis are being addressed. We are working closely with other key stakeholders to identify the needs as the landscape continues to change and the Tier 2 funding model that will focus on how we support the essential services of the community sector throughout the crisis. See below how the funds have helped Islanders so far:
For further information, please contact United Way of PEI at 902-894-8202 or 1-877-902-4438 or email [email protected].
In-Kind Furniture Donations from Atlantic Business Interiors
When Tom Rose, President of Atlantic Business Interiors made the founding $100,000 donation to kick-start the Atlantic Compassion Fund, he also pledged to donate $100,000 in office furniture to non-profit organizations in Atlantic Canada whose working conditions have been directly impacted by COVID-19.
During these unprecedented times, many non-profit and charitable organizations are making changes to how and where they work. Offices are being set up at home or in other settings which allow for social and physical distancing and other health-first practices designed to “flatten the curve” and minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Federal and Provincial Programs:
We continue to work hard to keep you updated on the latest news and government announcements related to the non-profit sector and COVID-19. There are many programs rolling out for employers and employees.
Here is a helpful link from Resolve HR to support non-profits as we all work to navigate eligibility for funds: https://resolvehr.ca/resources/pandemic-hr-faqs/
We encourage Island non-profits to check the following resource pages on a regular basis for crucial Federal and Provincial updates:
2. 211 PEI
As a signature service of the United Way of Prince Edward Island, 211 is all about helping Islanders, and the service providers who are supporting Islanders, get connected to the services they need to not only survive, but thrive.
211 PEI (website, contact center, email and text) – where your search starts when you don’t know where to turn!
Visit the 211 PEI at https://pe.211.ca
3. HELPING YOUR STAFF DURING COVID-19
In the wake of recent and unprecedented events, many Canadian non-profit offices are closing their doors to the public and are shifting the majority of staff (if not all) to remote-work. This can present many challenges for workplaces, from mental health related issues to productivity levels in a time of change.
The United Way is also experiencing these changes and challenges first hand and is hopeful this short list of helpful tips will help you continue to engage with staff, keep them healthy both mentally and physically, while encouraging a high level of staff productivity during crisis.
Here are our top tips for helping your staff manage during this difficult time:
Check-in on Colleagues
One of the hardest parts of working remotely, particularly for those who are used to an office or group-work setting, is feeling a lack of connection. Non-profits on PEI are often used to an “all-hands-on-deck”, “everyone-in-this-together” collaborative type of working environment. These difficult times are changing and challenging these working environments, which is why it is so important to keep some level of familiarity and normality alive for staff. Don’t be scared to pick up the phone to call a colleague during the day for support, advice, information, or even just to check-in. Can you imagine a day in the office without popping-by to check on at least one colleague, whether it be around a piece of work, or just to see if they’d like a coffee?!
Plan a Weekly Group Video Call
Disconnect happens in any organization when there is a lack of communication. During this crisis, as an employee it can be increasingly difficult to understand your role and how it fits in with colleagues, your board of directors, clients, organization’s mission, etc. We recommend a minimum of a once-weekly group video call so that staff can see each other, connect with each
other, discuss current projects/work, ask for help as needed, and share feedback and resources for each other and/or clients.
There are many online tools and applications available for a group meeting, including:
- Google Hangouts
Be Open, Honest and Transparent
As an organization, you have the ability to help your staff understand and navigate the ever-evolving and complex current health pandemic. Many staff are concerned. Concerned about their clients, about their own personal safety, finances, and in some cases their future with the company they work and care for.
Honesty and transparency through regular and current updates, although difficult, is key during this time to helping staff through this. Share the challenges your organization is facing, and help staff understand their role in counter-acting these challenges. Together, we can all make it through this!
Share Good News Stories Where and When Possible
Have you received some good news stories from your organization/clients? Share these with staff! These are a great reminder of why we all continue to do the work we do, day-after-day, despite these challenges we all are facing.
Encourage Short Breaks
It may feel counter-intuitive, but fresh air and exercise go a long way when it comes to productivity and motivation for a successful work day! Get outside, stretch your legs/move your
body, breathe in deeply; this all works wonders for the mind, body and soul! Take short 15-20 minute breaks ~twice a day.
Share the Load
Need help, feeling overwhelmed, or confused by a work project? Reach out and ask for support from colleagues! This is the time to lean on each other and share the load. Don’t be scared to ask for clarification or direction while working on a project or attempting to help a client from home – we are all in this together!
Still Struggling to Adjust? Here are a few helpful tips for “Working from Home”:
Feeling Blue Working from Home? Here are Some Mental Health Resources & Tips for Coping:
- Helpful videos from Resolve HR:
4. HELPING YOUR NON-PROFIT DURING COVID-19
Non-profits across the Island are adapting rapidly to the current COVID-19 health pandemic; the situation is evolving daily with increased impact on each of our organizations.
Now, perhaps more than ever before, it is crucial that we continue to work together as a sector by sharing information, resources and advice.
As the situation evolves, The United Way of PEI is committed to sharing new information and resources through this e-newsletter, and on our various social media accounts.
Here are a few helpful resources we have gathered that we hope your organization will find useful to continue not only operating, bit serving our province’s most vulnerable, during this time of uncertainty:
- “COVID-19: Resources for Canadian Fundraisers”, Compiled by Imagine Canada: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CVZuvNSdEU-fssYjxEzaMCdflaQobr7Q3g3bOAVEPlo/edit
- “Federal Government COVID-19 Measures – Implications for Sector Organizations”: https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vQbkT4Zr5isIGl6EAluwm0-eO8-Y7xP8KNVMXasavT4DlolL8QIdcrxPKMt_4p_LApkYCpdcSvriJps/pub
- “The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy”: www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/04/the-canada-emergency-wage-subsidy.html
- “Running a Non-profit Virtually During a Pandemic” (Recorded COVID-19 Webinar by Imagine Canada & ONN): https://register.gotowebinar.com/recording/3678792589679015948