GERMANY: Civil society needs state support in time of Corona crisis – Call for action

Article originally published on Phineo in German – accessible here

Call upon the Federal Government: We demand state support for all, without exception!

The Corona Crisis intervenes in the lives of every single person and every family in our country. In the long term, it will leave deep scars in our society.
Whether social services, support for disadvantaged children, neighbourhood assistance, facilities for the homeless or pastoral care for the elderly: Now more than ever, the stabilising role of civil society is needed for social cohesion in our country.
We welcome the support of social services and institutions through the aid package adopted by the Federal Government. However, the Corona crisis has threatened the economic existence of all civil society organisations and projects because:

  • Project funds usually do not make it possible to build up financial reserves,
  • Donations and subsidies from companies and foundations are at risk of falling away,
  • project funding is often linked to project results that cannot be achieved in the current situation,
  • Benefit concerts, charity runs and other fundraising events are no longer held and loss of income cannot be compensated
  • no income from non-profit commercial operations.

We therefore call for the expansion of government support programs for the entire non-profit sector, including civil society organizations that depend on private donations, grants or commercial income.
What will be needed:

  • short-term financial aid to compensate for corona-related revenue shortfalls,
  • flexible adjustments with regard to project duration, personnel costs and project funds for existing grant agreements,
  • unbureaucratic and uncomplicated reallocation of project funds, e.g. when converting events to digital offers
  • the possibility of temporary amendments to the Articles of Association in order to be able to carry out activities in the immediate fight against the Corona crisis,
  • the waiver of recourse claims in the event of corona-related event cancellations,
  • core funding for the development of sustainable infrastructures, such as the building up of financial reserves or own digitisation structures.

In Germany, approximately 100 billion euros flow into the non-profit sector every year. Every tenth employee subject to social insurance contributions is employed by a civil society organisation. This means that the economic power of civil society is comparable to the entire construction industry in our country.
But the strength of civil society is not only shown by its size. Civil society organisations and projects make an indispensable contribution to a functioning public life, especially in crisis situations. At the same time, employees are exposed to enormous individual workloads. Those who are so urgently needed in the middle of society must not be forgotten.
Coping with the current and long-term effects of the Corona crisis requires the strength of the entire civil society. We therefore demand state support, financial aid and adapted funding guidelines for the entire non-profit sector, without exception!