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Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the social infrastructure in Austria. The situation of social organizations.

The COVID-19 pandemic is also a major challenge for nonprofit organizations and social enterprises, which has an impact on different levels.

On behalf of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection (BMSGPK), the Competence Center for Nonprofit Organizations and Social Entrepreneurship carried out a study to generate a comprehensive picture of the pandemics’ effects on the Austrian social sector.

Based on a mixed-method design, the experiences of nonprofit organizations and social enterprises in the following areas were collected: care, housing and homelessness, children and young people, people with disabilities and those affected by violence.

Financial effects and personnel challenges caused by the pandemic, among other things, were reported across all fields of activity. For example, an increase in costs and increased administrative effort in order to be able to maintain the range of services for the target groups were described. In addition, in many areas, such as in the field of housing and the work with children and adolescents, the demand of the target groups increased due to the pandemic, while at the same time the offers had to be restricted  - again due to the pandemic.

Accordingly, organizations had to partially reduce their services (e.g. mobile offers). At the same time, however, new offers were developed (such as digital or telephone advice). The associated digitization push was perceived as positive by the organizations surveyed.

The respondents named future financing as the greatest uncertainty factor for the coming months, which is particularly related to the organizations' low liquidity reserves. In addition, the organizations expressed support with regard to testing and protective equipment as well as with the necessary digitization of offers as desirable.

Click here to download the study (in German)

Dr.rer.soc.oec. Reinhard Millner

Reinhard Millner

Division Manager, Senior Researcher
Responsibilities: Co-founder of the Social Entrepreneurship Center. Research and Teaching Subjects: Foundations, Social Entrepreneurship, Social Return on Investment, Corporate Social Responsibility, Cooperation between NPOs, Market Economy and Public Sector