RESET 2020 logo, free resources and advice to help the social sector
Free resources and advice to help the social sector



The RESET 2020 National Impact+Need Research Study has been a collective and collaborative effort to capture the impacts of COVID-19, with the baseline research report launched on Monday 10 August 2020.

Conducted over April and May 2020, the extensive sector study has found that 45% of respondents are carrying operating reserves of six months or less, 70% have either stood down or reduced volunteers’ hours, and 52% report that the uncertainty of the COVID19 situation is impacting their staff. This sits alongside 56% of organisations being unable to deliver their services in their usual manner, 47% reporting a decrease in demand for services and 35% reporting an increase, coupled with 64% reporting a loss of revenue since March 2020.

A total of 380 completed responses were received, representing 23 communities of interest ranging from housing to health, environment and rural communities. Participating organisations employed a total of 38,000 employees, with more than 170,000 volunteers. Some 68% of respondents employed 10 or less employees, with two thirds of respondents reported revenues of less than $250,000.

This report sets out the key findings from the research, capturing the impacts of COVID-19 and the changing needs for social sector organisations as the impacts of the virus became more apparent. Those impacts will continue to change, which is why we designed this study to be repeated over the coming year, so we can continue to track the evolving needs and determine what further support may be required.

Have your say on the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, and where you need support.

Following the baseline RESET 2020 National Impact+Need Research Study earlier this year, we are undertaking Phase 2 of the study and we need your input.

This second survey is possible thanks to the generous support of Equity Trustees Sector Capacity Building Fund, and is designed to measure the ongoing and evolving impacts of COVID-19 on the social sector.

What has changed for your organisation since May? What new needs have emerged? Have your say.

Just like the first study, the insights from the September Survey will be made widely available to funders and sector leaders. So, every voice counts and will influence the support available to help you reset and respond to the evolving impact of COVID-19.

The survey is open now to all social sector organisations and anyone who works, volunteers or supports the sector. The survey closes on October 25, 2020, with results released in November.


The following are a handful of tables from the RESET 2020 Research Study. If you would like to reference the data or use the graphics, please credit the ‘RESET 2020 National Impact+Need Research Study 2020’.

Please click on any of the images below to enlarge them.


The 38-page Research Study report covers measures across the direct impacts and the supports that organisations would find most valuable. A snapshot of these findings are below:


  • 64% have seen a loss of revenue since March 2020
  • 35% report a decline in general donations
  • Only 3% have experienced an increase in revenue
  • 45% are carrying operating reserves of six months or less


  • 56% respondents report an inability to delivery their services in the usual manner
  • 47% report a decrease in a demand for their services
  • 35% report an increase in a demand for their services


  • 28% of respondents have either stood down or reduced their employees’ hours of work
  • 29% reported no impact to their workforce so far
  • 22% report their staff are working more hours to manage the additional demand
  • 7% have lost employees due to illness, isolation or caring responsibilities
  • 5% are recruiting more employees


  • 70% of organisations have either stood volunteers down or reduced their hours
  • 17% have lost volunteers due to illness, isolation or caring responsibilities
  • Only 15% had experienced no impact to their volunteer capacity so far


  • 53% indicated that uncertainty and change was having the greatest overall impact
  • 28% reported that staff and volunteer mental health and wellbeing is being impacted


  • 33% report an impact by the loss of face-to-face contact
  • 24% report an impact by effects of social isolation
  • 20% report an impact from job loss or financial hardship
  • 18% increase in mental illness and anxiety


Below is a snapshot of some of the responses received.

“Help us to develop a program to assist our staff working remotely with their wellbeing and mental health ... particularly those whose job involves speaking to anxious people all day.”
Primary Focus: Education Sector (Revenue $1 – $5M)

“Our program has had to be halted for safety, and being an income-generating program, this has affected our projected income. Multiple fundraising events had to be cancelled or postponed, further reducing income.”
Primary Focus: Health (Revenue $250,000 - $1M)

“From a Philanthropy perspective - 40% of our income is generated through fundraising. It is estimated that COVID- 19 will mean a reduction of more than 40% as donations will be impacted by supporters’ (including major donors’) personal ability to give at this time”
Primary Focus: Disability (Revenue > $50M)

"Our main income source is tourism. We have endured two months of zero income as we had to close our gallery and our art trail. We will be lucky to have 10- 20% income while the borders are closed. If we are able to access the interstate market by the end of the year we may gain back up to 75% of our income, but that would be highly doubtful. We are struggling to cover our overheads. We are concerned about our future.“
Primary Focus: Tourism (Revenue < $250,000)

“We have a very vulnerable community and social isolation has affected them greatly with not being able to continue with their regular routine, or connect with family and friends.”
Primary Focus: Disability (Revenue $1 - $5M)

"The lock down provisions have brought our primary activities to a halt. We are a small organisation with a primary focus on bringing people together for public educational discussions, performances and related activities. We had a well planned series of events ... ready to be launched just as the pandemic arrived. We have not been able to progress as the entire program turns upon bringing people together ...”
Primary Focus: Arts & Culture (Revenue < $250,000)

“Our volunteers are unable to help/perform and we are losing them as a result”
Primary Focus: Rural/Regional/Remote (Revenue < $250,000)


All questions about the research report, or requests or media interview, can be directed to The Xfactor Collective at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.