On April 15th, Purppl launched a survey to understand the current state of social purpose organizations (SPOs) and how we, supporters of the social innovation movement, can move from response to recovery and emerge stronger. The survey focused on the short (3-6 months) to medium (6+ months) term needs anticipated by social purpose organizations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report summarizes the findings from the Rebuilding a Regenerative Economy – COVID Recovery Planning survey and tells what’s needed to sustain organizations and rebuild differently.




Social Purpose Organizations

The Federal Government and the Community Foundations of Canada define social purpose organizations as:

A charity, nonprofit, social enterprise, co-operative, or for-profit social enterprise. In all cases, a social purpose organization is advancing a social, cultural or environmental mission.


The Response Phase

It was mid-March when COVID-19 social distancing orders were first put into place causing mass disruption for individuals and organizations across Canada. Borders were closed, events cancelled, and the stock market plummeted.

A short time later, the BC Government deemed that essential services may stay open provided they follow the orders and guidance provided by the provincial health officer to ensure safe operations and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Essential services includes businesses and nonprofits that provide food, shelter, social and support services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise vulnerable individuals. We include this segment as social purpose organizations.

Essential service organizations had to quickly adapt to new regulations, technology, and teams while experiencing the same resourcing challenges felt across the sector around loss of volunteer staff, significant declines in corporate giving, and constraints on government grants.

Meanwhile, non-essential services closed their offices doors not knowing when they would reopen. Some organizations were able to pivot their operations to carry on remotely and others boarded up the windows and issued temporary layoffs to their staff.

For some organizations such as grocers and delivery services, the pandemic created insatiable demand for goods and services that tested the operating capabilities of small business owners and the supply chain. While others such as restaurants, clothing retailers and transportation services, experienced significant declines in demand and uncertainty for the future.

As we enter May, we’re seeing closed organizations begin to reopen and conversations change from response to recovery and rebuild.


Survey Participants

Survey Respondents - Purppl

All SPOs were invited to participate in the survey which asked respondents to identify their incorporation model and number of employees to enable Purppl to further segment the results. Nonprofit and For-Profit organizations with less than 5 staff are the largest audience represented by the survey. Unfortunately, we didn’t receive any submissions from Cooperatives so we’re not able to speak specifically to their current situation or emerging needs.



Key Findings

  • Organizations that have been significantly negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic need support to grow revenues and evolve products/services over the next 3-6 months.
  • Charitable organizations are most impacted by the pandemic and need urgent support to rethink or pivot. Cancelled events and reductions in government funding and corporate sponsorships have put charities at serious threat. Their survival relies on securing  alternative sources of funding.
  • Organizations with strategies…


Survey Results - Current Situation - Purppl


Support for Social Purpose Organizations


SPOs asked for Purppl’s help to bring community resources together to develop new funding streams and partnerships. Many identified the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to reinforce the value of social purpose organizations in strong communities and asked Purppl to be the unified voice and share their impact stories.

In direct response to the needs we’ve heard from survey respondents, Purppl has carefully crafted four resilience and impact building services for SPOs.

  1. Resilience & Recovery Program – customized coaching to build resilience in your revenue, operations, impact, and people.
  2. Peer Roundtables – facilitated round tables to learn with and from peers.
  3. Consulting & Facilitation – extend your team with consulting, facilitation, and interim operational services.
  4. Conversations That Matter – keynote speaking and learning sessions about conversation that matters.


Sustainable Recovery Grant

Additionally Purppl has launched a new initiative, led by United Way and in partnership with Interior Savings, Valley First, and the Community Foundations of the South and North Okanagan, to offer one-time grants to Purppl’s Resilience and Recovery Program for charitable organizations. More information is available at this link: https://purppl.com/new-covid19-grant-to-focus-on-sustainability-resilience-of-charities/

Contact Us

For questions about the information found in this report please contact Purppl

Contact Us