While the first and second waves we experienced in 2020 brought their share of ups and downs, that instability is quietly being replaced by hope for a gradual move to a new normal.

Although we would like to return to our former activities as soon as possible, likely we will need to be patient for a few more months.

Our charitable organizations have had to face one of the most demanding crises in their history, from a health standpoint and from a financial standpoint. Some of these organizations will not survive, and others will pull through, but every one of them will be transformed by the COVID‑19 pandemic.

In the philanthropic sector, the pandemic has forced us to reinvent who we are and to demonstrate resilience. The organizations that survive will have learned to cut their losses and will emerge even better equipped to take advantage of the rebound we anticipate in the second half of 2021. Technology has shown that we can hold many benefit activities on virtual platforms and solicit millions of contribution dollars by videoconferencing.

In human resources management, the pandemic has taught most of us that we can continue to operate at a distance, relying on productivity that is just as high as working together in person. In just a few months, greater flexibility in human resources management practices surged from being a ten‑year trend to becoming a done deal. Some people who tried teleworking and loved it; others found that it brought challenges to their mental health. Working from home has its limits, and people do need opportunities to meet and interact in person.

BNP Philanthropic Performance is doing all it can to accompany the philanthropic sector in moving through this situation and out the other side. We want charitable organizations to be well-positioned to take advantage of economic recovery. Our team’s empowering, relevant initiatives include the following:

  • topical briefing notes;
  • Internet seminars on various subjects;
  • “Résilience” surveys on the repercussions of the pandemic on charitable organizations and donors’ reactions; and
  • free consultations.

Last fall, we received a heartening testimonial. Three years previously, we had helped a client in the religious sector modernize its fundraising approach by purchasing a fundraising software application, developing its data base, setting up an online donation platform, and implementing proven fundraising strategies. Although its churches were closing, the organization was able to contact donors directly, renew their contributions, and offer them online celebrations. The upshot: in 2020, its level of financial support was practically undiminished, while many similar organizations watched donor income dwindle.

This kind of testimonial encourages us to stay focused and to pursue our mission of serving the philanthropic sector. At BNP Philanthropic Performance, in 2020 we wanted to demonstrate resilience; for 2021, we’re riding a wave of hope for a solid recovery.

Christian Bolduc
President and CEO, BNP Philanthropic Performance and BNP GOLDIE Canada