And after? Creativity & Flexibility: non-profits’ assets to overcome challenges drawing from the pandemic.

2020 has been a very special year for the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation as well as for many other non-profit associations.

The pandemic is challenging our ability to transform our activities to be able to cope with the current regulations and develop and maintain socio-artistic projects.

Le Baromètre des Associations 2020 initiated by the King Baudouin Foundation probes the financial health and the situation of the non-profit sector in Belgium.

The study conducted by Ipsos reveals the financial and organisational difficulties non-profits operating in different sectors (i.e., social, health, cultural & leisure, cooperation & development, environment and animal healthcare) are facing today. With no surprise, most of the difficulties are the direct consequences of the pandemic.


Financial difficulties

As the Baromètre des Associations 2020 indicates, 49% of non-profits have experienced a financial decrease over the past 12 months and 95% affirm this decrease is due to the pandemic.

All of the sectors mentioned above have been financially impacted by the health crisis even if the cultural and leisure, and the cooperation and development sectors have experienced the most significant decline of their financial situation.


Although the public subsides remained stables and represent the most important part of non-profits’ total revenues (63%), donations from private foundations and individuals have reduced. The economic context drawing from the pandemic is without doubt the main responsible of those circumstances.


Despite all those negatives outcomes, 90% of non-profits managed to meet their payment obligations which can be explained by the reduction of activities and projects, partial unemployment and the use of financial reserves.


Organisational difficulties


Many non-profits have seen the number of their volunteers decrease over the past few months. Actually, 33% have seen this number diminish by half. Overall, the biggest non-profits are the most impacted by the decrease of the number of volunteers.

Nevertheless, no significant increase in terms of lay offs has been observed. As indicated by the survey only 15% of non-profits had to lay off staff in 2020 against 12% in 2018. The issue is more about the hiring rate since 3 out of 10 associations have declared having postponed their recruitment process.

Finally, collaborating with the board of directors has appeared to be a great source of support for many non-profits. Half of them affirmed to have increased their communication with the board of directors in 2020 benefiting from their financial expertise, management advices as well as a psychological support.


Creativity & Flexibility

Le Baromètre des Associations 2020 highlights some consequences of the Covid-19 crisis on the non-profit associations sector in Belgium.

Despite all difficulties drawing from the crisis, the study shows that non-profits associations are being flexible and creative to overcome challenges. Since march, 42% declared having changed their activities and implemented new objectives.

As an operator in the cultural sector, the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation still aims to maintain and create projects that promote its values and facilitate social inclusion and artistic creation. To better handle this exceptional situation and deal with current challenges, we are diversifying the type of projects we use to implement by mainly relying on the digitalisation of our activities.

Non-profit associations play a central role in our society in creating social bonds and ensuring social cohesion. The pandemic has threatened the financial stability for many of us. The number of donations has significantly reduced and smaller associations do not have access to public subsides. Also, it might be difficult for some of us to lead crowdfunding campaigns by lack of resources. However, every non-profit association deserve to be supported.

We believe it is important to remind that tax deduction on donations has been increased since the beginning of the pandemic in Belgium. This means that for every 40€ donation, donors would only pay 16€. The rest (24€) is tax deductible.

Solidarity towards non-profits is more than ever necessary to keep as much projects as possible on tracks because we, as a society, benefit from all activities implemented by non-profits associations.

The International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation stands together with all non-profit organisations in Belgium and across the world. Together we will continue to shape and improve our society during and after the crisis.