“Our mission is to channel worry and anxiety about the future into collective action, to support Ukrainians and to prepare our organisations”
The situation in Ukraine is devastating and urgent. Civil society organizations are on the front lines of this war – in Ukraine, in neighboring countries supporting refugees, and in countries around the world lobbying governments and raising funds. We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and with all those who oppose the war in Russia and Belarus. This war is not in their name.
Before joining the NCVO, I worked with young activists and organizations in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. They were fierce, determined and full of hope. But if Ukraine falls and a new government is installed, we know what the Russian government has planned. Civil society leaders, journalists and minority groups, especially the LGBTQ+ community, will be attacked, imprisoned and injured. This will mean huge repression inside Ukraine and a large number of fleeing refugees.
What can we do to support Ukraine?
Many organizations are considering how best to support Ukrainians and the BBC has produce a guide. Financial and political support could not be more critical.
Some of the options listed here are not organizations that we can verify. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider them – they’re probably local, on the ground, and able to use the money right away.
Whatever action you take, do it now. The situation could change very quickly and our future ability to provide support to those inside Ukraine could become limited.
What could be the impact of the war on charities in the UK?
- Costs will increase: We have written about the economic challenges faced by charities in the On the way to 2022, including higher taxes, higher energy bills and reduced public donations. As the economy deteriorates, the demand for charitable support will increase. Things will get worse with the war, and we have already seen gasoline and crude oil rise, and the price of gas quadruple. Economic sanctions are fair, but there will be consequences to this solidarity for communities in the UK.
- Be cyber-prepared and resilient: Cyberattacks are part of modern warfare and our way of life, especially the way we run organizations, is vulnerable to malicious disruption. Join our free webinar March 16 on Cybersecurity and Resilience and check out our Online resources.
- Check your disaster recovery plans: It is a plan for how your organization would respond in the event of a disaster, such as a fire, terrorist act, or computer failure. This is to minimize disruption. Consider how you would contact people if email and messaging providers went down, you couldn’t get into your building, or a critical number of staff and volunteers weren’t available. Watch our short video on what to consider.
- Staff and volunteers: The distress, worry and emotional toll of those whose family, friends and colleagues are immediately affected by war will be considerable. Their well-being must be a priority. The mind has shared a thread with advice on how to support mental well-being during this difficult time. coalitions, such as Emergency partnershipare already beginning to prepare for a future impact, such as a wave of Ukrainian refugees, which will require a huge commitment from volunteers and charities.
strength of civil society
The NCVO was founded in the horrors of war. Our founder, Captain Edward Birchall, died of wounds sustained in the Battle of the Somme. During World War II, we built village halls across the country, organized evacuations of children from cities and concentration camps, and launched the “Make Do and Med” campaign. To help people get advice and address concerns about older people, our projects were the precursors to Citizens Advice and Age Concern.
I list them as a reminder of where we can draw power from. War is incredible suffering. Whether in Ukraine, Syria or Afghanistan, we must draw hope and strength from the role of civil society in helping and demonstrating our humanity.
Our intention is not to be alarmist. But there are threats the world hasn’t heard in 40 years – a time when most of our team wasn’t even born. Although the threats are not prophecies, we cannot assume that they are meaningless.
In such overwhelming times, it’s easy to feel helpless. Our mission now is to channel worry and anxiety about the future into collective action, to support Ukrainians and to prepare our organisations.
Alex Farrow is Head of Networks and Influence for NCVO (The National Council for Voluntary Organisations). This piece originally appeared on the NCVO website.
For more information on safe donation, here some tips from the OSCR website
Find out more from TFN about the work being done across Scotland and beyond to support those on the ground in Ukraine