The World is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. With millions losing their life, livelihood, and loved ones, on one hand, charities have seen a high increase in demand, but on the other hand, are faced by a decrease in funding creates a gap that is only to get wider. This article highlights how an App is changing the landscape of volunteering to bridge this gap and bring relief to people in distress.

In these difficult times, it is clear that COVID-19 is unfolding a humanitarian crisis that will affect everyone, everywhere. People are losing their jobs, source of income, and loved ones to the pandemic. And that applies almost to every sector from education, health, design, manufacturing to freelancing and charity. On the other hand, charities and volunteers have seen a whopping 75% increase in demand for their services. However, that increase lacks funding as no events can be held, no marathons or any sort of that activity when this is the time where communities need charities the most. 

The institute of fundraising in the United Kingdom surveyed overseas charities under 1 million pound income, and findings are heavily significant, such as (as of 6th of June 2020):

  • 72% increased demand for their services. 
  • 57% had to postpone programmes/projects. 
  • 64% have found new ways to deliver services. 
  • Just 11% have been able to continue their work overseas as normal. 

Pro Bono Economics, a company that helps charities and social enterprises understand and improve the impact and value of their work, matching professional economists who want to use their skills to volunteer with charities. Set up in 2009, Pro Bono Economics has helped over 500 charities large and small, covering a wide range of issues including mental health, education, employment, and poverty. Pro Bono Economics conduct a weekly tracker to measure COVID-19 effect on charities, reported interesting findings:

  • 90% said they expected Covid-19 to have a negative impact on their ability to meet their charity objectives over the next six months, with nearly half (47%) saying they expected it to be a “large” negative. 
  • 95% said they expected Covid-19 to reduce their income over the coming six months relative to previous plans. 40% said they expected a reduction of up to 25%; 27% thought their income would be 25% to 50% lower; 18% thought the drop would be 50% to 75%, and 10% said they expected income to be down on previous plans by more than 75%.
  • 64% said they’d reduced their activity in a “significant” way.
  • When asked to rate the sufficiency of the government’s financial support for civil society in the face of Covid-19 (where 1 = entirely insufficient and 10 = entirely sufficient), the average score across all respondents was 4.4. 71% scored the response at five or below, with 43% scoring it 1-3 and 8% scoring it 8-10.
  • One-in-ten said they thought it was “likely” that the financial challenge associated with Covid-19 would cause their organisation to stop operating altogether in six months’ time.

This high increase in demand, faced by a decrease in funding creates a gap that is only to get wider. 

The 1% Magic

Locally, here in the kingdom of Bahrain, alongside the government’s outstanding programs of support on all levels, individuals have been active as well. The case of online schooling demands items that not all families can afford, such as internet connections, laptops, comfortable desks and chairs, and so on. There are some efforts to help provide those families on Instagram by some popular accounts. Although the needs are not always adequately verified in this way, education cannot wait for bureaucracy and a long process of verifications.

Imagine how small the ratio 1% is, and how much we need charity that is accessible with a fingertip? On a larger scale, and with aid of technology, a non-profit app is excelling with this simple concept.

One% is an online social innovation networking App that encourages people to volunteer 1% of their time to positively impact the community, whether through an environment, economical or educational initiatives. 

All you have to do is sign up and can either join an event or even initiate one. One% started working one day with CleanUp Bahrain on the 21st of September 2019, when they managed to collect over 10,273 kg of waste from 12 beaches all around the country. 1% of each person’s time collectively managed to do that. Such a small ratio, collectively, achieved a big number in one day.

Today, you can join an event, participate, and help make small changes with 1% of your time, which is a total of 3 days and a half. That’s it. Drawing from encouraging people to donate these 3.5 days out of 365 making the impression that it is very little and doable, on the other hand, the collective impact of participants is amazing. 

These times are difficult, but they’re also a window of opportunities, new problems requiring new solutions, and after 12 years from today, this will be the past and only solutions will remain.

 About the Author

Sana Sitrawi is a Bahraini designer with a focus on branding and UX/UI. 

She works as a design director with a premier consulting firm in the Kingdom of Bahrain.