Donor Support During Covid 19 - what is the donor's role?

Donor Support During Covid 19 - what is the donor's role?

Life is difficult and uncertain right now. Covid-19 makes both life and work more challenging around the world, and that is no different for us at Children in Families (CIF). That being said, many organizations on the ground in Cambodia – including our staff at CIF – are showing considerable creativity and resilience in this time. They are continuing to persevere in supporting their clients, as well as balancing health, safety, and child protection in the midst of this crisis.

But what about the next layer of support? Where do the resources and money come from?

CIF is privileged to have some incredibly supportive donors. We spoke to them about the ways they continue to support organizations through the Covid-19 crisis, and how they view their role during this trying year.

We talked to two of our donors – Dan Lauer, the Lead for GHR’s Children in Families program, and Martial Paris, WISE Philanthropy Advisor. We wanted to know specifically how they continue to support organizations during Covid-19 and what advice they have for others to do the same.

The biggest takeaway from our conversation? The importance of flexibility during these unpredictable and uncertain times. Read our conversation below.

CIF staff packing essential hygiene for their home visits.

Both Dan and Martial reflected on how every organization they partner with has been affected in some way. Yet despite these circumstances, Martial said “the reaction is excellent… we have seen an incredible capacity of our partners to change their models.”

Dan seconded that saying, “In these extraordinary circumstances, the effects of which will be long lasting, we are inspired by the abundance of creativity and love we have seen around us in response. Our partners are taking action in a variety of ways, making the necessary, if difficult, adjustments to their work while continuing to support the communities they serve.”


What is the most important thing for them right now? Being supportive in their role – whatever that may look like from time to time. 

Dan mentioned that “alongside our partners around the world, GHR Foundation is reimagining what’s possible as we together absorb, adapt to and transform within this immense shock to our lives and work.”

He added to that saying that “in these unprecedented and uncertain times, GHR is centering on the needs of our partners. We are currently responding to the immediate needs of our partners, both local and global, while anticipating and planning for longer-term needs.”

Support goes both ways. It is not just the donor’s role to support but also the implementing partner’s role (ex. CIF). Communication is key in understanding what is needed and how that can be met.

Both Dan and Martial affirmed that both partners can work together to achieve their goal. Dan mentioned the word “solidarity” which means to be unified towards a common goal or belief. He said solidarity “has always been the driver of our work and, as a globally-focused foundation, our community… Our staff is working closely with our partners to mobilize resources towards marginalized communities, who are disproportionately affected by the crisis in all its forms.”

Solidarity Partnering.

If support goes both ways, then accountability does as well. That means it is acceptable for the donor to check in to see what is being done, and vise versa. With accountability needs to come a layer of flexibility.

As Dan said, “In learning what it truly means to partner boldly, GHR is enabling additional flexibility in our grant-making while expanding our COVID-19 response outside of our current grants, to ensure we are effectively addressing the widespread impacts of the disease.”

One of the families working with CIF, practicing proper hygiene.

Partners are doing what they can. But, some existing work might be delayed or canceled altogether; and there are a host of new needs that no one expected six months ago, which donors can really support organizations to meet by being flexible and responsive.


Martial said that “our role is to facilitate the work of our partners in the field and to advise our donors on the best way to do so. Flexibility and predictability are the keywords for us. Flexibility in the use of the funds. And, predictability because we strongly believe that in these times of uncertainty, the role of the donor is to re-insure the grantees on its long term commitment.”

Lastly, in regards to any immediate Covid-19 support, Martial mentioned that “We set up a rapid response fund for NGO’s facing financial challenges with the support of the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation and other donors. It can be used for staff salaries, COVID 19 prevention and providing assistance to vulnerable people.”

This is something anyone can plan for within their own lives and budgets – support for an immediate crisis whenever it rises.

Thank you to WISE and GHR for being willing to answer our questions. Also thank you to our flexible and supportive donors for being understanding, especially during this time! We are beyond grateful for the support.

You can check out the work they are doing here: 

Donor Support During Covid 19 - what is the donor's role?