How can businesses support their NGO partners through the impact of COVID-19?

Join us for a live written discussion with a panel of experts to deepen understanding of the role of business in supporting its NGO partners through the impact of COVID-19

Live Panel

Thursday, 9 April, 9.00 am EDT / 2.00 pm BST [ADD TO CALENDAR]


  • Sinead Duffy, Head of NGO Engagement, Bayer
  • David Norman, Challenge Director, Business Fights Poverty
  • Josh Newton, Corporate Responsibility Advisor, Charities Aid Foundation
  • Maya Winkelstein, CEO, Open Road Alliance
  • Darian Stibbe, Executive Director, The Partnering Initiative
  • Nicole Lindsay, Chief Operating Officer, Sustainability & Center for Inclusive Growth, Mastercard
  • Sandrine Chetail, Global Director Agriculture Systems, Mercy Corps
  • Lisa Seymour-Doughty, Senior Manager for Corporate, Trusts and Foundation Partnerships, Mercy Corps
  • Claudia Codsi, Head of Private Sector Partnerships, Oxfam GB
  • Kate Woodhead, Associate Director, Standard Chartered
  • Neil Fleming, Director, The Challenges Group


Many NGOs are facing multiple threats from the Covid-19 crisis. They are responding to a complex set of operational and business continuity stresses arising from the pandemic and from the efforts to contain it. Their funding is exposed to stark new risks. The demands on many NGOs are increasing, just as their capacity to respond to those demands is being undermined at every level.

All these factors have consequences for NGO partnerships with companies, in rich countries and in those with lower incomes. In this discussion, we will explore what considerations businesses should be aware of and what actions they can take to support their NGO partners during these challenging times. We will also look ahead to the future beyond the crisis, examining whether actions now can have a beneficial impact for NGO-company partnerships in the longer term.

Our discussion will focus on these three questions:

  1. What are the particular challenges companies and NGOs are facing during the COVID-19 crisis to date - which is testing existing or potential partnerships with one another?

  2. What can companies and NGOs do in order to ensure strong partnerships during this crisis? In particular managing immediate impacts?

  3. What should companies and NGOs do to ensure their partnerships emerge from the crisis even stronger than before?


This is a text-based discussion. There will be no video or audio. Please post your comments below. After the live session, this discussion will remain open, so please do continue to share your insights. To receive a free summary of this discussion afterwards, register here

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We are really looking forward to kicking off the LIVE portion of this discussion in around 30 mins.

As with all our online discussions, we would love to hear comments, insights and questions from everyone. All you need to do is login (top right of this page) - you will need an approval email from us if this is your first time.

And then hit the ‘reply’ button to add your thoughts.

Zahid Torres-Rahman here, CEO of Business Fights Poverty. Really looking forward to this important discussion.

Hello to you all – I am Lisa Seymour-Doughty, Senior Manager for Corporate Partnerships at Mercy Corps Europe. Looking forward to the discussion today.

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yes I am happy to join

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Hi Katie! Greetings to everyone in the discussion. I’m Nicole Lindsay. I serve as the Chief Operating Officer of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and as part of that role, I manage operations of the Mastercard Impact Fund, which is our corporate foundation.

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Hi - I am Sandrine Chetail-Armour, joining from Mercy Corps. I am leading our global technical teams in agriculture systems, financial inclusion and markets. Happy to be joining you here today and looking forward to a great discussion.

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It’s a pleasure to introduce CAF and myself.

CAF is a charity, a bank and champion for better giving. We help companies, individuals and charitable organisations maximise their social impact and deliver positive value for society and the environment. Last year we helped our clients give over a £650 million to the charity sector. Right now we’re helping to coordinate the charity sector response to the pandemic with advocacy, research and funds.

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On me, I’m a social impact and innovation practitioner advising CAF’s large corporate clients on their CSR, community investment & giving strategies. I work across multiple sectors from pharma to FMGC, retail to insurance.

Hello, happy to be participating in this session!

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Hi all, I am a Director at The Challenges Group. We work across 5 African countries supporting SME development & youth employment. We are also a partner of Standard Chartered so keen for this discussion today

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Hi, Sinead Duffy from Bayer here. Nice to meet everyone.

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I just listened to your podcast with Katie, great work!

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Hi, Dan Browne from Hand in Hand International here, an NGO supporting women’s economic empowerment and micro/small business development across East Africa and Afghanistan. Pleasure to be joining.

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Thank you to everyone for joining today. For all, perhaps the first thing, if you haven’t already done so, please do introduce yourself.

We work in health and agriculture and I look after external engagement. Looking forward to the discussion!

Our first question today:

  1. What are the particular challenges companies and NGOs are facing during the COVID-19 crisis to date - which is testing existing or potential partnerships with one another?

Hello everyone. I am Lukas Wank from Global Responsibility - the Austrian national platform for development and humanitarian aid. Nice to meet you all and looking forward to an interesting discussion!

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Hello, this is David Norman and I’m a Challenge Director for Business Fights Poverty. In addition to this role, I’ve worked on both sides of business-NGO partnerships previously with SABMiller and before that with NGOs including Oxfam, Save the Children and WWF.

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Hello, I’m Maya Winkelstein, CEO of Open Road Alliance. We provide fast and flexible funding to help nonprofits and social enterprises working in any sector, or any nation, get through unforeseen roadblocks to funding.

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