SPCA - Creating a plan for recovery during COVID-19

SPCA logo

The pandemic impacted every industry, but it’s been particularly devastating for some not-for-profits – particularly those who rely on charity shops for their funding.

Julia Wiegandt-Goude is the GM for People, Culture and Safety at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in New Zealand. We talked to her about how she used our free Road to Recovery survey set to get a huge amount of insight to deal with the crisis.

We felt we were doing a good job, and we're hearing anecdotally that people felt fairly well informed. But, we wanted to hear from the wider company, especially those people who were stood down at home.

Julia Wiegandt-Goude

GM for People, Culture and Safety

The challenge: shop closures, remote working, and essential services

  • The essential services they provide had to continue
  • All of their charity shops had to close due to restrictions
  • Support services staff had to adapt to remote work

SPCA had a difficult situation to deal with. Parts of their business are essential services – the SPCA Centres and the Inspectorate – which meant ensuring business continuity. However, their charity shops were closed, and all employees working in support services had to work from home, including their fundraising teams.

They hit the ground running by quickly devising policies and procedures on how to operate, but needed to check in on their people to make sure the right actions were taken.

The solution: our ‘Road to Recovery’ surveys

  • Our ‘Road to Recovery’ surveys, to inform their response to the crisis
  • A ready-to-send survey, complete with suggested communications

Julia saw our offer and thought it was a very clear and easy-to-use framework. During the worst of the pandemic, we offered this survey set for free – to give organisations the support they needed. The free price tag sealed the deal – because every penny counts for charities!

We were hoping to hear from all parts of our organisation and understand how we were doing. But also, we wanted to know where we could improve.

Julia Wiegandt-Goude

GM for People, Culture and Safety

The results: confirmation of a strong response to the crisis

  • A high score of 89% for their crisis response
  • 86+% score for all key areas examined
  • Open-text responses gave further insight

SPCA confirmed they’d handled the crisis well, with high scores in all key areas – 86% and above. But it was also a chance to get ideas for next steps and how to be even better.

We were thrilled to have achieved such excellent results, with an overall score of 89% responsiveness! But we also knew we could do more, so we shared the results with the Senior Leadership Team, agreed actions, communicated the results to our whole organisation and are now working through delivering on those actions.

Julia Wiegandt-Goude

GM for People, Culture and Safety

The next steps: creation of a checklist of next steps

The feedback they were able to get was extensive, covering a huge range of topics that essentially gave SPCA a great check-list of what to do:

  • Requests for more leadership updates and particularly communication about post-Covid plans for the organisation
  • When and how they might return to the office, with specific resources for wellbeing
  • Guidelines for each specific department – inspectorate, op shops and volunteers
  • How to communicate with the public under each of the New Zealand government’s alert levels
  • Info on how to treat people with potential Covid-19
  • More virtual meetings to counter the loneliness of working at home, including arranging time to catch up with team mates without talking about work
  • Requests for support about dealing with stress, anxiety and increased workloads
  • A way to escalate issues if a line manager or supervisor isn’t forthcoming with information or not being supportive
  • Lastly a great suggestion of making people aware of the added stress everyone is under, reminding people to be conscious of it in their everyday dealings with each other


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