We presented study of civil society sector

The research on civil society organisations (CSOs) in the context of war was presented in Kyiv on October 31. It was performed by 4Service LLC at the request of East Europe Foundation as part of the Phoenix Project funded by the European Union.

The purpose of the survey was to assess the needs and problems of CSOs as well as their role and place in the process of rebuilding the country. The research is based on a combined approach that relies on quantitative and qualitative methods. A total of 621 representatives of civil society organisations and charities were interviewed. The field stage took place in July 2023.

The findings highlight primarily changes in the operation, problems and needs of organisations, project activities, and organisational capacity in the second year of the full-scale war.

“The EU supports Ukraine, including active civil society, through various assistance and collaboration mechanisms. The awareness of what Ukrainian CSOs are currently doing, what difficulties and challenges they face in the second year of the full-scale invasion is essential for support programmes and response to the current situation,” says Julia Jacoby, Sector Manager for Civil Society with the EU Delegation in Ukraine.

According to the findings, the majority of those surveyed — 70% of respondents and 91% of civil society organisations — had not relocated because of the invasion. Furthermore, 79% of organisations did not change their activity because of the war, while 19% indicated that they had adapted to the new environment, including through changes to the avenues of their activity.

As expected, among the surveyed organisations that have relocated, the highest percentage is held by the northern and eastern regions — 35% and 24%, respectively. Displaced organisations from Ukraine’s east are more likely than other respondents to have changed their avenue of activity.

“The findings show that most of the surveyed organisations have not changed their activities, but I am sure they have found additional work in new areas. The top fields indicated by CSOs as their principal avenues of activity so far include humanitarian projects, volunteering, along with cultural and educational projects. We at the Foundation stay focused on our strategic goals of developing e-governance and supporting the civil sector, but we have also added a multitude of new programmes in the civilian security and humanitarian fields. As active representatives of Ukrainian civil society, we must do our best to support Ukraine now and, in the future,” says Victor Liakh, President of East Europe Foundation.

In terms of the distribution of responses by organisations’ geography, the eastern region has a higher rate of humanitarian aid activity (54%) against other regions. In the western region, there is a noticeable shift towards social services (36%) and volunteering (37%).

As regards project work, 25% of organisations indicated their failure to implement even a single project since the large-scale invasion. 52% of organisations have 20 or fewer projects. Some organisations have more than 20 projects. 20% refused to answer.

Furthermore, only 17% of organisations received international assistance after 24 February 2022. 83% indicated that they had not received such funding. Statistically significant differences, as compared to all respondents, were found in the answers to this question from the relocated respondents: 29% of relocated organisations received international technical assistance grants. Besides, such grants would be more often received by those organisations that changed their avenues of activity — 36% vs. 17% of all those surveyed.

The available grant funds were mainly used to support vulnerable groups, integrate internally displaced persons, increase social cohesion, hold training programmes, and raise awareness of various groups of citizens.

“The survey showed that only about a fifth of organisations had received funding from international donors. Also, only a fifth of respondents said that they had adapted their activities since the beginning of the great war. Difficulties with funding, key specialists, and emotional burnout — all these are among the acute problems facing organisations. The civil sector thus needs more support, while developing skills in fundraising, effective organisation management, and project implementation,” comments Anna Padalka, Head of Sociological Unit at 4Service agency.

The researchers note that it is necessary to continue monitoring and studying the status and changes in the needs and problems of CSOs.

The most frequently cited problems include the need for funding, including administrative expenses, weak physical infrastructure, emotional burnout, lack of human resources, and insufficient cooperation with local authorities.

The lack of funds is felt most by organisations established in 2022–2023 (74% compared to 63% of all respondents), and least — by those that have been operating since 2001. By contrast, representatives of organisations established between 2012 and 2021 indicated higher levels of emotional burnout. Emotional burnout is also more inherent in organisations that are currently relocated.

The majority of organisations have a shortage of specialised professional positions. For example, 85% of respondents noted that their organisation did not have a fundraiser; 81% lacked procurement specialists; 83% — monitoring and evaluation specialists; 70% of organisations lacked a communication expert.

CSOs also indicated the most relevant training topics, putting project writing, building relationships with the public, businesses, and government, gaining knowledge about organisation management, language learning, and fundraising at the top of the list.

Among other things, 90% of those surveyed intend to join the process of rebuilding the country or their community.

For additional information, please contact East Europe Foundation team via email


The European Union supports Ukraine in the face of the unprovoked and unjustified full-scale Russian invasion. To date, EUR 2 billion has been allocated to support Ukraine’s defence through the European Peace Facility. Support is available through repurposing of ongoing projects worth a total of about EUR 140 million. Over EUR 130 million has recently been disbursed as budget support. This immediate response will be continued through the mobilisation of an additional EUR 330 million.

Over 30 000 tonnes of in-kind assistance has been provided by all EU Member States and other partners through the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. EUR 9.1 billion was raised at the ‘Stand Up for Ukraine’ global pledging event for humanitarian aid, support to refugees, internally displaced persons and recovery. Another EUR 6.1 billion was raised at the International Donor Conference on 5 May 2022 in Warsaw.

The EU also supports Ukraine with emergency Macro-Financial Assistance, amounting to EUR 1.2 billion.