The COVID 19 pandemic of 2020 represented an unprecedented year for nonprofits who faced increased demand, stretched resources, and uncertainty regarding funding. This dramatic shift occurred amidst a culture where nonprofits were often seen as weak, disorganized, and duplicative in service, and where they often felt in competition with one another to prove their value and in soliciting funding. As the pandemic reached Bermuda there was quick recognition that nonprofit essential services were needed to play a significant role in the national response to the crisis. The Third Sector Coordinated Crisis Response Effort (CCRE) formed to help coordinate and drive this response. The history of the Third Sector CCRE is captured separately in a close out report of the collective effort (Confronting the Crisis, 2020, Bermuda Community Foundation).

One of the culminating projects of the Third Sector CCRE was a survey and presentation on the impact of the early stages of the pandemic on nonprofits. During these presentations, nonprofit professionals shared and ranked in order of priority, ideas for nonprofit collective work. It was clear that the pandemic provided a timely opportunity for nonprofits do things differently, and for many nonprofit leaders, it created a renewed commitment to collaboration. Driven by the non-profit leaders that comprised the Third Sector CCRE, and joined by 11 other nonprofit leaders who accepted the invitation to meet and participate, in July 2020 the Nonprofit Alliance of Bermuda collaborative was born, and started work on a collective campaign to own the narrative of nonprofits and substantially advance the understanding of donors, the government, and other stakeholders about the value and impact of non-profits. A sub group formed to drive this work: The Awareness Campaign Working Group.

To support the guidance and structure of the Nonprofit Alliance, an Advisory Committee formed comprising nonprofit leaders of the former CCRE.  The group met to coordinate agendas for broader quarterly group convenings to discuss topics of mutual interest to nonprofit leaders. Subsequently, a second working group formed to convene organisations providing food aid and food services: the Food Security Working Group.  Between 2021 and 2023, both the Awareness Campaign, the Food Security Working Group and the Advisory Committee met regularly to pursue aligned agendas.

In 2023, the Nonprofit Alliance’s backbone organisation IAC, through its strategic planning consultative process, heard and recognized the opportunity for IAC and the Nonprofit Alliance group to establish greater alignment and synergy. The Nonprofit Alliance Advisory Committee was supportive, and after IAC’s membership also approved the change, IAC transitioned to become the Nonprofit Alliance of Bermuda. This meant that the convening efforts of the broader group merged with the regular programme delivery efforts of the new organisation. The Food Security Working Group continues to operate as a collaborative group supported by the Nonprofit Alliance, while the ongoing promotion of the collective impact awareness campaign will now fall under the Nonprofit Alliance’s championing activities.