The road to recovery for charities in 2021/22
The Budget in March was a disappointment for many in the charity sector.
Despite the huge role that civil society is expected to play in rebuilding communities after the pandemic, there was little mention of government support.
So what does the post-Covid charity funding landscape look like? And how can your charity improve its prospects?
We take a look at some recent research from the Charities Aid Foundation to shed light on the road to recovery in 2021/22.
The Covid-19 effect on charities
A special Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) report from October 2020 – before the latest lockdown – shows the extent to which the pandemic has overturned many fundraising trends.
The proportion of people making donations has remained roughly the same, though the amount they have given rose by £800 million to £5.4 billion.
Yet within those figures, there have been huge changes. Donations to hospices and hospitals rose significantly. Medical research, which often benefits from large fundraising events such as the London Marathon which were cancelled in 2020, saw donations plummet. Face-to-face donations declined, while cashless giving rose.
This means that charities looking to refocus their fundraising strategies need to accommodate these trends – and be agile enough to adapt when they inevitably change again.
And there’s good news, too: trust in charities has risen since March 202 across different age groups and strata of society, hopefully making people more receptive to fundraising asks.
Of course, the pandemic is not over yet – and its full effects will not be known for some time.
According to charity sector news, many not-for-profits are still relying on government furlough payments to keep on staff. They may have also benefited from other emergency grants from government, trusts or institutions.
Also, nobody yet knows how quickly the economy will recover, or what cuts to services could be on the cards to reduce public spending and debt during the post pandemic recovery.
So it’s vital that charities give serious consideration now as to how they should adapt to post-Covid times. There’s no going back to the old normal and we suspect long term effects of Covid-19 on society.
Roadmap to recovery
CAF has compiled a three-step ‘roadmap to recovery’ to guide charities through the process of refocusing their strategies.
‘Respond’ involves minimising risks. This means protecting the core of your charity: its people, purpose and principles.
To do so, you’ll need to engage with your funders, and communicate and collaborate purposefully with your stakeholders. You’ll have to be agile and plan for contingencies.
‘Recover’ means stabilising your operations. Risks assessments and organisational reviews will be vital here, to enable you to optimise your programmes and build a resilient organisation around them.
By following these steps, your charity should be able to ‘regrow’ – maximising the positive impact you can have on communities and people in need, despite the after effects of Covid-19.
Recovery in action
With all that in mind, we’ve compiled four top tips that could help your charity get on a firmer financial footing.
1) Go digital. Digital fundraising can help you raise money during lockdown, while digital service delivery is vital for providing ongoing support to people in need. Video conferencing platforms such as Teams and Zoom are essential for remote working.
2) Diversify your income sources. This can include “sweating your organisational assets” such as renting out buildings, and exploring emerging income streams such as venture philanthropy and crowdfunding.
3) Reconsider your relationships with donors. The mutual aid communities that sprang up during the pandemic demonstrated the wish that people have to make a tangible impact, not just donate money.
4) Collaborate. You could share information with other charities, seek corporate partnerships, or even look for a full-scale merger with a like-minded organisation. If Covid-19 has shown us anything, it’s that we’re stronger together.