Covid-19… What’s Changed for Charities
The impact of the pandemic on fundraising has been difficult for charities the world over. Lockdown one brought much uncertainty, but it has been charitable trusts and foundations that have been the saving grace for many charities impacted by Covid-19. Felton Fundraising’s founder, Richard Felton reflects on the hardships of the past 18 months.
To use a similar analogy to War of the Worlds ‘no one would have believed that the world would be gripped by a pandemic’. February 2020 saw us all coming and going as normal whilst relatively silently thousands of miles away Covid-19 was stirring at the heart of humanity. No one could have believed that it would strike so mercilessly, prove so deadly, be so costly, and change our lives in the way that it has. Societal and economic collapse was predicted, and many wondered how it would end. The saving grace was to be science through research and the vaccination program. Whilst we are far from being in the clear we have at least a lot more hope than we did back at the beginning of 2020.
The Impact on Fundraising
For the third sector it was to be make or break time where fundraising was forced to scale back and traditional methods such as events, sponsored activities and trading were put to one side. Staff were furloughed, services were offered virtually and for most of us working from home was to become the new normal. Amidst the losses, initial chaos, and change, it was charitable trusts and foundations that were to save the day as they rolled out relatively unrestricted emergency and one-off grants.
Lost income was partly replaced by grant income, and new ways of working were introduced. PPE became the topic of many grant applications and demand far outweighed supply. Infection control became the discussion of most board meetings and social media/online activities came to the fore.
It’s safe to say that very few if any charities have come out of the first two waves of the pandemic unscathed. Financial losses have been the main talking point as has the human cost whether that be in terms of physical or mental health. As a result, there have been many initiatives set up. Find out more at The Charities Aid Foundation.
What does Research Say?
Research carried out by NCVO underlines that charities have been under immense pressure with some tough decisions having to be made to scale back activities despite increased demand. Cash reserves have also diminished and increasing costs to comply with social distancing are likely to remain for some time to come.
Others have been able to widen their services and re-invent their offerings, but whether it be food poverty, isolation, or homelessness all will say that times are tough, and the future remains unpredictable. Even as restrictions are lifted many feel that it will take months if not years to recover and that demand shows little sign of abating. In the meantime, support is still out there. Take a look at the Community Fund.
The Impact of Covid-19 on Mental Health
So, what about the people whose lives have been torn apart, self-confidence diminished and are isolated by fear and anxiety. Years of carefully structured activities to build such attributes were all but undone and now it will be a case of rebuilding what has been lost. If anyone can do it the third sector can and as we look forward, the pandemic has been another fork in the road as financial crashes and recessions have been in the past. Support is out there. Both monetary and through charitable groups such as NCVO and UK Community Foundations have been doing some exceptional work.
What’s to Come?
We’ve all learnt so much and recognised that we can all adapt even when faced with such adversity.
Perseverance and sheer determination will prevail; economies will balance (we hope) and whilst things may not be what they were, perhaps that isn’t a bad thing. What’s to come will be even better, impacting more lives, addressing more need and making your piece of the world a better place.
Now there’s a thought, you may be smaller, but who is to say that you can’t be greater!’
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