Almost half charities have significantly reduced activity, due to financial challenges brought about by Covid-19, reveals survey

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7th October 2020 15:24 - Voluntary

Almost half charities have significantly reduced activity, due to financial challenges brought about by Covid-19: A survey of charities has found that 48% have significantly reduced their activity in response to the financial challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The September 2020 PBE Covid Charity Tracker, by Pro Bono Economics, also found that almost seven out of 10 charities had applied for financial help during the pandemic, including the furloughing of staff where available, while almost three-quarters said they have sought additional sources of funding.

The survey, which was conducted in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Fundraising and the Charity Finance Group had 224 responses from charities between 15 - 20th September. It found that almost a third (32%) have made, or plan to make cuts to their service and delivery functions, while 15% have made, or plan to make cuts to fundraising. Amongst medium to large charities, this percentage was even higher, with around a fifth looking to make (or have made) cuts. 

The overwhelming majority of charities polled (94%) said that the pandemic has been financially challenging for their operations, with falls experienced in earned income, donations from the public and money from fundraising events. 

While funding from trusts and foundations have broadly held up, according to the tracker, (with a third of the organisations taking part seeing a fall in funding, while another third saw a rise), public donations have fallen for more than half the respondents polled. Around a third said they have seen public donations fall by more than a quarter. 

The survey found that the majority have been affected by social distancing measures, with 89% 'somewhat' or 'very concerned' by the impact it has had on service delivery. Almost all the respondents polled (98%) said they were concerned about uncertainty and planning for the future, while 94% said they were concerned about the impact of recession on their organisation's finances.

More than three-quarters (77%) said that the impact social distancing is having on their ability to fundraise is a concern, while 73% are concerned about the impact of recession on the demand for services. 

When asked about how they are positioned to help with further demand for their services over the next three months if the number of Covid-19 infections continue to rise and more local lockdowns are imposed, more than half (55%) said they would be unable to meet demand. A fifth said they would be able to meet demand, while 14% expect to see a fall in demand for their services.

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