How Covid-19 is impacting charities now… and why YOU matter
Blog by OneKind fundraiser, Lauren
Covid-19 has had and will continue to have an impact on charities all over the country. Charities are facing their biggest challenge; providing services through this global pandemic; staff coping with the personal challenges while trying to deliver their charity’s aims where the only guarantee is that the way they will work in future will be different. The lasting impact isn’t yet known but is the only certainty – it will not just blow over.
As someone who has worked in the sector for 14 years, I share my thoughts on the ongoing impact of the crisis across the sector as a whole; the inspiring and positive signs as well as the negatives.
People are coming together to dig even deeper to support the causes they care about and are also thinking about those causes they hadn’t before – but why now?
Charitable giving has been around for about 150 years in the UK and lots of services and causes have always relied solely on the generosity of public support. Fundraising has been my profession for 14 years and like everyone else, I am seeing all the incredible fundraising efforts by individuals and the public which is heart-warming. However, I do understand the ongoing challenges all charities face which may not be so obvious to those not working in the charity world.
We are seeing incredible efforts across the nation of people raising unbelievable sums of money for charities; particularly NHS charities which is incredible. More and more people are inspired to do something positive and feel like they are helping in this current crisis. The profile and true meaning of charity is being displayed nationwide. The fact that one individual can raise over £32 million in such a short space of time demonstrates just how much the public care and want to make a difference. Giving has always been about people and stories and while this one shows us that people are giving generously; the story, the passion behind the individual as well as the cause are important factors. It’s also natural to support causes where it feels closer to home – we could all rely on those charities as a result of Coronavirus so naturally want to support the efforts to fight it.
However, all charities are suffering a detrimental impact to their income and the fact remains that they will have to find new ways to work in the future. While everyone is uplifted by positive and inspiring stories, there isn’t as much awareness of those charities who are and will continue to struggle now in the future.
OneKind needs to raise £300,000 each year to maintain our campaigns and investigations. Our work is reliant on the kindness of our supporters without whom we wouldn’t have achieved the many wins we have seen over the years, for Scotland’s animals. The team are all still working during this pandemic which is a huge advantage. It means that our campaigns are continuing and we are constantly adapting and pushing forward with our plans to ensure animals are protected.
How can there be a downside to a charity support package?
The Government’s recent announcement of a charity support package of £750 million to help UK charities is an incredible gesture but I have worried that it could be misleading.
Most people will have been blown away at the announcement of the charity support package. It is a huge sum of money that most of us will struggle to comprehend. However, it is less than 19% of the expected £4 billion shortfall and therefore leaves a massive hole that charities will struggle to fill. This will undoubtedly be hugely detrimental to charities all over the UK and hasn’t been widely reported, making it even harder for charities to raise the funds they need and will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the beneficiaries who rely on them.
Of course, the Government’s support is very generous and will of course go someway to supporting charities but there are some concerns I have considered that have not been as widely documented in the media.
- The public may (and understandably so) assume that charities are “safe” and don’t need their support as the Government’s package seems to incredibly high. This is very dangerous and couldn’t be further from the truth.
- The gap will undoubtedly mean many charities will be unable to survive and communities will lose much needed services.
- Not every charity will receive support, meaning the public are likely to receive more individual requests for help. This could result in some charities not receiving donations from supporters they usually would as the public face their own financial challenges and spread their support more thinly.
- The beneficiaries of charities will suffer – animals, people, environment – all beneficiaries will be impacted.
What does it mean for Scotland’s charities particularly, OneKind?
Of that £750 million, only £30 million is being given to the Scottish Government to support Scottish charities. There are more than 45,000 voluntary sector organisations in Scotland and while it’s fantastic to see there is a fund to support Scottish charities, there are some not so obvious down sides. Every single charity has been impacted by Covid-19 in some way; through cancelled events, drop in income from individuals and corporate partners as a result of their own financial difficulties. It has resulted in thousands of charities and local groups applying for support and there simply isn’t enough to go around.
This means that of course, priority is given to those providing front line services. However, waiting time for funds is longer as local authorities and grant providers wade through thousands of applications and of course, have to decide who needs the funding most. It also means that small, local services may not receive vital funds despite being a front-line provider. It is therefore inevitable that non front-line service charities such as OneKind will not receive additional support and have to find a way to close our own gap – and that’s why you are so important.
We know the immediate impact on OneKind’s income is at least £7,000 due to cancelled events but will be much more than that. We can’t be entirely sure of the long term impact as none of us know what the “new normal” will look like. What we do know is the implications of the virus will continue for quite some time (and could also continue to change). We therefore have to remain agile. Challenge events not only raise over £7,000 a year towards our work; but other events such as public demos, lush events or our attendance at national events such as vegan festivals where we engage with the public and bring on new supporters are unlikely to take place for the foreseeable future. These additional events raise important animal welfare issues, increase petition signatures, engage the public and also raise much needed funds.
This situation, as with many other charities has forced us to rethink how we can maintain our current level of campaigns and communicate with our supporters while ensuring we can continue to deliver campaigns with maximum impact.
- Right now, this means keeping up with new information, identifying potential animal welfare issues we hadn’t previously been working on and adapting current campaigns.
- In the long term, it means we may need to find other ways to ensure we maintain the level of funding that our campaigns need. In order to do that and ensure we can adapt as lockdown is eased over time and we learn the new normal, we need to keep working now.
- We will have to re-double our efforts to continue resourcing and maintaining existing campaigns and future campaigns that arise as a result of Covid-19 such as live exports.
What is clear is that in times of crisis, is that we do look out for each other and particularly when times are hard, we dig deep to support causes close to our hearts. Those who give regularly will give even more during hard times – regardless of their personal financial situation. We are so grateful to have such passionate and committed supporters who refuse to see animal welfare left behind in the midst of this pandemic and beyond. They are suffering the impacts of this too. We also know that this is not a short- term problem. Your support is crucial, now arguably more than ever as we navigate our way through a new way of living, while ensuring that animals have a voice too. Whatever you can do to support our work means so much; donating what you can and sharing our campaigns and information on social media. If you haven’t already but would like to support us with a regular gift, you can do that by clicking here. You can make such a difference to charities who are not receiving additional support during a time which is and will continue to be challenging.
One thing is for sure. The team will continue working hard on all of our campaigns and have only been able to do so thus far thanks to your generosity.