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Coronavirus: charities cannot meet surge in demand without urgent government funding

Coronavirus: charities cannot meet surge in demand without urgent government funding

The results of the Coronavirus Impact Study reveal that 43% of the charities surveyed have seen an increase in demand for their services coupled with a 48% decline in voluntary income.

The survey, Impact of COVID-19 on the charity sector’, by the Institute of Fundraising in partnership with the Charity Finance Group and NCVO was conducted this month and includes data from over 500 charities on the impact of the crisis on their organisations, analysed by PwC.

It shows:

  • Charities report a projected loss of 48% to their voluntary income, & a third wiped off from their total income
  • 52% of charities have reduced existing or previous levels of service, with a further 12% intending to in the future
  • 83% say that the most important thing for their organisation’s sustainability over the coming 3 to 6 months is access to emergency grant funding
  • 84% of charities think their organisation could play a role in responding to the coronavirus outbreak, with the majority saying that government funding was needed to help them to do so
  • 91% of charities surveyed have already or expect to have their cash flow disrupted, with 62% indicating that these would result in reduced charitable activity

Charities have been in conversation with the government about a package of support for the charity sector, and have again warned that without an urgent injection of swift, simple and substantial money many charities of all sizes will start to close their doors as soon as this week.

With fundraising events cancelled and public fundraising activity postponed for the foreseeable future, a significant proportion of the income charities rely on to deliver their work has been lost.

Peter Lewis, Chief Executive of the Institute of Fundraising, said:

“To ensure that charities are able to both maintain their existing services to people and to play their fullest role meeting the needs of our most vulnerable people we need a support package for the sector. Over the next 12 weeks charities will lose £4 billion in vital income that they would have received from the British public, at the same time as a 42% surge in demand for their services. They need urgent help to maintain and expand their services.”

Caron Bradshaw, Chief Executive of Charity Finance Group, added:

“This situation is unprecedented in attacking every area of charity income, whilst increasing demand and costs, and is rapidly burning through reserves.  If the government doesn’t act now then the longer term impact on the economy, society and social well being will be devastating and almost impossible to recover from.”



Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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