Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

Finance sector pledges to bolster battle against Coronavirus – but not all causes can bank on this

Finance sector pledges to bolster battle against Coronavirus – but not all causes can bank on this

Following my review of how retailers have been supporting charities and communities battling the dreadful impact of COVID-19, this blog looks at how banks and building societies are stepping-up their levels of support, and my concern that not all charities can bank on corporate and public giving.

Barclays has launched a £100 million COVID-19 Community Aid Package to charities working to support vulnerable people impacted by COVID-19, and to alleviate the associated social and economic hardship caused by the crisis

The package is made up of two components:

First, a corporate contribution of £50 million, which will be donated to, and deployed via, a variety of charities working to support vulnerable people impacted by COVID-19, and in alleviating the associated social and economic hardship caused by the crisis. The money will be disbursed principally in the UK, but also in Barclays’ international markets, including the USA and India.

Second, is a £50 million commitment by Barclays to match personal donations made by its employees to charities of their choice, local to them, and which are working to support communities impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
In order to kickstart that programme, and further encourage colleagues who can give something to do so, Barclays PLC Chairman, Nigel Higgins, Group CEO, Jes Staley, and the Group Finance Director, Tushar Morzaria, have each decided to donate a third (33%) of their fixed pay for the next 6 months to charities engaged in supporting vulnerable people impacted by COVID-19. Their donations will be matched in full by the company under the matched donation programme.

HSBC UK  has donated £1 million to the National Emergencies
Trust Coronavirus Appeal and British Red Cross

Ian Stuart, CEO of HSBC UK said:

“We also want to play our part in helping the nation. With our donation to National
Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal and British Red Cross we hope to support
communities across the UK as this national effort continues.”

Bank of Ireland is donating €1 million in emergency funding to communities with urgent needs arising from the pandemic

In partnership with The Community Foundation for Ireland, the Bank is fast tracking €500,000 of the funds to 13 organisations that are working to support the immediate needs of vulnerable groups across the island of Ireland, north and south. This support is being delivered to projects which will support children and older people, domestic abuse, rural isolation, cancer support, mental health, and food distribution.

The remaining €500,000 is being donated to The Community Foundation for Ireland and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 Funds to help local charities and community organisations assisting vulnerable individuals and groups through this difficult period.

The Santander Foundation has donated a £1m to Age UK and Alzheimer’s Society to support some of the most vulnerable people in the community

The funding, split equally between the two charities, will assist their activities on the frontline, offering vital support for both older people and those affected by dementia.

The Prince’s Trust and NatWest have announced the launch of a £5m fund to help young entrepreneurs across the UK to keep their businesses afloat during the crisis

The fund is available to entrepreneurs aged 18-30, who can apply for grants and tailored support. Grants can be used to maintain core business operations during the crisis, as well as meet any existing financial commitments, such as paying for essential equipment or settling invoices from suppliers. 

In addition, NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland have announced a donation-matching programme of up to £5m for the National Emergencies Trust (NET) Coronavirus appeal, aimed at leveraging a further £5m of support from the public. From Friday 3rd April, donations to the NET made by Reward Account customers via their Reward account balance, will be topped up on a matched basis up to £5m until the end of June.

Reward account customers accrue a balance of Rewards which are earned by holding two or more direct debits as well as cashback on certain types of spending. These can be redeemed as cash or donated, and the move by NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland is aimed at unlocking these unused rewards to support the fight against coronavirus.


Yorkshire Building Society Charitable Foundation has launched its Coronavirus Response Fund to support smaller charities during the Covid-19 outbreak

The £100,000 fund will make donations of £250 to £2,000 to charities that are helping UK communities to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Charities can apply for support with running costs, staff and travel costs as well as volunteer expenses.


Lloyds Bank Foundation is reviewing the situation

The foundation has announced that it’s adapting its approach to funding to better support #SmallButVital charities following the immediate COVID19 crisis and has temporarily ceased accepting any new funding applications until its designed a new approach. In statement, the foundation said:

“We want to re-assure those considering a new application that the short term pause of our grant programmes will put us in a stronger position to offer the right support for charities in the longer term. We hope this strikes the right balance and gives us the opportunity to be able to respond to COVID-19 and to best support the charities who are on the front line. Our commitment to partnering with small and local charities and the people who you serve and help overcome complex social issues is stronger than ever.”


Charities can’t bank on what they don’t have

Both the matched-giving schemes outlined above, have the potential to generate a combined total of £110m in donations. To reach that total, £55m needs to be donated by customers and employees – £15m more than recently raised by Sport Relief, but without all the whistles, bells, TV and celeb support.

Tough gig.

Of course this, and an anticipated £100m from retailers donating to causes directly working on the front-line to tackle the pandemic, is welcomed. But there are tens of thousands of causes, big, small, national & local that won’t meet the criteria to benefit from such funds. Are they less worthy of support? Will they be forced to close forever as income declines?

Everyone will pay the price for a rise in social decay, increased levels of poverty, less access to benefits and rights information, the ceasing of medical research and public health campaigns.  People’s mental health problems unaddressed.  Drug, alcohol and gambling services scrapped. Children’s services forsaken.  Equality initiatives put back on the shelves. More beloved family pets given over to shelters. More misery. More sadness. More worry. More inequality and discrimination. All piled on top of the collective angst, bereavements and economic uncertainties created by coronavirus.

Yes, we must tackle the crisis, for the sake of humanity. But, in doing so, we must avoid laying the foundations for a longer-lasting one to horrify us when we awaken from this nightmare.

The recently announced £750m package of support from the Chancellor sounds good, but there is more good being done under the radar than has been recognised, or acknowledged.

You can re-tile a roof, add an extension, fit a new kitchen, landscape a garden. But if a house’s foundations rest on a cliff’s edge, it will eventually crumble into the sea.

Only funding on a governmental scale can hold back the tide. And woe betide if it doesn’t as many causes may have to stick to their nothing.

Everyone will pay the price. But only the government can really afford to foot the bill.


I’ll be keeping this blog updated as other initiatives catch my interest. Feel free to tweet me any you spot @jtchangingbiz


John Thompson is a fundraising consultant with particular expertise in cause-marketing, sponsorship, strategy development, partnership marketing and executive recruitment. A blogger on UK Fundraising since 2006 with a background in corporate fundraising and public relations.

Get free email updates

Keep up to date with fundraising news, ideas and inspiration with a weekly or daily email. [Privacy]

* We do not share your email or personal details.
" />