As we start the long haul out of lockdown, it’s worth pausing to consider the effect of coronavirus on charity fundraising in the UK – as well as the effect of that other game changer, BREXIT.
A recent survey carried out by NCVO, Nottingham Trent University and Sheffield Hallam University considered the projected changes in income streams for 2021-22 as compared with the period before coronavirus.
The results were in many respects surprising. 31% of respondents said that they had experienced an increase in total income, whilst 47% reported a drop. Presumably the remaining 22% had seen no change in their income as a result of the epidemic.
An almost equal number of respondents (35%) reported that their costs had increased, with 34% showing a decrease. 46% had to use their cash reserves to cope with the impact of coronavirus on their organisations.
This disparity in results is surely partly the result of the financial position of different charities before March 2020; partly due to the speed and effectiveness with which different charities accessed the coronavirus emergency funding offered by trusts and other funders; and partly the nature of each charity’s work. For example, two of Minerva’s current clients have seen both an increase in costs and an increase in funding, partly as a result of the nature of their work and the demand for it.
The effects of BREXIT are less easy to quantify. The results of the CAF World Giving Index 2019 show geographically that the UK is ahead of all countries in Europe, with the exception of the Republic of Ireland. However, when looking at Commonwealth countries, the picture is less flattering: the UK lags behind Australia, Canada and New Zealand; and is only slightly ahead of Sri Lanka.
The post-BREXIT world will be most challenging for those charities whose work is spread across EU countries and/or which have substantial numbers of Trustees and donors in EU states. Some charities may decide to relocate to a European country; but even if the majority of its work takes place on the continent, the UK still remains a very tax-efficient country in which to base a charity. Further advice on this can be gained from the government’s transition website.