Charity giving and fundraising has been an important part of British life ever since the Statute of Queen Elizabeth in 1601 – and probably even before that.

The coronavirus crisis highlighted so much of what is good in our society, with individuals raising substantial sums for charity or for other groups of people less fortunate than themselves. Individual fundraising has been given a boost in recent years thanks to digital opportunities offered by sites such as GoFundMe, JustGiving and others. JustGiving’s President and General Manager Pascale Harvie, writing in last month’s Fundraising magazine, pays tribute to people’s generosity, whilst at the same time pointing out that many people with noble motives about fundraising do not know where to begin. She explains how digital platforms like JustGiving can enable generous individuals to raise funds for the people and causes that matter to them.

The dilemma facing individuals who want to fundraise is often replicated in small charities, many of which are organised and led by enthusiastic, dedicated and hard-working volunteers with wide experience and expertise across business – but not necessarily in fundraising.

Around a third of the charities that Minerva has worked with over the last 26 years have been run largely or exclusively by volunteers, many of whom have had full-time jobs elsewhere as well. These charities are highly motivated and determined; but they benefit from the support they receive, not only from Minerva’s knowledge and advice, but also from the many grant-making trusts on which they depend for funding.

Trusts and foundations are a key building block in the sustainability of small charities long-term. In the light of this, it seems strange that the Lankelly Chase Foundation’s trustees have decided to close down this large and important grant-making trust over the next 5 years. Whilst they have pledged to redistribute its assets to others, this asset-stripping can only help a limited number of beneficiaries over the 5 year period, whereas Lankelly Chase’s continued existence would benefit many more charities into the foreseeable future.

Large foundations such as the Laing Family Trusts, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Bernard Sunley Foundation have given huge sums to small charities. These have enabled the latter to undertake projects which have benefitted countless people but which would have been impossible without such generous support – support which will be felt long into the future.

Time for the Trustees of Lankelly Chase to think again?