At last there is more than just light at the end of the tunnel: a return to near-normality after more than a year of coronavirus restrictions seems to be a genuine possibility.
However, a recent survey indicated that 40% of charities expect fewer donations next year, following the decision of around 1.6 million donors to cancel direct debits to charities. But is this an unduly pessimistic view of future fundraising ?
Amongst the small charities with which Minerva works, there has been a determination to adapt and to explore new ways of raising money to compensate for restrictions on community and face-to-face fundraising. Unable to hire additional staff and in many cases obliged to furlough some of their existing teams, these charities have developed new methods and systems. Staff have researched and monitored emergency grants, expanded their potential donor bases beyond the areas they normally target; and worked unconventional – and often extended – hours to bring in the funds, without any additional remuneration.
The Prime Minister has been liberal in his comparisons between the coronavirus crisis and the Second World War. Whilst this claimed similarity may not stand the test of historical analysis, charities have certainly responded to the crisis with a determination to ensure that their beneficiaries continued to receive the support they need, albeit often in a different format; and entrepreneurism in seeking to rejuvenate existing income streams and to find new ones.
So we have reason to be optimistic. Fundraising and the delivery of charitable services may be harder – but the indications are that charities’ natural flair and adaptability will see the sector through the remainder of this pandemic and into the future.