The effects of the Coronavirus pandemic has created drastic economic uncertainty for charities and, as the country recovers from the economic freeze of lockdown, we are facing an unprecedented global recession. With widespread job losses across the county and less cash in circulation, raising funds has become much more challenging and this comes against the backdrop of increasing demand for the crucial services provided by the charitable sector.
The Coronavirus has once again brought out this nation’s seemingly limitless capacity for generosity. Our charitable impulse runs as deep as it ever has, crossing traditional dividing lines. People have found new and ingenious ways to demonstrate kindness, salute courage and lend practical help to one another. We can and should take pride in this. Charity has the power to unite and inspire us precisely because it continues to evolve, using the new possibilities of our age to meet its most unexpected challenges. The involvement of individuals in their personal capacities in outreach and community programs, particularly during the lock-down phases, was astounding. People recognised the challenges facing communities and charities during this time and as many were working from home during the various lock-down phases, they were more in tune with what was happening within their immediate communities. This encouraged many more people to become involved in supporting various charities by volunteering their time and skills, which was incredibly positive.
The pandemic has taught us that we need to be able to adapt in order to survive. The essential fragility of much of the charitable sectors has been exposed and many charities have had to curtail their work, with some having had to shut down altogether. This has forced many charities to review their strategic models and fundraising approaches as financing projects has been much more difficult. Whilst fundraising is essential to ensure that the organisation continues to operate, it is vital that authentic relationships are maintained and cultivated with trusted partners and donors. It is also a perfect opportunity to build relationships with other charitable organisations with whom a charity can collaborate and partner with. This lessens the financial burden for both organisations as fundraising can be tackled on a two-prong basis and furthermore, allows for a greater impact in the work that is undertaken.
It is also critical for charities to build capital to invest as the income generated will assist with covering operational costs and provide a buffer when unexpected events, such as the pandemic, are experienced.
As we begin to return to normality by degrees, it is better that we do so with a clear-eyed understanding of where charity stands rather than falling back on wishful thinking. The brightest future lies with those causes and organisations who understand and respect what charity means in the hearts and minds of the public and are prepared to stand behind the difference that they make as well as the ways in which they make it.