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Fundraising and COVID-19

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In May we carried out a survey with Scottish charities, to find out the impacts of COVID-19 on them at that time. Some of these initial findings were stark, and have been backed up over subsequent months by other pieces of research, and by our conversations at events and our Charities Reference Group. 

One of the most worrying findings was the way in which the crisis was affecting the income of many charities. Just over half (51%) had lost income from fundraising and 42% were losing income that had traditionally come from other sources such as trading. At that time, one in five charities were facing a critical threat to their financial viability as some point in the next 12 months. We are beginning to see the direct impact of that, with many large charities reporting high numbers of redundancies, and just a general high level of anxiety running throughout the sector.

What our surveys also showed, however, was the way in which charities were trying to react dynamically to the challenges they were facing. And we have seen this dynamism as charities have tried to find new, safe and COVID-compliant ways of raising funds. As always, I am inspired by the flexibility of the sector, and the way organisations find the energy and resources to keep going in difficult times.

As charities are seeking to find ways of continuing to fundraise, it is important to be up to date with how best to do that in the current climate. A key resource here will be the Coronavirus guidance published by the Fundraising Regulator. It is also worth looking at a recent resource, developed by the ‘Supporter Experience’ group of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising (CIoF). The aim of the resource is to support good fundraising by putting the supporter experience at the heart of any fundraising strategy. You can find ‘Fundraising in the Time of COVID-19’ here. You will also find relevant updates on their website when things shift and change. For instance, there is a good update on what being in Tier 4 means for fundraising

The next few months are going to be challenging for charities. However, we know that here in Scotland, we have people who are keen to get involved with charities. Our last surveys show that 93% of Scottish adults had engaged in some way with a charity over the previous year, which is fantastic. Putting the supporter at the heart of the fundraising experience will ensure that this level of support can continue. 

Good luck to all fundraisers!