Nine in 10 charities predict “negative impact” on ability to deliver services amid coronavirus pandemic

Around nine in 10 charities expect Covid-19 to harm their ability to meet their objectives over the next six months, a major study has revealed.

The figures form part of the Pro Bono Economic weekly survey – a poll designed to assess and monitor the impact of the coronavirus on the not-for-profit sector.

According to the latest round of survey results, an overwhelming number of charities believe Covid-19 will financially impact their charity in the long-term, with 88 per cent of respondents expecting the virus to reduce their income over the coming six months.

Of these, four in 10 (38 per cent) expect a reduction in income of up to 25 per cent, two in 10 (18 per cent) expect a reduction of between 25 and 50 per cent, and a similar number predict a reduction of between 50 and 75 per cent. Meanwhile, four per cent of charities expect income to fall by more than 75 per cent.

To combat this, nearly all (97 per cent) charities said they had acted in response to the financial challenges raised by the crisis. This includes using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), reducing activity in a “significant” way, seeking funder flexibility on spending plans, and/or drawing down on reserves.

This is despite almost three quarters (72 per cent) of charities expecting to see an increase in demand for their services over the next six months. This is particularly true for charities working in economic, social and community development and health.

Meanwhile, 41 per cent of charities say the single biggest issue they are facing is the impact of social distancing measures on their ability to deliver services.

Commenting on the latest findings, Anoushka Kenley, Research & Policy Director of Pro Bono Economics, said: “We’re not yet seeing any big changes in mood in the sector. Similar to previous weeks, nine out of ten organisations felt as, or more, concerned over the past week about the impact of Covid-19.

“Things seem to be getting worse for small charities, where close to half felt increasingly concerned over the past week about the impact of Covid-19 on their ability to deliver. For medium and large charities, that figure was closer to one in five.

“This is perhaps unsurprising given the income gap that’s likely to emerge, not just from reduced access to finance but also from increased demand – 72 per cent of charities expect to face an increase in demand for their services over the next six months, compared to their pre-crisis plans.”

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