Three ways frontline charities in the UK are coping with coronavirus

We know from news that the Covid-19 crisis is putting particular strain on small businesses and charities – 48% of charities, reported by Civil Society, expect income to fall by about a third because of the coronavirus. Therefore, last Tuesday we organised a call with our charity clients in the UK to understand how they are coping, and how we can support them through these challenging times. Ten of us dialled in across England, and during the exchange we have discussed three main challenges:

  1. Changing the delivery model to a online based service
  2. Restricted access to or uncertainty around the topic of funding
  3. The inability to support beneficiaries properly during the current situation
Caption: we can even add virtual background to spark things up a little! 

The first challenge is for most organisations an ongoing process of developing, testing and implementation, they are relatively positive about their capabilities to resolve, although are aware that this means there are certain groups they will not be able to reach given the digital divide. One of our clients, Noise Solution, shared how they have already adapted their programming online and are using their experiences and capabilities to support other charities, and you can learn more from this video.

Much greater concern is the future access to funding and receiving continuous support by funders. From their feedback, it seems that the philanthropic funders are overall committed to the sector. Especially the larger funders are sticking to their support, but at the same time raise the question how the crisis is affecting the timeline on the delivery of the projects, and may affect income coming from commissioners and trading activities.

But the biggest concern from our clients is about the beneficiaries of their programmes. One example is an organisation working with marginalised young people, particularly those experiencing difficult living situations at home. Being put under quarantine is creating additional stress for the young people compared to normal situations, but they have little support to turn to. Our client Chayn, an award-winning feminist tech project helping survivors of abuse get the information and support needed. has responded swiftly to coronavirus by setting up a dedicated Telegram channel, and they have seen demand for their support rise. This chimes with a recent finding that domestic abuse calls went up 25% since lockdown. The additional demand for charities’ services means that they are working longer hours in their own time, but some funders are stepping in to provide emergency grant support.

We at TSIC are doing our best to help our clients to navigate this crisis. This goes beyond our normal duties and we see it as our responsibility to help when we can on a pro-bono basis.

Are you an organisation looking for advice on how to mitigate the impact of Covid-19? Or review your business strategy? Struggling to access emergency funding? Read about our pro-bono initiative here to see how we can help you.

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