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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Charities hit as donations and fundraising fall during the pandemic

This news post is 10 months old

However, around 9% of donors say they increased donations or started giving for the first time

Charity donors and fundraisers have cut back on regular monthly payments and activity as their own incomes were hit in the pandemic, and they are unsure when they will return to normal.

This is according to new research from the charity investment arm of wealth manager James Hambro & Partners.

Its study, which was carried out in the summer and reflects a UK and not specifically Scottish picture, found nearly two out of five (36%) regular donors had cut the amount they give each month by an average of £11 while 44% of fundraisers had reduced or stopped the amount of fundraising they do.

There are some bright spots – around 9% of donors say they increased donations or started giving for the first time during the pandemic with average increased regular payments of £15 a month.

But the cutbacks still leave charities facing a reduction in donations and the research found it could be a long road to recovery.

Just 23% of those who cut monthly donations said they planned to restore their payments by September 2021, the study found. Around 19% said it would take until at least December before they started donating at the same level while 3% said they will never do so.

It is a similar story for fundraisers – around 25% said they planned to get back to normal by September, while 22% would wait until at least December and 4% believe they will never return to fundraising.

Regular donors who have cut back say their own financial situation has forced them to reduce payments – around 41% have suffered pay cuts, lost their jobs, or were furloughed, the research found.

There are however signs of a shift in legacies to charities during the pandemic – around 6% of people questioned say they have written a will for the first time and left money to a charity or amended an existing will to leave a donation. Many of them have done so because they have used charity services during the pandemic.

Patrick Trueman, portfolio manager at James Hambro & Partners, said:The Covid-19 pandemic has had a massive financial impact across the economy and that has inevitably hit charity giving and fundraising.

The major concern for charities however is how long the recovery in donations and fundraising activity will take and while government support during the crisis has been generous, many charities may struggle in the future.

“Strong and responsible investment management can play an important role in helping charities to ensure they are achieving the best possible returns on their assets to support their activities despite the pressure on donations and fundraising. This is particularly true while returns on cash are non-existent and negative when inflation is factored in.”



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