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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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UK charity leaders express future crisis planning concern

This news post is 12 months old

A new survey has found organisations expect they will have to fill the gaps in the result of future crisis

UK charity leaders say that while their services will increasingly be expected to fill gaps in public services, a large majority do not feel the government views them as an important part of planning for future crises.

In the latest Charity Landscape survey of UK charity chief executives conducted by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), fewer than three in 10 said they thought their expertise would be seen as an important resource when it comes to delivering insight and planning for the future.

At the same time, 85% agreed that over the next five years charities will be expected to fill gaps in providing public services.

The survey of 265 charity leaders was conducted by CAF in late July and early August just as the UK began to emerge from the initial spring lockdown.

It found that while a majority (57%) felt that government views charities as vital connections to local communities, they did not expect that connection to translate into being given a seat at the table to have an influence on longer term planning.

Catherine Mahoney, CAF’s research manager, said: “Charities know that they play a vital role in our society and many have been on the frontlines of battling this pandemic.

“But the question remains as to whether or not that will lead to them being consulted on how we, as a society, can be best prepared for future shocks, be they health emergencies, economic hardships or even natural disaster responses.”

The survey also found that charities are increasingly concerned about the effects of Covid-19 on their volunteer numbers. One in five leaders (21%) listed volunteer engagement among the top three challenges their organisation faced, up significantly from just 7% a year earlier.

“We know that charities rely on an army of volunteers and that Covid has meant that many older people who have volunteered their time in retirement have had to shield for many months. Charities are increasingly worried about how this will affect their ability to deliver services,” said Mahoney.

The Charity Landscape report also found:

  • 28% of charity leaders said that owing to the pandemic, the funding that they had been able to access was more likely to be unrestricted funding
  • Three in 10 said that their normal grant funds had been frozen as grant funders shifted their focus to coronavirus relief efforts, and half of this group said they had been unable to find enough grant funding to apply for in order to maintain their normal operations.
  • Not surprisingly given the collapse of many traditional face to face fundraising opportunities, 77% of charity leaders said technological change is relevant to them, but only four in 10 said they have a specific strategy in place to deal with the demands of technological changes.


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