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Pandemic continues to hit charity fund-raising, report suggests

17 December 2021


A Santa run takes place in Dalkeith Country Park, in Scotland, on Sunday, to raise money for the charity Children’s Hospices Across Scotland

A Santa run takes place in Dalkeith Country Park, in Scotland, on Sunday, to raise money for the charity Children’s Hospices Across Scotland

CHARITIES have been hit — and some forced to close — by a fall in donations during the pandemic, research for a City of London wealth-management firm suggests.

More than two-thirds (36 per cent) of donors and almost half (44 per cent) of fund-raisers had cut back on giving and other promotional activity, James Hambro & Partners said.

This follows a report last month, also for James Hambro, that the drop in revenue for some British charities had brought them to the brink of closure (News, 12 November). More than half of 100 charities with investable assets of at least £1 million reported that their income had fallen by more than 30 per cent. All but three said that cutbacks in their work were being considered or had already been made, and eight were facing permanent closure.

The latest research by Consumer Intelligence, which interviewed 989 adults, found that the drop in regular monthly payments and activity by donors and fund-raisers was caused by cuts in their own income. More than two-fifths (41 per cent) had suffered pay cuts, lost their jobs, or been furloughed.

The study, carried out last summer, found that 36 per cent of regular donors had cut the amount that they gave each month by an average of £11. About nine per cent had, however, increased donations to an average of £15 a month.

Many were unsure when they would return to normal. About one quarter (23 per cent) had hoped to restore their payments by last September, but almost one fifth (19 per cent) said that it would take until this month at least before donations would return to pre-Covid levels; and three per cent said that they would never do so.

Among fund-raisers, one quarter had hoped to return to normality by September, and 22 per cent were looking to the end of the year, but four per cent predicted that they would never resume their efforts.

More people, however, seemed prepared to make bequests in their wills, often because they had benefited from charity services during the pandemic.

The portfolio manager at James Hambro & Partners, Patrick Trueman, said: “The major concern for charities is how long the recovery in donations and fund-raising activity will take, and, while government support during the crisis has been generous, many charities may struggle in the future.”

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