Crisis management

Coronavirus impact survey results

Charities reported that they expect a 42% increase in demand for their services but a 48% decline in voluntary income, according to new research published today.

The survey, by the Institute of Fundraising in partnership with CFG and National Council for Voluntary Organisations includes data from over 500 charities on the impact of the crisis on their organisations. The data in the survey was analysed by PwC and the results reflect the urgent new situation charities face as they re-forecast their income and take steps to respond to the huge challenges they face.

Key findings summary:

  • Charities are reporting a projected loss of 48% to their voluntary income, and a third wiped off from their total income
  • 52% of charities have reduced existing or previous levels of service, with a further 12% intending to in the future.
  • 83% say that the most important thing for their organisation’s sustainability over the coming 3 to 6 months is access to emergency grant funding.
  • 84% of charities think their organisation could play a role in responding to the coronavirus outbreak, with the majority saying that government funding was needed to help them to do so.
  • 91% of charities surveyed have already or expect to have their cash flow disrupted, with 62% indicating that these would result in reduced charitable activity.

Charity leaders warned last week that charities across the country are facing imminent collapse as fundraising income dries up. Charities have been in conversation with the government about a package of support for the charity sector, but warned again today that without an urgent injection of money that is swift, simple and substantial many charities of all sizes would start to close their doors as soon as this week. With fundraising events cancelled and public fundraising activity postponed for the foreseeable future, a significant proportion of the income charities rely on to deliver their work has been lost.

Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising, said

"To ensure that charities are able to both maintain their existing services to people and to play their fullest role meeting the needs of our most vulnerable people we need a support package for the sector. Over the next 12 weeks charities will lose £4 billion in vital income that they would have received from the British public, at the same time as a 42% surge in demand for their services. They need urgent help to maintain and expand their services."

Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of Charity Finance Group, said

"We have encouraged charities to diversify their funding models over the years and retain reserves on a risk basis. But this situation is unprecedented in attacking every area of charity income, whilst increasing demand and costs, and is rapidly burning through reserves. If the government doesn't act now then the longer term impact on the economy, society and social well being will be devastating and almost impossible to recover from."

Karl Wilding, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, which represents charities and volunteering, said:

"These figures reflect the stories we’re hearing every day from our members. Charities are faced with making incredibly difficult decisions about how to ensure their organisations can help now and still be there to make a difference once the crisis is over. Charities run as prudently and efficiently as possible which means few have enough cash stored up to survive a prolonged downturn."

The findings of the survey, ‘Impact of COVID-19 on the charity sector’, are based on responses from over 1,100 respondents from across the sector. There were 558 fully completed responses, and different response rates for each question. The survey was run by the Institute of Fundraising, NCVO, and Charity Finance Group.

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