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Charities paint grim picture of ability to operate without urgent help

31 March 2020

UK charities have painted a dire picture of their ability to continue to provide vital services as the coronavirus crisis takes hold.

The survey by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) of 271 charities taken late last week found that almost 4 in 10 (37%) said they would not be able to operate in their current form for six months without extra help – either from Government or elsewhere.

And a majority (54%) said their ability to operate as they do now would be impacted within a year.

The survey results come as charities are forced to cancel crucial fundraising events, staff and volunteers are unable to work and other services, including public services, are affected by social distancing restrictions aimed at curbing the crisis.

To lend context, from March to May last year (2019) YouGov estimates that £435 million  was donated to charities through sponsorship.  The London Marathon alone raised £66.4m for charity.

CAF’s Head of Research, Susan Pinkney, said:

“Like every other facet of UK life, charities are struggling to keep their doors open and deliver crucial services.

“These results tell us that a lot of the smaller charities that help in communities around the UK may not be able to keep going. Some of them told us that timing amounts to a matter of weeks.”

The results come as CAF announced that it has launched an emergency fund for small charities and organisations as they battle the effects of the pandemic.

CAF Coronavirus Emergency Fund

The CAF Coronavirus Emergency Fund will offer one-time grants of up to £10,000 to small charities, organisations and social enterprises that are struggling to survive.

CAF, a charity that supports charities across the UK, has allocated £5 million to fund this emergency grant programme to support local frontline charities and we expect further contributions to be added.

Sir John Low, Chief Executive at CAF, said:

“Charities do a vast amount to improve every aspect of daily life in our country and are crucial to helping people at this time of national crisis. Whether they are directly involved in helping fight the pandemic or whether they are struggling because of the disruption to normal life, they urgently need our help.

“Some of the charities and small organisations we rely on are facing very difficult times. These are the people who are delivering support in so many ways in every corner of the UK and we need them to be there during and after this crisis.

“The situation is dire and CAF has mobilised to try and help as many organisations as we can by offering immediate emergency funds.”

“We aim to get this money to charities within days and CAF is working flat out to not just deliver these funds, but to remind the wider public of the essential role that charities and non-profit organisations are playing in the thick of this emergency.”

This fund is open to registered charities, community groups, social enterprises and other organisations with a charitable purpose that had a turnover of less than £1 million last year. The funds are to enable them to carry on their vital work as the crisis unfolds.

For details about eligibility and how to apply, visit our portal.

 london marathon runners pr


For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Caroline Mallan,

Office: 03000 123 442 / Mobile: 07921 315 344

About CAF

CAF exists to make giving go further, so that more lives and communities around the world can be transformed. CAF is a charity and a champion for better giving, and for over 90 years has helped donors, companies, charities and social organisations make a bigger impact. Through CAF Bank, it offers simple and straightforward day-to-day banking, designed exclusively for charities. We are CAF and we make giving count.
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