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New research shows how Covid-19 has affected UK charities

30 June 2020

A clear picture of what has happened for charities since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown has been revealed in new research by the Charities Aid Foundation.

CAF has conducted surveys with charity clients since mid-March 2020 to create an evolving snapshot of the impact of the pandemic on charities and their work.

Three months since the introduction of lockdown measures the research has now been published in a new briefing paper. 

Some of the findings include:

  • Charities reported a significant increase in demand for their services between the beginning of April to the end of May.
  • 35% of charities said they planned to use the job retention (furlough scheme) offered by the Government.
  • 24% said that letting furloughed employees return as volunteers would help their charity survive.

Other findings:

  • 1 in 5 charities were concerned about a shortfall in cash donations as more people turned to contactless payment amid fears over the use of cash and a lack of footfall across the country.
  • 20% said that they were concerned that people carrying less cash would mean their charity would lose income.
  • 23% said they could not accept digital donations.

As lockdown restrictions were eased the research found:

  • 43% of charities said their biggest fear was managing social distance whilst returning to work and 42% said they were worried about having to reduce the services they offered.
  • 6% of charities were a lot more hopeful about the future, 27% of charities were a bit more hopeful while 50% said there had been no change in their attitude.
  • 51% were surprised by how well their organisation had adapted to the new normal while 40% were surprised about the resilience of staff.

Susan Pinkney, Head of Research at CAF, said:

“We have conducted research amongst charities for years and in these unprecedented times we have increased the frequency of our surveys to help inform the sector.

“Three months on from the introduction of widespread lockdown measures we wanted to bring all of our charity insight into a single briefing paper.  These are uncertain and worrying times in which every aspect is moving at pace and there is no doubt that research findings are evolving quickly.  We hope this information adds to the debate around charities at this time.”

The research undertaken by CAF is available via a specially created COVID-19 research hub and information will be updated as the country emerges from the effects of the pandemic.

susan Pinkney HO Research

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 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.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Caroline Mallan

Mobile: 07921 315 344

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