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Polling amongst charities and the public


How charities and donors are reacting to the pandemic

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From the first UK Covid-19 lockdown that began in March 2020, we have increased the frequency of our UK charity surveys.  These short surveys help charities, donors, government and everyone interested in the work of charity to understand the impact of the crisis on the sector and giving.  Our polls are sent via email to our charity clients and completed quickly to obtain a snapshot.  Read our review of the first three months and see the latest results below.

We are also regularly investigating public attitudes to giving as part of our established UK Giving research, the largest study of giving behaviour in the UK. Read CAF's UK Giving 2020 special report that sets out the impact of the pandemic on people’s giving behaviours, and the outlook for the coming months. See our public poll results from the first weeks of the pandemic.

With our CAF Global Alliance partners we have surveyed the global impact of Covid-19 on charities and our colleagues at CAF America are regularly polling non-profit organisations across the world.  Our reports are free to read and download.

The view from charities

Response to 5th July announcement for England to move to stage 4 restrictions

On 5th July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to move to stage 4 guidelines in England on 19th July. These new guidelines would see the removal of most rules around social distancing, home working, the wearing of masks and limitations on the number of people that can enter public locations such as restaurants or theatres. 

More than a quarter of charities do not plan to return to full operating capacity on 19th July

We asked charities which operated in England whether they planned to operate at full capacity from 19th July. More than a quarter (27%) said that they were not planning to return to full operating capacity from this date and around 1 in 5 (18%) were unsure.

A quarter (24%) said that they were planning to return to full operating capacity and around 3 in 10 (31%) felt that the guidelines did not impact their ability to do so, as they were already functioning in this way.

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3 in 10 charities said they would feel uncomfortable operating under stage 4 guidelines from 19th July 

Whilst around half (49%) of charities operating in England said that they would feel comfortable operating under stage 4 guidelines from 19th July, almost 3 in 10 (28%) said they would feel uncomfortable to do so.

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1 in 5 charities with staff or volunteers report staff/volunteer hesitancy to operate under stage 4

Around half (52%) of charities which have staff or volunteers reported that they felt their staff/volunteers were willing to operate under stage 4 guidelines and 1 in 10 (9%) said that their staff/volunteers were unaffected. Despite this, 1 in 5 (19%) charities with staff or volunteers said that their personnel were not willing to operate under stage 4 guidelines from 19th July.

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Response to the spring budget 2021

1 in 9 smaller charities will furlough as long as possible, whilst 1 in 11 could end their furlough sooner

Following the recent budget announcements by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, we asked smaller charities if and how they would be using the furlough scheme. 1 in 9 (11%) said that they would use the furlough scheme for the full available time. A similar proportion (9%) said they would aim to end use of furlough ahead of the late September deadline.
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Support for the high street will impact 1 in 5 smaller charities

New measures to support the high street, announced in the 2021 budget, will positively impact around 1 in 5 smaller charities.

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First charity survey results for 2021

Many charities are feeling optimistic for 2021

In February 2021, CAF spoke to small charities about their predictions for the year ahead. Around 3 in 5 small charities (57%) were optimistic for 2021.

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But key operating challenges are expected to persist

When asked which challenges will persist after lockdown has eased, around 3 in 5 (58%) expect to see a continued loss of income sources. Half predicted that challenges will remain for face-to-face working (50%), and from a loss of fundraising sources (48%), whilst just over two in five (43%) predict that planning for the long term will remain challenging, along with the impact of the economic downturn.


More than half of charities say they need to shift to a more online fundraising approach

A November 2020 poll by CAF found that almost half of UK charities (47%) had already changed the way that they fundraised as a result of the pandemic whilst just over half (53%) said they needed to make a shift to a more online fundraising approach because of the crisis. Encouragingly, more than 2 in 5 (46%) charities said they felt that their donors would be open to donating online.

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How many charities are fundraising online?

Just over a third of charities told us that they are currently fundraising online, whilst nearly two thirds (62%) said that they were not.

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Polling with charities in 2020

We have been researching the impact of the pandemic on our charity clients since 17 March 2020. 

See our 2020 polling with charities

The view from the public in 2020

Our polling and research into public support for charities is designed to inform the charity sector, government and the public. 

Read the public view

Latest survey news

Our insights on the impact of the pandemic for charities and giving

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CAF World Giving Index 2021

With the challenges of Covid-19 on charitable giving around the world, this year’s World Giving Index tells a truly remarkable story.

International research

Research on the impact of Covid-19 for NGOs and giving across the world

CAF's Global Alliance partners are conducting extensive research into the impact of Covid-19 on charities, NGOs and giving.

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