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Reshaped by the pandemic: the way forward for charities

Almost a year after the first Covid-19 lockdown, charities are still contending with the economic and social impact of the pandemic amid demanding restrictions – but what does the year ahead look like for the sector?

Adapting to change

In response to Covid-19, many organisations have pivoted to new ways of working and adapted to online and remote delivery methods.

Charities too have been very innovative in their responses to cancelled and postponed conventional fundraising events by pivoting from physical to virtual events, both locally and nationally.

Ultimately, however, to secure their long-term future, many charities need to look for new income streams, review their approach to reserves, streamline their operations and increasingly embrace digital technology and collaboration.

The financial challenge

The pandemic introduced massive changes to charities’ cash flows and funding. 

As it progresses through 2021, the sector faces an estimated £12.4bn annual funding shortfall, and 83% of charities say they expect to see income decline over the next 12 months compared to pre-Covid projections.   

The current situation clearly highlights the importance of having robust cash reserves to weather financial crises and keep charities going as they rebuild and rethink their operating models in response to the crisis.

Scouts tech transformation

The pandemic saw the Scouts switch to digital ways of working just three days after the first lockdown began, through the rapid, early implementation of an online framework it had been developing for eighteen months.

Through the use of tech platforms like Zoom and user-friendly collaboration software called Mural, 85% of members now take part in national and local activities digitally.

Digital skills will be harnessed to enable leaders to carry out socially distanced, face-to-face ‘blended’ scouting activities within local groups, to maintain a balance between digital interactions and the physical activities deemed essential to scouting.

References

Joint survey carried out in June 2020 by the Chartered Institute for Fundraising, the Charity Fundraising Group and NCVO

Data taken from The Charity Sector Through Covid report, Jan 2021 https://www.probonoeconomics.com/the-charity-sector-through-covid

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