I think that it is safe to say that 2020 has been a year unlike any other, certainly in living memory. Its events will surely live on in the pages of the history books for generations to come.
Just the past month has seen a US presidential election unlike any other, with a remarkable mix of unsubstantiated fraud claims, legal challenges and the largest popular vote for any candidate.
The election took place against a backdrop of increased racial tension and injustice in the country following the numerous horrific deaths and violence that led to the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement.
There are clearly deep divisions in the USA and despite Biden’s victory, these are likely to remain for some time to come.
Meanwhile closer to home, England entered a national lockdown again. Although the restrictions were slightly less harsh than the initial lockdown and time limited, it still placed great strains on the charity sector. Many income streams completely dried up for the second time in a year, with face-to-face fundraising suspended and charity shops shut.
While the extended furlough scheme once again allowed some charities to enter a state of hibernation, it doesn’t work for those that are seeing increased demands on their services.
Nor, as our survey of the experience of finance directors during the first lockdown demonstrated in the last edition, does it work for finance teams. Their work needs to carry on, arguably more importantly than ever.
At the time of writing, the government’s stated plan is to return to a tiered system once this lockdown lifts, which will attempt to use more localised restrictions to contain the virus. However, it is not yet clear whether the rules will be relaxed further for the Christmas period.
It seems likely that uncertainty will continue into 2021, despite recent positive vaccine news. Time will tell, but charities, and society in general, will be hoping that things will improve in the year ahead.
Finally, this month marks the 20th anniversary of Charity Finance. Arguably, we reach this milestone at a time when charity finance teams need the best advice and information more than ever.
As we move into 2021, and hopefully past the pandemic, we will continue to strive to bring you just that. 2020: A year that we will all remember for a long time.
Tristan Blythe is editor of Charity Finance