The postponement of the final stage of the lifting of lockdown measures shows a caution from government that arguably was missing in the lifting of the previous lockdowns. Although we will eventually be able to live with Covid-19, the final big push to get all adults vaccinated before lockdown ends will hopefully make the transition much safer.
A few more weeks of social restrictions is arguably a small price to pay for saving lives, but for charities it will prolong the period in which large fundraising events cannot take place. And, even when these restrictions are lifted, there will remain the question of public confidence. Will people feel safe enough to attend these fundraisers?
The latest edition of Pro Bono Economics’ Covid Charity Tracker (in partnership with the Charity Finance Group and the Chartered Institute of Fundraising) found that six in 10 charity respondents who had organised in-person events had encountered lower public demand for places than in a typical year.
Furthermore, some 54% did not expect their events fundraising to return to pre-pandemic levels before the end of the year. While some people will undoubtedly want to return a normal way of life very quickly, others will understandably take a little longer to get there. We have been living in the shadow of the pandemic for so long that some fear is likely to linger and some habits may be changed for the long term. It will be interesting to see how many people continue to use face coverings in shops, crowded areas and on public transport when the legal requirement for them is removed. Will hand sanitiser still be carried around in bags and freely dispensed in many shops?
We will all find our own individual ways, but one thing is sure – finance teams have played a crucial role in making sure that charities were able to keep going during the pandemic, and they will remain just as important as society starts to open up.
As financial pressures are likely to take a while to ease and demand for services is likely to stay high, charities are going to need to continue to innovate and find new ways of working. One option that could be considered is working in collaboration with other charities and other types of organisations. This issue we look at this topic and explore some of the benefits that working together can bring.
Tristan Blythe is editor of Charity Finance