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Stephen Cotterill: Autumn marks the start of a new chapter in the Covid saga, bringing challenges and opportunities

08 Sep 2020 Voices

Recent weeks have seen a gradual easing of the lockdown, and this autumn promises to mark a new chapter in the Covid saga we have all been living through.

The furlough period is winding down and ends 31 October, presenting new challenges for fundraising leaders as they try to bring their teams back together. Those fundraisers that have been furloughed may feel guilt or apprehension about their roles when they return, and may find it hard to cope working remotely in a changed giving landscape. Leaders need to be aware of these challenges and attempt to ease staff back into work despite the obvious pressure of trying to recoup losses as quickly as possible. Every individual’s experience of furlough will have been different and some may not have coped as well as others.

There will also be the inevitable redundancies, and we are already seeing organisations reducing staff across the board as they struggle to maintain services with reduced income. This is going to be a tough time, not just for those who have lost their jobs, but also for those who have lost team members. Fundraising in particular is a very tight-knit community and operates in an atmosphere of support and sharing. Managers need to be conscious of the impact this can have on their teams.

With the lockdown easing we are seeing the gradual return of face-to-face and public fundraising. Those charities that have dipped a toe into these waters have broadly seen a positive response from the public. The Fundraising Regulator and the Chartered Institute of Fundraising published guidance on safety measures to be put in place, and it is essential that these are incorporated into fundraising activities not only to help to avoid a second spike in infections but also to mitigate any reputational damage.

Events may also see some rebound, within a socially distanced framework of course and combined with a virtual element.

Legacies may also slowly rejoin the depleted range of fundraising resources.

Uncertainty about the future still hangs over all areas of fundraising, as it does many aspects of life at the moment. But “adapting to the challenge” is very much a mantra in this sector, and the next few weeks and months may bring more opportunities to regain lost ground.

@stevejcotterill

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