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Charity Commission updates Covid-19 advice with section on finances

24 Mar 2020 News

The Charity Commission has added new questions and answers about charity finances to its Covid-19 guidance.

It states that decisions on financial matters should normally be taken collectively, and significant decisions and action points noted in writing. 

The advice adds that “trustees should consider what their short, medium and longer term priorities are, and see if they need to amend their financial planning given their current situation”.

This might mean trustees need to delay or stop certain projects, spends or activities, in order to focus on essential spending.

The Commission’s guidance also tells charities to consider the wider and longer term impacts of decisions on financial resilience and donor relationships. 

It says reserves can be spent to help cope with unexpected events like the pandemic.

“You should identify which of your funds or assets have limits on their use. If these are internal only - for example your charity has decided to earmark certain funds for a particular purpose - you may be able to re-prioritise these. 

“If they are restricted funds, meaning they cannot be spent at your trustees discretion, then they may only be used for a particular and defined purpose,” it adds.

Nonetheless, the guidance also states that in some instances there may be ways to amend restrictions, “but accessing or releasing restricted funds should only be considered if other options such as reserves are not possible”.

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