Four in five London charities say their services are impacted by coronavirus

26 Mar 2020 News

Most charities have seen a “significant impact” on their ability to deliver services because of coronavirus, a survey by London Plus has found.

London Plus is a London civil society charity that has been collecting data on the impact that the current crisis is having on charities. This is its second survey, which was carried out a week after the first survey. The findings were published on Tuesday and are based on 127 responses.

Some 80% of respondents said Covid-19 has had a significant impact on their organisation’s capacity to deliver its services, compared to only 29% in the previous survey.

The survey also found increased levels of financial impact, concern among staff and numbers of people who are self-isolating.

Concern over financial impact on the rise

When asked how concerned they are about the financial impact of coronavirus on the sector, 78% of respondents gave answers ranging between 8 and 10, with 10 being the highest level of concern. Almost half (45%) rated their concern at 10, compared to only 13% two weeks ago.

Three in five (59%) agreed that the crisis has already had a notable financial impact on the sector. Many reported financial disruptions in their organisation, but there was also a lot of uncertainty.

A blog detailing the survey results says: “Only 18% of respondents reported no impact on their financial planning, though a significant percentage were unsure, reflecting uncertainty as events unfold. Evidence suggests a large impact already on trading income as well as fundraising from events.

“A lack of details about a rescue package for charities might have contributed to the many respondents unsure about the impact on their organisation’s financial planning. Supportive announcements from institutional funders, while welcome, do not appear yet to have offset the uncertainty.”

Meanwhile 43% said their organisation had staff absent because they were self-isolating due to suspected Covid-19, and the vast majority (87%) was practising social distancing. Some of this data was collected before the stricter lockdown that is currently in place was announced. 

London Plus said it is looking to do a shorter version of the survey this week too. 

It said: “The Covid-19 pandemic will continue to have a marked impact on the health of civil society in London. At London Plus we will work hard to support the sector through this. Collecting data as events unfold is part of this.

“To do this effectively we need your continued participation in our research. Whilst we appreciate it is a difficult time and our organisations are firefighting fatigue, we would urge you to continue engaging with us.”

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