Two-fifths of charities have now applied for emergency government funds, finds survey 

12 Jun 2020 News

There has been a sustained rise in the number of charities applying for emergency funding from government, according to a survey from Pro Bono Economics (PBE).

Of those who took part in the survey, 42% said that they have applied for emergency funding from the government’s support package, up from 37% last week and just 28% two weeks ago. 

PBE is conducting a weekly tracker to find out how coronavirus is affecting charities. Over the course of 9 and 10 June, a total of 231 respondents filled in the survey.

The respondents were split between 77 small charities (annual income of less than £500,000), 127 medium sized charities (income between £500,000 and £10m) and 27 large charities (income of £10m or more).

Of those who responded, 86% said they expected Covid-19 to have a negative impact on their ability to meet their objectives over the next six months, with 38% saying they expected it to be a “large” negative impact. One in ten said they thought it would have a positive impact.

Over half, 56%, said their level of concern about the pandemic's impact on their ability to deliver was broadly unchanged over the past seven days. However, one in three, 35%, said that their concern had increased.

One in ten, 9%, said their expectations had improved over the previous seven days, slightly lower than in previous weeks.

Nine in ten charities, 89%, said they expected Covid-19 to reduce their income over the coming six months relative to pre-crisis plans. 

Nearly all of the respondents, 97%, said they’d taken some form of action in response to the financial challenges raised by the crisis. The most-cited response was the furloughing of staff and use of the government’s Job Retention Scheme, with 66% saying they had done this. 

Seeking funder flexibility on their spending plans, project delivery and reporting requirements was the second most common action.

‘This week’s survey shows no let up in the challenges for the sector’

Anoushka Kenley, research and policy director of Pro Bono Economics, said: “With incomes being squeezed and demand for support being elevated, we already know that UK charities face a very significant funding gap – around £10bn in the next six months according to our estimate. This week’s survey shows no let up in the challenges for the sector.

“There has been a marked increase in respondents saying they’ve applied for funding from the government’s rescue package, but this appears to have done little to change sentiment about either the scale of the problem being faced or the adequacy of the government response.

“It remains the case that nine in 10 charities expect Covid-19 to damage their ability to meet their objectives in the coming six months, more than half have cut back on their activities, and around one-in-ten expect to go out of business.”

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