NHS Charities Together did not “cannibalise” donations to other organisations, but attracted new donors or encouraged people to give extra, its chair said last week.
Ian Lush, chair of NHS Charities Together, was taking part in a Question Time style event at NPC’s conference last week, chaired by former Times journalist Greg Hurst.
Hurst asked: “Do you think other members of the audience sitting here will think you've come along and eaten all their lunch?”
Lush said: “I can see that if I was in a completely different part of the voluntary sector I might feel a lot of money has gone into the NHS.
“But equally, I would hope that what it showed is that there's a real appetite to support charities, across the health sector certainly, but also more broadly.”
Attracted new donors and volunteers
NHS Charities Together raised £155m through its appeal last year, which was then distributed to its members.
Lush said that campaign also attracted new volunteers “which is really encouraging” and that the support “showed that the British public are still very much interested in the work of charities”.
He added that many of NHS Charities Together’s donors were either new to giving or were giving extra.
“I don't actually think we cannibalised other people's money,” he said. “I think what we're probably doing is tapping into a general love and affection for the NHS. And people, a lot of our donors, we think were new donors or we're giving on top of their regular donations to other charities.”
‘Impossible to recreate’
Lush said the unique circumstances last year and the “phenomenon that was Captain Tom” meant it was “a coming together of circumstances which you couldn't artificially create”.
However, he said NHS Charities Together had been “fleet of foot” during the crisis.
“We responded rapidly to the growing interest in our work,” he said. “But we did have the support of the government in that very early on, towards the end of March it was agreed that it would be the official appeal for the NHS throughout the UK. And once we had that, that made all the difference.
“So you could say ‘right place right time’ but you could also say that we were agile in our response.”