Service delivery functions bear the brunt of charity job cuts, survey finds

25 Sep 2020 News

Charities are anticipating a tough winter and expect high demand, but many have scaled back their ability to deliver services, according to survey results out today. 

The latest Covid Charity Tracker was published today by Pro Bono Economics (PBE) in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Fundraising (IoF) and the Charity Finance Group (CFG). It finds that 43% of charities are expecting to make job cuts, either through redundancies or unfilled vacancies.

PBE has previously estimated that the charity sector will see its workforce reduce by 60,000.

Among those making job cuts, 59% expect service delivery functions such as helplines, events and training to take the biggest hit.

This was followed by the fundraising function, with 19% of respondents saying it would be that department which would see the highest proportion of job cuts. 

The survey was carried out before the government’s announcement of a new wage subsidy scheme, and received 224 responses. 

In the summer, PBE estimated that the sector faces a £10.1bn funding gap. Nearly half of respondents to the latest survey said they have revised down their financial forecasts over the last two months. 

Matt Whittaker, CEO of Pro Bono Economics, said: “While some parts of the economy are on the up after a tough first half of the year, charities have yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

“The updated jobs support package set out by the chancellor yesterday will likely provide some relief for the sector, but against a backdrop of an economic recession, and the looming tightening of lockdown, for many organisations it will do little to square the circle of rising demand for help and shrinking capacity – with very serious consequences for all of us.”

‘Our capacity to deliver is shrinking fast’ 

CFG and IoF called on the government to act to help the sector. 

Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of CFG, said: “The findings of our latest survey are not surprising but are deeply troubling. Social change organisations play an enormous role in our communities, providing crucial services to millions of people every day, nationwide.

“A significant number now face an increasingly uncertain future. Our capacity to deliver for both the short and long term is shrinking fast at a time it is never more needed. 

“We are calling on government to take action now to address the fragility of the organisations working at the heart of our communities; working on the frontline, helping to mitigate the worst effects of the Covid-19 crisis. We must ensure that charities and social enterprise are supported to meet the public need and sustain healthy communities.”

Peter Lewis, chief executive of the IoF, added: “This research further confirms the significant scaling back of charitable services and activities just when people across the UK need them most.

“Fundraised income continues to be hit despite the valiant efforts of our members and the fundraising community around the UK, and tragically many fundraisers are facing redundancy as their organisations are forced to make incredibly difficult decisions. Politicians and policy makers need to act now to safeguard vital charity-delivered services and activities around the UK.” 

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