Submissions for the 2022 Charity Shop Survey close Friday!

Find out more and download the questionnaire here

Charities launch emergency appeals as funding 'vanishes overnight'

17 Mar 2020 News

Charities have launched emergency funding appeals because the coronavirus pandemic means that they face both a shortage of income and increased demand for their services.

Cancellation of events and travel means charities stand to suffer income drops and cash flow issues, with one charity saying it could lose between 40% and 80% of its yearly income. 

At the same time, some charities are already fundraising to increase their support to beneficiaries, especially older and more vulnerable people who will need to self-isolate over the coming weeks. could lose up to 80 per cent of its income is a small international development charity that launched a coronavirus emergency appeal yesterday.

The appeal says the charity has “limited financial reserves and a fast-growth strategy”. It was planning to grow its impact this year, but is now facing a “dramatic” loss in income.

The charity says that while it is difficult to know for sure and it is constantly reforecasting, it could lose “anywhere between 40% and 80%” of its turnover for the year, which was supposed to be around £850,000.

Ellie Dawes, fundraising and communications manager at, said: “We're reaching out urgently to our supporters with this appeal, because we've just seen the vast majority of our sustainable income sources vanish overnight. We're asking for donations but also contacts, ideas, any way in which our extended family may be able to help. 
“ has always aimed to raise more of our money from enterprise - that means quizzes, tours for tourists, fundraising at festivals, cycling trips to Africa. We know that the possibility of replacing a fraction of that income by reaching out to our small network of loyal supporters is very low - but we're exploring every opportunity at the moment, and every pound raised will help us mitigate the damage. 
“At the same time we're seeing a need to act to protect the communities we're working with in Kenya. We need to help vulnerable pregnant women with access to information and to essential maternal health services. We're working closely with the Kenya Ministry of Health to look at all the options for keeping mothers and babies safe and well, but it's getting harder for us to do so.”

Another small charity that is facing similar difficulties is Bone Cancer Research Trust, which issued a statement saying it will be launching an emergency appeal in the coming days.

The statement says that “following the cancellation and postponement of high-profile events such as the London Marathon, we are anticipating a short-medium term loss of income in excess of £390,000.”

In 2018, the charity reported an income of £1.4m.

Age UK Camden launches emergency appeal to support older people

Other charities are launching emergency appeals to keep up with the increasing need for their services.

Age UK Camden is one of them. Its appeal says the charity is “receiving a significant number of calls from older people in distress because they haven't enough food at home and are too nervous to go out”.

The appeal’s page on JustGiving has a target of £10,000, more than half of which has already been reached. The appeal was launched on 15 March.

Similarly, the London Irish Centre has launched a coronavirus St Patrick’s appeal to support the creation of a telephone helpline and to secure food deliveries to elderly and vulnerable people in the London Irish community.

The charity also had to postpone all its St Patrick’s Day events.

Muslim charity Crisis Aid has launched a coronavirus emergency fund. While the charity usually works internationally, this appeal will be focused on a UK-based response to the epidemic.

The appeal says the charity has organised a response team that “will be working around the clock checking on the elderly and vulnerable people making sure they have food, medication and monitoring their illnesses”.

This comes as an increasing number of foodbanks are facing shortages because of panic-buying and decreased donations.

Oasis, which runs a range of projects in 40 communities across the UK, has published a coronavirus response document saying it is prioritising its food projects and asking people to donate to support them if they can.

The charity says: “While some are stocking up on supplies, the many thousands of people accessing our food poverty projects around the country don’t have this luxury. Foodbanks are struggling to keep up with demand and receiving fewer donations, while essential food items such as pasta and loo rolls are flying off our supermarket shelves.”

For more news, interviews, opinion and analysis about charities and the voluntary sector, sign up to receive the Civil Society News daily bulletin here.

More on