Where charities should look for Covid-19 advice 

16 Mar 2020 Voices

Civil Society News has collated advice for charities dealing with Covid-19

The latest government advice tells people about what to do if they have symptoms of Covid-19, and updates the public on what action the government is taking.

NHS guidelines currently tell people to stay at home for seven days if they have a high temperature or a new, continuous cough. They say you do not need to call 111 unless you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, your condition gets worse or your symptoms do not get better after seven days.

The guidelines also offer travel advice and advice to avoid catching and spreading the virus. 

Umbrella bodies and regulators

The charity sector's umbrella bodies and regulators have issued some advice about keeping your charity running under lockdown conditions.


NCVO has published information intended to help organisations decide what actions that they may need to take in light of the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

The guidance also offers advice on how to protect staff, volunteers and visitors, as well as how to support beneficiaries and hold events.

NCVO has updated the advice on sick leave in line with the government’s current recommendations. The guidance also has a section on immediate actions to be taken in relation to managing finances, and a section on how insurance will be impacted.

Small Charities Coalition (SCC)

The SCC is continuing to update its website with information and resources for small charities and organisations. 

As small charities tend to have very close connections to their service users, the SCC states that it is important to remember that you should not put any of your own staff or volunteers at risk. It has also published advice on staffing and serving beneficiaries. 

SCC is running a helpdesk to address callers' queries and running a survey of small charities.

Institute of Fundraising (IoF)

The IoF has said that as much as possible, charities should try to avoid rushed or hasty decisions and adopt a full-team approach – it’s good practice to document decision-making and make sure that trustees are involved where appropriate.

Lots of charities will have fundraising events planned for the weeks and months ahead – you will need to make a case-by-case decision, taking into account all the relevant circumstances, as to whether to go ahead or cancel/postpone.

Fundraising Regulator 

The regulator says charities should make decisions to cancel or postpone an event on a case-by-case basis up until the day of the event, and factor its advice into the decisions you make. 

Charity Commission 

The Charity Commission has withdrawn guidance telling charities that they may need to report a serious incidents if they are seriously impacted by Covid-19. It published a news item correcting its advice.

Its latest advice is that any charity struggling to file its annual return should ask for an extension


Locality has published a blog, advising its members on how they can prepare for Covid-19.


NAVCA has a news page which states that there will be a key role for the voluntary sector nationally and locally to step up volunteer activity, to support the NHS and to provide additional services to vulnerable people in self isolation. 

NAVCA and other partners are gathering information on the capacity and readiness of local and national voluntary organisations that are not usually engaged in emergency response to be able to add their weight to the effort. 


Bond is working with DFID to clarify the guidance for those who hold grants or contracts funded by DFID.  Bond is also calling for DFID to allow flexibility for grantees so that they can respond to the situation as it unfolds.  

It is liaising with its members to understand how Covid-19 is impacting their humanitarian and development efforts. It has said that UK NGOs must have access to flexible funding as some of its members are struggling to cope with tackling the crisis both here in the UK and globally, but also because the virus is having a negative impact on their fundraising efforts, especially for those smaller charities reliant on income from community fundraising.

Its guidance can be found here.

Association of chairs (AC)

The AC has guidance on decision making and planning for chairs. 


More than 70 grantmakers have signed a statement promising to support charities during the coronavirus emergency. They said that they would be understanding of difficulties and be flexible on reporting requirements and how funding is used. 

Other organisations in the sector have also separately pledged support and are reportedly considering further ways of helping. 

Charities are advised to contact funders directly with any concerns. Further details can be found here.

The National Lottery Community Fund has also started reaching out to grantees, partners, and other vital civil society organisations to understand how it can support communities and the sector during Covid-19. The Fund aims to share what it learns over the coming period.

Sub-sector advice 

The National Eczema Society has offered advice on handwashing techniques for people with eczema and other skin conditions.

Young Minds has issued advice for anyone feeling anxious about the virus.

Mind has also offered information on what to do if you are worried about your wellbeing.

Carers UK has issued recommendations for carers.

Cancer charities have worked together to produce information on Covid-19 for anyone affected by cancer.

Diabetes UK has provided an updated information page for people living with diabetes. 

Age UK has also provided advice on how to stop the spread of the virus, and actions to take.

Asthma UK has released a blog post with advice for people with asthma.

What to keep an eye on

There are warnings about Covid-19 fraud and scams to be aware of. Action Fraud has issued a warning and information which is not specific to the charity sector.

There are also now more than 400 volunteer-led groups working to offer aid to people affected by the virus.

Here is a news hub with all the latest from Civil Society News on Covid-19.


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