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The issues charities are facing throughout the pandemic

Join Behavioural Experts Emotional Logic to find out how consumers feel about charitable giving now, how charities can adjust to the new normal, and learn from some charities who developed innovative new ways to raise support. Register for How to help your charity to master the new normal on Sep 25, 2020, 11:00 AM BST

Throughout the pandemic, the world has been upside down for every industry, but particularly for charities.

The director of fundraising at the Alzheimer’s Society has said, “Once it became clear that coronavirus would have a significant impact, our fundraising team worked out the possible effects, this ranged from almost no impact on income at all to several million lost.” With social distancing in place events being cancelled and people told not to leave the house, it quickly became clear that for charities and fundraising the consequences could be shocking. But how significant? And what can charities do to raise funds?

Donors are shifting to local charities

During these challenging months, the Institute of Fundraising has estimated that face-to-face fundraising alone could result in the loss of 800,000 supporters and hundreds of millions of pounds for charities in 2020-21.

The Charities Aid Foundation has been researching the pandemic to help inform the sector. At the end of April, CAF had asked charities about the number of donations they had been receiving – 53% said that donations had decreased since the start of the crisis whilst only 18% agreed that they had increased. For example, Oxfam's head of audience and strategic planning, Fee Gilfeather said, “in the week before shops closed, sales had dropped by approximately 20%, while donations of goods fell by around 10%.” This is slightly unsurprising as not only do people have less disposable income but that the cause areas they are giving to have changed since the crisis began.

Although people are restricting their finances, they were asked where they are likely to donate to in the next three months because of the coronavirus crisis. CAF's head of research, Susan Pinkney has said, "these results show us that just over one in five (22%) people say they will donate more to charity as a result of the crisis, but this is slightly offset by the 14% who say they will donate less." Around 40% are most likely to donate to the NHS and 34% to local charities over anything else given current circumstances.

People are wanting their donations to have a positive impact on the area around them.

Charities are moving online

Just like the rest of the world, the charity sector is having to upgrade their online functions to enable online donations and fundraising. COVID-19 has had a massive part to play in consumers carrying and using cash. In previous research conducted by CAF (2019): UK Giving 2019, they found that despite all the technological advances in society, over 50% of donations are still made via cash, however, this is bound to change and have an impact on charities.

The spread of COVID-19 is moving us towards being a cashless society in the UK, so how will this affect charities?

In CAF's June 2020 report, it was stated that overall 63% of charities could accept some form of digital donation – whether it be via their website (41%), an online platform (40%), or through contactless payments (24%). However, 23% of charities could not accept anything digitally at all, which is a major concern giving the number of people who aren't carrying cash on them. Those who cannot accept digital payment will struggle through the up and coming months, especially if they can't afford to upgrade their systems.

Nevertheless, coronavirus has been seen as an opportunity for a lot of charities to move forward with more online fundraising and to modernise their business.

Charities are worried about the future of their services

The length and scale of the coronavirus crisis cannot be predicted, meaning charities are stuck in an uncertain situation where they need to adapt and be prepared for plans to change all the time. CAF had asked how charities are feeling moving forward during the pandemic, and for 50% of organisations there has been no change but for 33% they were more hopeful for their charities future than they were a month ago, which is fantastic! However, 17% are less hopeful.

Although shops are reopening, charities are still fearful that they won't be able to meet consumer's needs with 42% believing they will have to reduce some of their services and 22% having a lack of volunteers because of COVID.

Whether you need insight to adjust your strategies for existing brands to the new normal or are thinking about launching new products we can help you get it right. Emotional Logic is a specialist behavioural insight agency and we offer a range of cost-effective research solutions to ensure your strategy connects with the constantly shifting needs of the consumer. Please get in touch for a free consultation.

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