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Financial sustainability Leadership Coronavirus

This is an emergency! CFG asks civil society to #MobiliseNotMothball and get behind its urgent message to government

Thousands of charities and social enterprises are now in serious financial difficulty, but there is hope, says Caron Bradshaw, CEO of Charity Finance Group: Join CFG’s campaign and call for an urgent government plan that is fit-for-purpose!

Post byCaron Bradshaw

Picture the scene; an urgent Zoom meeting. A plethora of spreadsheets forecast a dire financial position. An executive reports a spike in demand as a result of the announcement of a second lockdown.

The Head of Retail confirms that there have been good early results from re-opening, having made investments in being Covid-safe, but lockdown has switched off income.

The fundraising lead agrees – that although a switch to online has helped, it is merely scratching the surface of the fundraising gap.

The FD reports that the Chancellor has announced an extension to the CJRS and this lifeline may just save the charity.

But! Here is the rub; CJRS means the spike in demand cannot be met. The choice? Shut up shop to try and save the charity itself or struggle through and hope the hard work and plans will deliver survival.

After a short debate, the recognition that the beneficiaries will be left unsupported, if staff are placed on furlough, swings the decision.

Whilst a handful of the team can be furloughed this leaves services squeezed, staff over-worked and the funding gap still threatening to swallow the whole organisation. Financial uncertainty continues and the charity suffers the worst of both worlds.

Sound familiar? This is the unwelcome choice charities are making all over the UK. But it doesn’t have to be like this.

Please support our messages to government

We are urgently asking all charities, social enterprises and other organisations and individuals who support positive social change in the UK to throw their weight behind our new campaign.

We are calling on Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to develop an emergency plan for civil society.

Last week, CFG wrote to the Chancellor to urge him to work with us on a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) that is fit-for-purpose.

The letter was signed by 31 sector leaders on behalf of their organisations, including the Chartered Institute of Fundraising; Disability Rights UK; the Association of Charitable Foundations; Children England and Homeless Link, and many others representing thousands of charities.

Since we sent the letter, dozens more have added their names and pledged their support. The organisations and interests they represent are all different in their objectives, size, locations and reach, but all have the same concern:

A significant reduction in income in 2020 is leading to an alarming and detrimental decrease in service provision – at a time when it is #NeverMoreNeeded.

Due to a substantial loss of income since March 2020, charities and social change organisations are struggling financially. Some are on the brink of collapse. The very generous CJRS was designed with private enterprise in mind and does not work for social change organisations where the income and demand are not matched.

We do not maintain or increase our income as a result in responding to demand and so this scheme must be made fit-for-purpose for charities and other non-profits. The current scheme incentivises mothballing of provision, not mobilisation. We want to reverse that.

The sector wants to work with government as a matter of urgency on its Five-Point Plan. This would help secure the financial sustainability of thousands of social change organisations so that they can continue to support our citizens at their time of most need.

This isn’t about serving charities and social enterprises, it is about supporting the nation. Let’s not make our sector choose between survival and service – let them achieve both and play their critical part in a healthy society.

Support for our letter and plan has been strong so far. We are very grateful to those who have already signed up and backed our Five-Point Plan – thank you!

But we need more!

If you recognise the value of charities and other non-profit organisations, please add your name to our letter. You don’t have to be an employee, sector leader or trustee – our letter is now open to all to sign.

We have an easy-to-use sign up form* which you can complete in seconds. Alternatively, you can email us your name, job title and organisation’s name (if applicable).

Share why it's important to you

Support our message to government by sharing on social media that you have added your name to the campaign – tweet saying why you’ve signed it and use the hashtags #MobiliseNotMothball #NeverMoreNeeded #EveryDayCounts.

Share your experiences – and importantly those of the people and communities you support. Send this blog post to other contacts and organisations, ask them to sign and share too.

You can use your own communications channels (social media, news bulletins, blog, social media, magazines etc) to share a few words on why you are getting behind this message to government and, if successful, what it would mean for you and others.

Let’s get talking about why we need to #MobiliseNotMothball and ensure people get the support they need during their hour of need!

Let’s get the word out there!

 

More useful information

#MobiliseNotMothball on social media

If you’re looking to amplify the campaign on social media, use the hashtags #MobiliseNotMothball and #NeverMoreNeeded. Below are recent tweets on the campaign from CFG and other members of the coalition.

 

 

 

Our Five-Point Plan

The Five-Point Plan was launched earlier this year as part of our #NeverMoreNeeded campaign. If implemented partially or in full, it would strengthen the sector’s financial resilience and allow thousands of charities, social enterprises and community groups to be there for the millions of citizens who depend on them every day, not just today and next week, but well into 2021 too. You can read more about it here. Below are the five ‘asks’.

  1. Implementation of a fit-for-purpose Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  2. Introduction of the Gift Aid Emergency Relief Package
  3. Repurposing of and access to the National Fund to support charity services
  4. Ensuring effective and efficient distribution of the Shared Prosperity Fund
  5. Creation of a Community Wealth Fund using Dormant Assets

Our sector research

Alongside Pro Bono Economics and the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, we’ve been tracking the effects of Covid-19 on our sector for more than six months. Our latest research shows that charities now fear a cash crisis at Christmas.

NeverMoreNeeded

Earlier this year, CFG joined with other organisations to launch the #NeverMoreNeeded campaign. Together, we've been at the forefront of campaigning on the impacts of the pandemic on the charity sector. Find out more about the #NeverMoreNeeded campaign here.

Thank you for your support of our sector. Check back soon for updates!

 

* We using a Google form to collect basic information only. You do not need a Google account to sign the form and you will not be added to any groups or forums - owned Google or otherwise - by completing it. Your email address will not be shared, but we will add your name and, where applicable, job title and organisation to our open letter.

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