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  • Stuart Chell

COVID-19 Fundraiser's Digest - 2


At some point today, most charities and fundraisers will have asked the question, “where am I supposed to find the extra money to cover the costs of COVID-19?”


The answer is not immediately apparent.


However, if we look at other significant events that have impacted the charity sector, such as the Grenfell Tower fire and the 2008 Recession, we should feel some comfort that funders responded quickly and helpfully.


If these past crises are to be taken as an example of what may happen, we should expect support to come in waves over the next few months to help us manage the unfolding challenges that the Coronavirus will present.


It is therefore crucial that you monitor the available funding closely and have plans in place to be able to submit funding applications quickly. The deadlines are likely to be tight, especially as the public begin to place pressure on funders to get donations to where they are needed expediently.


From the various press releases made by the major funders, it seems that they are working hard to launch these first funding streams in the next five to ten working days. No small feat given we have the unique challenge that the virus has also disrupted our funders.


The first wave of funding will likely have two priorities:


1. Help charities support those suffering - the most effective way to support the worst impacted by the Coronavirus is to put money in the hands of pre-existing community-based charities.


2. Keep charities afloat - the work that charities were conducting pre-pandemic is still important, and funders will want to ensure this continues through the crisis and afterwards.


The first of this funding to be announced includes:


Money Saving Expert - https://blog.moneysavingexpert.com/2020/03/i-m-making-p1m-available-to-fund-urgent-small-charity-coronaviru/ - deadline 25th March - Funds for grassroots charities tackling the impact of COVID-19 in their community - grants of £5k to £20k.


Community Foundation Northern Ireland - https://communityfoundationni.org/grants/coronavirus-community-fund/ - ongoing deadline - Charities in Northern Ireland helping elderly people isolated by Coronavirus - grants of £1k to £2.5k.


National Lottery Community Fund - https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/ - ongoing deadline - they have made it clear that they are working hard to keep money flowing into the sector throughout the pandemic - up to £10k available.


National Emergency Trust - https://nationalemergenciestrust.org.uk/coronavirus/ - will be announcing how to apply for funds through local community foundations from 23rd March - find your local community foundation (e.g. https://www.communityfoundation.org.uk/coronavirusfund/ and https://lancsfoundation.org.uk/) and monitor their website for further details.


London Funders - https://londonfunders.org.uk/our-blog/new-emergency-support-fund-announced-help-community-and-voluntary-organisations - £2m in emergency funding for charities in London in crisis as a result of Coronavirus outbreak - details to be announced next week.


Esmee Fairbairn - https://www.esmeefairbairn.org.uk/coronavirus---reassurance-for-those-we-fund - new funding strategy in May to help with COVID-19, current funding streams will close 3rd April.


Government support - the Government have announced a wide range of support packages for businesses. They have not expressively said which of these measures charities may be able to access. The NCVO has effectively posed this question to them, and we are expecting a reply next week.


In many ways, we need to let the dust settle for a week. In the meantime, we would recommend that you:


1. Allocate resource to researching and writing funding applications - the grant situation is going to move quickly, and the deadlines will be tight. There is also likely to be lots of public scrutiny on how money is spent, meaning funders will want to do their due diligence.


2. Use the next week to understand your need - this is the time to articulate as well as you can the short and long term financial impact on your charity. Also, be sure to understand how this will affect your ability to deliver programmes and in turn, how it will affect your beneficiaries.


3. Be clear how you will play your part in helping at this time of national need - funders will understand that there will be lots you cannot do, but this is not the time to do nothing. We all need to be resourceful and think about how we can help. Have your response mapped out and work out how much money you need to deliver your proposed response so that you are ready to write your funding applications in the coming weeks.


There is lots to be done. Take things day by day. We will soon hear from the funders on how they intend to respond. Use this time to prepare yourself so that you are ready to partner with them.

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