As the weeks go on, we are all continuing to find new ways to keep connected and celebrate holidays and festivals together, such as Easter and Ramadan.

Charities are leading the way with some great fundraising ideas in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown. Last week saw Guide Dogs host a virtual tea party on National Tea Day, in an effort to make a Guinness World Record for the world’s biggest virtual tea party. Cancer Research UK has also launched a virtual version of Race For Life, its annual racing event, which last year raised £33 million. And last but not least, 41 of our ACS staff donned their trainers on Sunday morning to run the equivalent of nine-and-a-half London marathons to raise money for the UK Sepsis Trust!

Catch up with the latest charity news and updates in this week’s round-up.

Latest guidance 

  1. The Charity Commission has warned that charities are at increased financial risk during the coronavirus crisis and may be targeted by fraudsters, as the police report increases in coronavirus-related scams. In response, the Commission has published new guidance to help charities work through coronavirus-related financial difficulties. It emphasised the importance of trustees always considering the best interests of the charity and of communication with staff, volunteers and users. Click here to see the Commission’s latest guidance. We are on hand to help if your charity needs advice on using restricted funds and permanent endowment or cancelling and varying contracts.
  2. The Fundraising Regulator has also published new guidance for the public on what to consider when setting up a fundraising appeal. The guidance sets out a few key issues for fundraisers to consider – for example, working with existing charities where possible.
  3. Also this week, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Office for the Civil Society published a new webpage that put lots of helpful links to guidance for voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations in one place. 

For practical advice on the issues charities are facing, see our charities e-briefing, which contains a link to our guidance note.

Coronavirus-related funding for charities 

Following the Government’s announcement of its £750 million package for charities, Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has told a parliamentary committee that emergency grants could be distributed to charities as early as this week. The £350 million package for smaller charities (handled by the National Lottery Community Fund) would likely be staggered whilst the criteria for grants are fine-tuned. It is yet to be confirmed when the scheme for small charities will open though, and the Government has been criticised for “not moving swiftly enough” on coronavirus funds.

Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has called for the Government to use “radical ideas” to make £1 billion available for charities during the coronavirus crisis. This could include measures such as making Gift Aid automatic, nationalising the National Fund and the use of “living legacies" so that people can bring forward gifts to charities in their wills.

The National Emergencies Trust has distributed another £5 million of its coronavirus related funds. Distribution criteria include factors such as “levels of deprivation and demographics in each region”. Rather than applying directly to the National Emergencies Trust (NET), charities should apply to their local foundation for funding. Find your local Community Foundation here.

Businesses are also providing financial help and support to charities. Supermarkets have been donating millions to the Trussell Trust and FareShare. Aviva has donated £10 million to the British Red Cross, whilst HSBC has donated £1 million to the NET. Businesses have also teamed up to support charities and communities by launching new initiatives to get resources delivered to the right places.

Furloughing latest

The Chancellor has announced that the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended to last until the end of June, meaning that charities can continue to furlough staff until that time. Meanwhile, we are continuing to hear of charities using the scheme as much as they can. Girlguiding is to furlough more than half of its staff and the British Heart Foundation has furloughed around 80% of its staff, the majority of whom work in its charity shops. Christian Aid is also planning to furlough 20% of its UK staff whilst all other staff will work a four-day week.

See our employment e-briefing for more information about furloughing and who is eligible.

Further information

If you would like more details about anything in this newsletter please contact Sarah Tomlinson or your usual ACS contact.

Sarah is an Associate in the Charities and Social business team, with over 15 years’ experience and specialises in charity governance, regulatory issues and mergers. Out of the office (and when not in lockdown!), Sarah enjoys going to the theatre, is a school governor and does a lot of running around after her four children!