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Hopefully leaders of small charities will have found a little time to enjoy a well-deserved break over the festive period, following what has been a torrid year for their sector. As a report published by one of the UK’s leading charitable foundations suggests, pressure in the New Year will only increase.


The report, Small Charities Responding to COVID-19, not only warns that leaders of small charities are in danger of burnout, but that the demand on them and their charities in 2021 shows little sign of abating.


Engaging The Most Vulnerable

2020 saw many charities offering increasingly innovative ways of engaging their most vulnerable clients in the face of social distancing requirements. However, the report suggests, “Charities offering counselling support most frequently report clients deferring support until it can be provided face-to-face, creating a backlog among existing clients alongside the expected increase in new clients”. The danger of this is that delays in the provision of support are likely to lead to problems for the most vulnerable escalating, and resulting in crisis. Thus meaning small charities will be needed more than ever in the coming year to provide increased resilience to a clearly struggling health and social care system.


The Need To Secure Core Funding

The report also highlights that most charities have seen a big drop in reserves, and whilst it could be said that this is what reserves are for, most charities will understand that the use of reserves can only ever be a short-term solution. Therefore, a focus on building core income is likely to be key throughout 2021.


Indeed, Paul Streets, Chief Executive of the Lloyds Bank Foundation, said, “To ensure small charities can help people and communities to build back better, we need national and local government, alongside independent funders, to commit to providing the funding for core costs they need.” 


Here at Underwood Consulting we couldn’t agree more. Whilst many funders responded quickly and generously at the outset of the pandemic, our clients continue to tell us they desperately need core funding to maintain their operations, in the face of increasing cost pressures and continued uncertainty.


Underwood Consulting supported several charities last year to bring in much needed core funding to secure their future and looks forward to supporting others to achieve the same in 2021.