Finance and fundraising strategies will need to incorporate physical distancing and you may need to budget for increased costs and review income forecasts.
You may need to consider your reliance on street or public collections, sponsorship and fundraising events, and the potential financial impact on trading subsidiaries.
As stock prices have fallen, investment income and the value of pension schemes could be impacted. Look at your assets and reserves and take professional advice where appropriate. Your board may want to consider a more flexible approach to using any restricted reserves the organisation has.
VAT deferral ‘New Payment Scheme’
The government announced on 24 September that it will give businesses which deferred VAT due in March to June 2020 the option to spread their payments over the financial year 2021-2022. Rather than paying in full at the end of March 2021, businesses will be able to choose to make 11 equal instalments over 2021-22. All businesses which took advantage of the VAT deferral can use the New Payment Scheme. Businesses will need to opt in, but all are eligible. HMRC will put in place an opt-in process in early 2021 and further details will be provided when it is published.
You may have continued to fundraise using digital tools or applied for grants during lockdown but as restrictions ease, many charities will be looking to restart public fundraising activities. Below you will find top tips for restarting your fundraising and the Resources section includes further guidance. The guidance does not cover when to restart fundraising as this is a decision that individual organisations will need to make based on their own situation.
We have details of coronavirus response funds from both the Scottish Government and Independent Funders in our Funding section.
10 Top Tips for Restarting Fundraising
- Keep up to date with official Scottish Government guidance that may affect your fundraising activity.
- Decide on the right time to resume fundraising. Staff may have been furloughed or volunteers have been shielding so you should consider the resources you have available and the type of activity planned. You should only restart fundraising when it is right for your organisation.
- Carry out risk assessments and be transparent on the measures you have put in place to keep people safe. The Health and Safety Executive have risk assessment templates.
- Train fundraisers on new approaches before restarting fundraising. Ensure that everyone involved understands new safety measures and processes before restarting fundraising.
- When fundraising in public, observe social distancing guidance. This may mean limiting the number of fundraisers or event attendees. If fundraising in a public area which becomes busy, you should reposition your staff or volunteers safely whilst also meeting the requirement of any Site Management Agreement.
- Maintain good sanitation practices. Staff and volunteers should wash their hands as often as practically possible and use hand sanitiser. Try to restrict the use of shared equipment and wash/sanitise hands before and after touching objects which others may have had contact with.
- Community and event fundraising should take place in accordance with Government guidelines. You should carry out individual risk assessments for events and ensure all social distancing and sanitation practices are in place.
- Ensure that any staff member or volunteer self-isolates if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or has received a positive test result.
- Continue to adhere to the Code of Fundraising Practice which sets the standards that apply to fundraising carried out by all charitable institutions in the UK. Some members of the public may still be anxious about interacting with others so check that they are happy to talk with you and be respectful about personal space.
- Consider other forms of fundraising you could use, particularly whilst social distancing restrictions remain in place. As less people will be using cash, do you have other ways to collect public donations such as contactless card payments? Are you using digital and virtual fundraising tools?
Cancelling or Postponing Events
The Institute of Fundraising have issued ten top tips for events fundraisers dealing with the impact of coronavirus.
The Fundraising Regulator has information on cancelling or postponing events. Section 11 (Events) of the Fundraising Code includes a section on event cancellation and contingency plans, including the possibility of refunding donations.
If your event is cancelled you may need to refund donations – this will depend on the conditions under which the donation was made. You may need permission from OSCR to issue a refund. Section 2.3 of the Code includes more information.
If you have been set up to host a specific event which is specified in your governing document, OSCR recognise that it may not be possible to run the event if restrictions remain in place. They do not expect you to seek permission to postpone.
VisitScotland have produced guidance for the events sector with information on restarting events and considerations for event communications. Much of the guidance can be applied to fundraising events.
Most types of trading have been negatively impacted by the crisis, but options are opening up again as we begin to recover.
Increasing numbers of charitable organisations are considering different ways to add to their income mix, and enterprise can offer a number of benefits:
- Generating unrestricted funds
- Creating training and employment opportunities
- Increasing volunteer positions available
- Opportunities for partnerships and collaborations
- Wider reach and public awareness
However, trading income is not a silver bullet and often requires investment, alongside the right mindset and capabilities within your staff team. You may also need to consider your legal structure and charitable purposes and if trading activity can sit within that, or if you’d prefer a trading subsidiary.
If you decide that you would like to further explore how developing your income streams to include trade could benefit your charity, visit Just Enterprise to register for one to one support.
An independent and expert consultant will work with your organisation from generating ideas, or evaluating and prioritising them, carrying out feasibility studies and income models, to helping with marketing and reaching customers.
The Institute of Fundraising have a dedicated section on their website with comprehensive information about
fundraising and coronavirus. This includes guidance on restarting fundraising after lockdown,
information for the different fundraising disciplines, and research on the impact coronavirus has had
on the sector.
by Institute of Fundraising
Charities SORP have published guidance for trustees and preparers of charity accounts looking at the potential impact
of the control measures to contain COVID-19 on financial reporting by charities. The guidance considers the
implications for the trustees’ annual report, going concern and the alternative basis to going concern when
preparing accounts under the SORP.
by Charities SORP Committee
SCVO offer a free online funding search including grants, loans, prizes and other support.
by SCVO - Funding Scotland
The Networking Institute looks at how to manage the crisis and develop strategy whilst fundraising in challenging
by The Networking Institute
The report analyses the latest benchmark data and delves into key topics that are currently impacting organisations
across the sector, including COVID-19, voluntary income, adapting to virtual fundraising and working from
The Fundraising Regulator have published a blog covering the key points to consider to ensure a safe and responsible
return to fundraising.
by Fundraising Regulator
This guide from The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales highlights a number of key issues arising
from COVID-19 that may require consideration in connection with trustees’ annual reports and accounts for
by The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
A resource hub designed to support charities and social enterprises navigate COVID-19.
by Good Finance
CAF have information on the actions organisations can take to survive, tools to help them adapt and strategies for
them to thrive, both now and in the future.
by Charities Aid Foundation
Reason Digital have put together a handbook with tips and techniques to help boost your digital fundraising. It also
includes great examples of successful digital fundraising campaigns.
by Reason Digital
The Institute of Fundraising and THINK Consulting Solutions have produced a guide which takes you through the key
issues which many charities are facing. Topics covered include strategic planning, fundraising, digital, people
by Institute of Fundraising