Yesterday, NCVO released their updated ‘Counting the Cuts’ report, which examines government funding cuts to the voluntary sector, and predicts a potential drop in funding of 15% by 2017/8, which translates to £1.7bn.
This steep decline however, is one of the ’best case scenarios’ – i.e. if cuts are proportionate to over all budgetary cuts at local authorities. Should cuts be disproportionate – as they already are at 50% of councils responding to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request – the sector could lose as much as £2.1bn from government.
NCVO’s study uses OBR economic forecasts, charity accounts data and data obtained directly from local authorities as part of a Freedom of Information (FoI) campaign. The analysis and estimates focus on three possible scenarios – proportionate cuts to charity funding, disproportionate cuts, and a ‘contract winning scenario’.
The following diagram may make grim reading for many of our Back Britain’s Charities supporters:
The NCVO say that they compile this data because government fails to provide reliable figures on charity/voluntary sector expenditure…
In order to debate this very issue, the Back Britain’s Charities campaign are holding an event in Parliament on the 10th June.
The event, entitled “Cuts in the Community: Can councils justify disproportionate reductions in charity funding?”, will be asking the following questions amongst many others:
- Are the councils that are cutting charity funding merely playing politics or have austerity measures left them with little choice?
- Do charities need to innovate in order to truly earn the funding they get?
- Is Government doing enough to ensure small and medium-sized charities aren’t muscled out?
- Are charities always in a better position to meet the needs of their local communities?
The format will be of a panel event with representatives from local government, central government and charity, followed by a lively 45minute Q&A session.
Places are now extremely limited due to the overwhelming popularity of the topic, but if you would like to enquire regarding the last few places or be added to the cancellations list, please just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is destined to be a great event and we’ll be sure to document it in full on the blog next month!
This morning NAVCA released the results of their quarterly survey of their members, and the results echo many of the concerns voiced by charities as part of the Back Britain’s Charities campaign.
Amongst the headline figures, NAVCA found that almost half of their members were reducing staff and that the majority of survey respondents predicted that their local authority would have a negative impact on their success in the year ahead.
What is more, chiming in with the statistics from the latest in the Managing In a Downturn series of reports (PwC, the Charity Finance Group & the Institute of Fundraising) which revealed that 67% of charities have reported an increase in demand for services, for the fourth time the NAVCA survey found that an increased workload is the biggest issue for voluntary sector respondents.
During the course of the Back Britain’s Charities campaign, we’ve been referring to the ‘triple whammy’ effect on charity finances – namely, the 20% drop in individual donations (as reported in UK Giving 2012), cuts to local government funding up and down the country, and the increasing demand for services. These circumstances – both individually and in combination – have been responsible for ramping up the pressure on organisations who were already struggling to cope in the wake of the economic downturn.
We’re regularly in receipt of testimonials submitted via our website and through correspondence, that corroborates the evidence that has been found in recent surveys like this latest one by NAVCA, and in our own research. Stories of charities having to turn the lights off, or the heating down, in order to make ends meet, of local community groups having to let loyal volunteers go, and of small organisations providing niche services – such as support for the victims of domestic violence – having to close down completely.
We also hear more motivational tales of the real value charities bring to our communities and lives. Respite care for the mums and dads of disabled children, the provision of meals-on-wheels for the elderly, organisations ensuring that there is food and shelter to those who have fallen upon hard times. These are things that we can’t afford to lose – both in terms of the services they provide, and in terms of the fundamental values they bring with them.
Considering all of the above, we can easily see that there is a clear need for a campaign like Back Britain’s Charities in order to galvanise the sector, and make sure that these issues are tackled properly so that we don’t face a future without the valuable contribution that charities make for the benefit of us all.
Know someone else who would like to Back Britain’s Charities? Why not sent them the link!www.backbritainscharities.org.uk
Payroll Giving in Action (PGA) backs Britain’s charities and wants to encourage the business community to promote payroll giving online as an easy way to show how much they also want to Back Britain’s Charities. Here PGA’s Director, Jeremy Colwill, describes how payroll giving could be a key tool in the survival of charities…
With charity funds being hit across the country due to the recession, we all need to get behind payroll giving and encourage people to give tax efficiently. Donating a few quid a month off the payroll is an easy way to automate giving and ensure that the charity gets the maximum tax gain too.
HM Government recently consulted the payroll giving sector to engage with all the major stakeholder groups involved with promoting and growing the payroll giving market in the UK.
The outcomes are still very unclear at the moment but it is unlikely the government will have any funds to significantly boost payroll giving, and therefore inflate charity incomes. A majority of people in the payroll giving sector want the HM Government backed Quality Mark and for the National Payroll Giving Excellence awards to continue, and to that end would urge the Government to not go back on their commitment to promote payroll giving as initially outlined in their recent Green and White papers on the subject.
However, regardless of Government action, it is still possible for the charity sector to help itself to generate payroll giving income by accessing the payroll giving scheme online or via mobile internet. As much as £118m was raised among the 735,000 workers who signed up to the scheme last year, and thought the total amount pledged over the last few years has only been increasing slowly, the amount of people donating online through the payroll has increased dramatically with a 100% increase in some cases.
Payroll giving is already the easiest way for employers to promote and employees to support their favourite charities on a regular and tax-free basis. For many employees, the time savings are great as it means no more paper forms to fill in and the freedom to give, amend or cancel donations at a convenient time.
The gathering momentum of payroll giving online means that we expect to achieve £10 million extra donations for Britain’s charities within the next 12 months, but the figure could be much higher if all employers with over 500 employees promoted the scheme and all charities had payroll giving as an option on their website. It’s a win-win situation for charities, employers and donors.
Payroll Giving in Action is now offering every UK charity a free Giving Online donation page to recruit payroll giving donations from their website. And if the donor’s employer doesn’t have a payroll giving scheme, we will ask the employer to set up a scheme to Back Britain’s Charities!
If more people can easily support a charity through payroll giving then it’s another large step forward for Britain’s charities.
See more information at www.payroll.givingonline.org.uk
David Carey of Creating Sustainable Organisations, a Community Interest Company (CIC), gives his impression of the current situation for charities and how he sees it ultimately impacting upon the rest of society…
At this crucial time when the welfare reform is likely to affect some of the most vulnerable in society, and the number of people turning to food banks may triple within a year, why have local authorities decided to cut essential core funding to the voluntary and community sector? Surely, the need to support the work of the third sector has never been so important, and the timing of council funding cuts could not have come at a worst time?
Recently, Sir Merrick Cockell, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said local authorities will have lost a third of their budget by 2015 and councils will be brought to their knees. However, any councils that disproportionately slashing core funding to the voluntary sector will seriously threaten the essential support these organisations deliver for many thousands of vulnerable people who rely upon their services.
The true value of the work done by third sector organisations across the country has always been valued very highly by local councils, and the importance of this work has surely increased under the present austerity measures and not decreased.
As councils move away or stop funding voluntary sector groups in favour of procurement and tendering for contracts, perhaps the question we should be asking is whether councils have provided enough knowledge and support to ensure a smooth and non-problematic transition. Also in light of these changes, we should ask if councils should have maintained core funding procedures and kept the same monetary levels in place anyway volatile time, especially as some parts of essential third sector work do not always fit easily within the structures of the tendering and procurement processes.
The Big Society is based upon empowering communities, redistributing power and fostering a culture of volunteerism. The community and voluntary sector has always empowered communities by the outstanding work they do, day-in and day-out. However, if the same organisations are struggling with core funding due to cuts, they have less grant funding monies available to apply for, and they are also being told to use new funding application procedures, it is indeed a triple whammy.
Not surprisingly organisations will strive tirelessly to deliver essential services to the neediest people in society, so perhaps everyone should be working together to support Britain’s charities as they work to support their service users who need our maximum support at this most important time.
Would you like to write for the Back Britain’s Charities blog? You can do – just email email@example.com for more details!
This Sunday thousands of inspiring charity heroes will hit the highways and byways of London to play their part in the largest fundraising event on earth – the Virgin London Marathon. Here we pay homage to just a few of those fantastic folk who are prepared to brave the blood, sweat, tears and blisters in order to raise funds for a worthwhile cause…
All the way from Dundee a group of friends will don their national dress – the kilt – as they attempt the 26.2mile race for Action For Children Scotland. One of the team told the Dundee Courier:
“Choosing to raise money for Action for Children Scotland has really kept us motivated. The work which they do with vulnerable and neglected children is vital and they transform the lives of families and communities across the country.
We will be wearing our kilts with pride this Sunday so watch out for our tartan crossing the finishing line.”
Helen Nutter from Droitwich is running the marathon for a charity that helped her as a child after she developed a chronic blood condition. The 19 year old told the Droitwch Spa Advertiser:
“WellChild supports sick children and their families, whatever their illness, particularly by providing specialist WellChild nurses to enable children to be at home with their family rather than having lengthy stays in hospital.
Fortunately I have been fit and well since and am really pleased to be part of the WellChild team.
I am getting a bit nervous now, but training has been going well and I am really looking forward to the big day – I might even get a personal best. More importantly I hope to raise as much as possible for WellChild.”
Two weight-busting pals from Wakefield will also be joining the crowds of runners, whilst raising money for the Meningitis Trust. Sisters Annette Edwards and Donna Barras have lost an enormous 10 stone between them and were featured in an article about local runners (including Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls MP) in the Wakefield Express.
A runner from Suffolk hopes that Sunday is the beginning of his paralympic ambitions, as well as an opportunity to raise funds for his chosen charity – Feet First Worldwide. Tom Haslam, who was born with a club foot, told the East Anglian Daily Times:
“The club foot has not stopped me, in fact I think it probably motivates me more. In May I’m going to be taking part in the Eastern Region Disabled Athletics Championships. I’d like to see if I could get classified as a paralympic runner in time for Rio in 2016.”
Super-fit Swansea couple Jeff and Sarah Partridge will be running for the Ray Gravell and Friends Charitable Trust, in spite of safety fears following the horrifying incidents during Monday’s marathon in Boston, USA. Father of two, Jeff, spoke to thisissouthwales.co.uk, “”We will think of the people of Boston as we run on Sunday as well as the thousands of good causes who continue to benefit because of these great sporting events and this is our motivation.”
And finally, a policeman from Haringey in London will take on one of the most challenging runs around wearing a weighty donkey costume in order to raise money and awareness for SPANA – the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad. Game Special Constable Nic Van Gelder told the Tottenham & Wood Green Journal:
“People think I’m crazy to be doing the marathon with a two-and-a-half-stone costume weighing down on me, but it’s nothing compared to what some working animals in developing countries are forced to carry for miles every day of their lives”.
These phenomenal fundraisers, and the many thousands that will join them on Sunday, should be applauded for the marvellous contribution they’re making to charity coffers at a time when donations are down. We wish them all a huge GOOD LUCK – they really are Backing Britain’s Charities!
Recently we’ve been keeping you up-to-date with the progress of the campaign and particularly when Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum have signed up to Back Britain’s Charities in order to demonstrate their support for the sector.
The eagle-eyed twitterers amongst you may have noticed that on Wednesday afternoon Twitter afficionado and renowned actor-presenter, Stephen Fry, gave a very welcome endorsement of the Back Britain’s Charities on his extremely popular Twitter feed. The tweet, which was broadcast to his 5.6 million followers read as follows -
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) April 3, 2013
As you might expect, Stephen’s tweet successfully piqued the interest of the Twittering public and consequently we had lots of extra visitors to the site and lots of additional sign-ups! If you happen to be on Twitter, you can still retweet Stephen’s message and help spread the word about Back Britain’s Charities!
On top of this support, we’re also thrilled to report that breakfast television presenter and TV personality Lorraine Kelly has also championed the campaign. Lorraine said -
“Back Britain’s Charities is a great campaign promoting the fantastic work charities do in our communities.
“It’s so important that we don’t forget these organisations, especially in tough times. Though many people won’t have the means to give more money to charity, by giving regularly we can at least help charities to budget and plan for the future.
“Charities touch our lives in so many ways, and often we don’t even realise it. It’s really important that we all stand together to Back Britain’s Charities, and protect this incredibly valuable part of our society”
It goes without saying that we pleased and proud that these public figures are prepared to speak out about the Back Britain’s Charities campaign and promote it to the public. We are equally delighted that scores of charities, businesses and ordinary individuals have also made concerted efforts to push out the message that we need to ‘Back Britain’s Charities’ in these difficult times. A great number of you have tweeted, written to your local MP, given us some publicity in your charity newsletters & community magazines, and even blogged on the website to share your story.
To you we also want to say a huge THANK YOU and urge you to continue your fantastic work!
If you have any thoughts, comments or ideas about the campaign then do feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Similarly, if you are in a position to distribute any Back Britain’s Charities campaign literature we would love to hear from you!
Charities are doing fantastic work across the country that touches the lives of ordinary people and provides vital lifelines to many of society’s most vulnerable. Due to the economic climate, however, many of these charities are struggling financially…
We need YOU to give your support in order to highlight the plight of charities and make sure that they can continue their vital work of helping others. It’s really worrying that:
- Between 2010/11 and 2012/13 the total amount donated by people to charity fell by 20%
- Last year the number of people using Gift Aid declined for the first time since it was introduced
- A survey showed that 40% of charity sector workers are worried that their charity may have to close
- More than a quarter of charities have already cut frontline services
- This year Britain dropped three places (down to 8th) in the annual World Giving Index
Mentions across the national media…
Over 700 charities and organisations signed up to support…
With over 20 Parliamentary supporters from all parties, Back Britain’s Charities is a campaign that even our politicians can agree on!
“The Back Britain’s Charities campaign has been set up to ensure that charities can continue to survive in these difficult times, a goal that I think we can all support” – Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society
“It is getting harder and harder to support my local charity, Carers Lewisham. I am a carer with a disabled son and now I’m a trustee of Carers Lewisham. They saved my life with their support and backing and I now want to give something back. Lets hope this campaign can grow and grow. We need charities, they do so much and support so many people in so many different ways. Good luck”– Jacqui Cook (Mum of disabled son, Joe), Carers Lewisham
“Carphone Warehouse backs Britain’s Charities and urges the business community and general public to do the same. It’s so important charities aren’t forgotten in these tough economic times. Many vital services are suffering from a reduction in government funding and fall in donations, at the same time as facing an increasing demand for their services. We have to stand together to protect these cornerstones of our communities. Through our corporate responsibility programme we donate, and our people raise, hundreds of thousands of pounds a year for charity and we are fully committed to supporting a vibrant and varied civil society” – Carphone Warehouse
Last week New Philanthropy Capital released their report Money for Good UK, which looks at philanthropic behaviours in the UK. The study revealed some interesting patterns from across the country – and the results might not be quite what you expected.
Those in more affluent areas giving proportionately less than those in deprived regions of the country? Generous Scots and stingy Southerners? This polling suggests that some Brits have developed something of a cavalier attitude towards charitable giving in general, with most failing to see giving as a ‘duty’.
According to an article in the Guardian, concerns are now becoming focused on the behaviour of the charity sector as the general public say they’re unconvinced that their donations are making a real difference at the service delivery end. The NPC report suggests that this could be discouraging them giving anything up to an additional £700m each year.
Obviously this is bad news for a sector that is suffering financially. We all know the circumstances – cuts to government funding, drops in individual giving and increased pressure on services. These are not great times for charities.
Though Friday’s record breaking Comic Relief served as a reminder of just how generous we can be as a nation, it is also important that charities are reflective and consider ways in which they can get the maximum impact from the funding and donations they receive, whilst maintaining the quality of the work that they do. This is the essence of the fifth ‘ask’ of the Back Britain’s Charities campaign.
According to the Guardian article, “the [NPC] report calls on charities to tackle two main areas of underperformance identified by donors: the charities’ evidence of impact and explanation about how donations are used”.
To this end, Back Britain’s Charities urges organisations to sign-up to the Inspiring Impact coalition – a movement to standardise the ways in which charities and voluntary sector organisations collect and use data in order to increase efficiency and maximise fundraising opportunities.
If charities want to grow donations, it is clear that they will need to grow trust, and that may well have to come with a step change in the way that the sector measures its value and expresses its financial accountability. Indeed, as the sector is forced to evolve, it seems they will also have to face the conundrum of both delivering, and proactively demonstrating, value if they wish to attract and sustain reliable funding.
Sometimes in life we have the motivation, but not the means – that’s why the excellent Give More have created the Give Guide, a varied and innovative directory of the ways that people can help good causes. Many of which are somewhat unorthodox…
For example, have you ever considered micro-volunteering from your desk during lunchtime? Been sponsored to work out? Dined at a social enterprise restaurant? Would you give while you shop or consider a charitable wedding list? There is certainly plenty here to inspire the charitable-at-heart.
Aside from the creativity of these ideas though (which sit alongside tried and tested ways of making a difference, like giving to charity shops and regular volunteering), there is a real and practical role for such ingenuity in keeping the sector afloat and effective.
Mobilising resources, tapping into untapped sources of income and leveraging the free time of the general public – this is what the Give Guide aims to do, and it really is more important than ever in light of discouraging statistics emerging from the UK Giving report that launched the Back Britain’s Charities campaign. Of course, we need to see an pick-up in charitable donations after the recent 20% slump uncovered by the report, but we also need to realise that without promoting and valuing the work that charities do this just won’t happen.
The Give Guide suggests positive, direct and often pretty hands-on actions that appeal to those who appreciate the importance of community, charity and lending-a-hand. By doing this, they are going someway toward re-introducing charity into everyday life, and this reconnect could re-enthuse the general public – and particularly young people – about charity and the value it brings to all of our lives.
Why does it appeal? Partly because it’s modern. It’s about charities and the mechanics of donations adapting to the increasingly busy lives of individuals. The breadth of choice is impressive too, and would allow any individual to put together a bespoke giving ‘package’ that appeals and works for them in terms of the practicalities of their life and work.
It is also inspiring, in that it is proof that other motivated and switched-on people are already out there trying to give support to the voluntary sector in a plethora of new and exciting ways. And ‘new’ and ‘exciting’, it could be argued, are two words many charities should be working hard to affiliate themselves with…
In the age of the technological novel, the virtual society and under the influence of a new make-do-and-mend mentality, the Give Guide could well be the ‘first folio’ when history books are written about the evolution of charitable engagement in the new century. At the moment it serves as a fantastic reference for those who’d like to do more.
Enterprise Manager Charles Rapson from Colebridge Enterprises – supporters of Back Britain’s Charities – writes about how his organisation has learnt to adapt and identify need in the West Midlands.
Colebridge Enterprises is a social enterprise which has provided work experience and training to adults with learning disabilities at our industrial unit in Chelmsley Wood for the past 25 years. Recently we’ve had two significant challenges to face. Firstly, funding for adult social care is changing and being reduced and means that our longer term sustainability is under threat. Secondly, we had a growing dissatisfaction that, whilst we were doing a good job preparing learning disabled clients for employment, we were in danger of preparing them for disappointment. There were not enough suitable jobs in the area to satisfy the need. What we needed was a different business model.
The opportunity to create a new model came about as a direct result of participating in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Growth Programme at Aston Business School. There I met another participant (a private sector business) who was dealing with capacity problems due to rapid growth in his company, Automotive Insulations, based in Rugby. We got talking during one of the modules about our respective organisations and challenges and quickly realised that one persons problem could be another’s solution.
On 1st October last year, Colebridge Enterprises started sub contract outsource assembly work for Automotive Insulations. Just a few months down the line and these arrangements are working extremely well, 9 jobs have been created at Colebridge; most of these going to adults with a learning disability and others going to people who have been unemployed for a long period. These were referred to us from another of our projects, Skills For Jobs, which supports people get back into work.
We now have a very different and more sustainable operation that has the potential for significant growth over the next year or so and, therefore, a reason to be optimistic in spite of the difficult financial climate facing the voluntary sector.
Do you have a story for Back Britain’s Charities? Get in touch at email@example.com