“We’ve done our bit”: charitable giving and COVID-19

So many of us have turned to causes and charitable organisations that have had direct involvement in the fight against COVID-19, but does this mean that we’ll be less inclined to give over the coming months? The following question was submitted to our Recovery Hub:


Finally, you lie awake at night wondering if… people who’ve supported during covid-19 will consider themselves as having ‘done their bit’ to support charities (or NHS or their local communities) and will be less inclined to give over the coming months and even years.


Our Head of Fundraising Innovation, Brad French shares his thoughts.

There is little evidence that supporters will consider themselves as having ‘done their bit’ and make a conscious decision not to give over the coming months or years. In terms of attitude towards charity, studies have shown that people remain committed towards the causes that are important to them. Research from Bluefrog Fundraising has found that even supporters who have been hit financially are remaining remarkably generous. Further evidence from previous periods of crisis also suggests that public support increases; for example recessions, oil shocks and World Wars in the USA have caused spikes in giving.

However, unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that charities have no reason to be concerned about the future. Whilst people are likely to continue to want to support charities, the economic challenges many will experience in the coming months and possibly years will mean that many can’t provide the support they would like to. In particular, it is likely that regular donations will continue to fall, as people aim to take control of their finances. Though those cancelling regular donations may be willing to support in other ways.


Donr — "We've done our bit": charitable giving and COVID-19 1

A further challenge to charities may be that many people are supporting causes not previously considered as charities, most notably the NHS. Whilst NHS Charities Together is a registered charity, many donating have been considering their donation as to the NHS itself rather than the charity. There has also been a consideration that individuals may be encouraged to donate to save small businesses, such as independent shops and restaurants. This trend has not yet emerged, but may do so when government support for businesses is scaled down later in the year. All of this means that charities may have to compete for donations alongside a larger pool of organisations, which could dilute the amount each organisation receives.

This will certainly be a very challenging period for charities. If you are concerned about maintaining support during and after the pandemic, there is a wonderful blog from Nikki Bell which advises on building relationships with supporters during this period. Furthermore, this article from Howard Lake gives more general advice on fundraising during the pandemic.

Explore our Recovery Hub here

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