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We’ve made our member-only resources free to everyone because of the current situation. We think it’s important people have the guidance they need to run their organisations during this time.

If you want to find out more about how you can volunteer to help deal with coronavirus, see our volunteering and coronavirus page.

If you are looking for advice on coronavirus and your charity, please see our dedicated coronavirus page.

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Contingency planning and financial implications

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What you need to do to prepare for the potential impacts of coronavirus on your charity's or voluntary organisation's operations and finances.

Developing a contingency plan and how your insurance will be impacted

  • You need to plan for how your organisation will run if a significant proportion of staff or volunteers were unavailable. Who will make decisions about your operations, how and when? See also see the section on working from home.
  • Given the fast-changing situation, as far as possible, try to focus on the immediate future – over the next week or so – rather than trying to make firm plans based on what the situation might be beyond that.
  • This checklist from Trusted Supplier Zurich Insurance (PDF, 290KB) helps you think through some of the issues and plan for them. The Charities Facility Management Group has more information on how to develop a business continuity plan
  • Every insurance policy will have varying terms and conditions so you should check directly with your insurance company or broker. 

Immediate actions to manage your finances

The implications of covid-19 will create a financial crunch and charities should now do what they can to prepare for this. These are a few things you may want to consider.

  • Focus on cash flow management.
  • Know what your fixed costs are and when you will need to pay them.
  • Delay committing to any expenditure that you can.
  • Chase all outstanding debts.
  • Invoice for all services already delivered and then ensure that these invoices are paid.
  • If you are receiving funding, submit any required reports on time to make sure that you receive future instalments on time.
  • Talk to your bank manager and see if they will offer you an overdraft facility (even if you don’t need one right now).
  • If you have loan repayments the lender may be willing to delay the capital repayment.
  • Implement a recruitment freeze on all vacant posts.
  • The Charity Finance Group has compiled a guide for charity finance professionals which will be updated with new information and advice as the crisis unfolds.
  • Haysmacintyre are collating, analysing and providing insights on the various financial, tax and accounting measures and initiatives being announced.
  • Charities may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. You can call the HMRC on 0800 0159 559 but it may take some time to get through as demand is high.
  • If you are considering making use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to ‘furlough’ staff, Bates Wells have produced guidance.

What to expect from funders

We think funders should take a supportive and pragmatic approach to helping the organisations they fund throughout this period.

  • Speak to your funders about the impact of cancelling or delaying project activities which are part of funding agreements.
  • London Funders has released a joint statement, signed by an alliance of funders from across sectors, pledging to offer support to civil society groups affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The Association of Charitable Funders have encouraged funders to contact their grantees and discuss how they can best support them.
  • Arts Council England will refocus grant programmes to support artists and freelancers who have lost income.
  • The Blagrave Trust has written to grant holders to reassure them of their continued support and flexibility around awarded funding and how it can be used.
  • In addition to signing the London Funders’ joint statement, the City Bridge Trust is promoting a survey from London Plus to assess the impact of covid-19 on London’s civil society.
  • Esmée Fairbairn is offering flexibility with payments and reporting dates and is offering grants plus support.
  • The Garfield Weston Foundation is continuing to support its grantees and will be as flexible as possible regarding projects and timelines.
  • Good Finance has released a joint statement from social funders stating their continued support and flexibility for all the organisations that they invest in.
  • JRF is focusing its efforts to support people on low incomes by working closely with people with direct experience of poverty and listening to their concerns.
  • The National Lottery Community Fund will continue to honour their current commitments and will continue to be flexible with existing grants. But over the next six months they will prioritise covid-19 and charities that are best placed to support affected communities.
  • Nesta will continue to support grantees and will be flexible if grantees need to stop work or change the work they are doing.
  • The Paul Hamlyn Foundation are adjusting reporting requirements and/or suspending them.
  • The UK Community Foundations is looking to coordinate its network of community foundations and partners to respond to the impact covid-19 will have on those they support.
  • The William Grant Foundation has converted all existing revenue grants to unrestricted for the current year.
  • In Scotland the Corra Foundation will continue to support grantees.
  • The Community Foundation will offer emergency funding for community organisations in Northern Ireland to assist older people who have been affected by covid-19.

How your investments will be impacted

  • Stock prices have fallen significantly.
  • Charities with stocks investments will see a fall in their investment’s valuation. 
  • This could have an impact if your charity uses its investments to secure borrowing. 
  • A reduction in stock values could also impact defined liability pension schemes, where the employer guarantees the pension on retirement regardless of what happens to the underlying assets of the scheme. This should be less of an issue provided stocks recover in the medium to long term. 
  • In the long term, it’s likely that markets will recover, and investments will regain the value they lost.

Other financial implications

You and your board may want to consider potential financial impacts of the virus’s spread continuing, and what steps you might need to take.  

  • You may want to budget for increased contingency costs over the next financial year.
  • You may face increased need for support from people who rely on your organisation.  
  • You may also face increased costs if the impact on global trade continues. 
  • The Institute of Fundraising has developed guidance for fundraisers in relation to covid-19. 
  • Speak to your funders about the impact of cancelling or delaying project activities which are part of funding agreements. The Association of Charitable Funders have encouraged funders to contact their grantees and discuss how they can best support them.
  • The Charity Commission has said that it will take a pragmatic approach to regulation during this period. They’ve said that if you’re due to file an annual return but don’t feel you can, then you can call them to request an extension.
  • If, despite efforts to restructure your finances and make contingencies the trustees foresee that your organisation will be unable to pay its debts as they become due, and the value of its assets are less than the charities liabilities, then trustees should consider guidance on solvency.


Page last edited Apr 06, 2020

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