Annual Review for Charities: 2020 in Perspective

Welcome to our sixth annual review. Once again, we have curated articles and information on a diverse range of subjects, all focused on the charity sector. As ever, thanks to our contributors for their insights.
Helping dementia sufferers cope with lockdown

Written by: Kym Ward, The Brain Charity

2020 has been a challenging year for all of us, but for vulnerable people already suffering from long-term illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, it has often been even tougher. The Brain Charity, which offers emotional support, practical help and social activities to anyone with a neurological condition, has seen first-hand just how difficult Covid-19 has been for people with dementia – and their carers.

Optimism for the future

Written by: Patrick T. Murphy, Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA)

What a year it has been. Societies and their economies succumbed to the travails of Covid-19, while we had to alter our own behaviours to save lives and diminish the virus’s impact, leading to a century-defining event.

For the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), 2020 began as an optimistic year in which we were increasing our support for artists and expanding our services to the public. We had just opened our second season with a number of cracking exhibitions when in mid-March we had to close to the public and cease our services to artists. The rigorous nature of those initial two months of lockdown created a flurry of activity for staff as we developed and innovated new systems through which to support our two constituencies…

Building relationships to keep children safe

Written by: Mary Glasgow, Children 1st

The work of Children 1st, Scotland’s National Children’s Charity, is more urgently needed now than ever before. For 130 years, we’ve worked together as colleagues, volunteers, partners and supporters to keep children safe, families strong, communities resilient and to support children to recover from trauma and abuse.

Challenging times

Written by: Sean Pontin, Jersey Alzheimer’s Association

For many people around the world, the last few months will have been some of the most difficult they have experienced. Life has been very different, with separation, new rules and a stream of information that many have found difficult to keep on top of and process.

Imagine then, what this time might have been like for someone with an illness like dementia…

Changing lives through the power of sport

Written by: Lindsey MacDonald, Street League

Street League is the UK’s leading sport for employment charity. We use the power of sport to tackle poverty by helping young people aged between 14 – 30 who live in the UK’s most deprived communities overcome their practical and personal barriers to employment. Our vision is to see an end to youth unemployment and since June 2011, we have helped 10,080 young people move into work, education and training.

Future of the voluntary sector

Written by: Sir Stuart Etherington, The Oversight Trust

The immediate focus of the voluntary sector’s leadership has inevitably and rightly been on the downturn in income, estimated at over £4bn, directly caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. This has impacted elements of fundraising and earned income, particularly that from trading.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Written by: Elizabeth Balgobin and Felicity Spencer-Smith, Chartered Institute of Fundraising

It has been a busy 2020. None of us could have imagined that inequality and its disproportionate impact on people’s lives would become the dominant conversation across the globe. This crisis will pass but returning to what we have always done will leave us vulnerable to the next crisis.

What’s next for the sector?

Written by: Caron Bradshaw OBE, Charity Finance Group (CFG)

We’re currently facing down the barrel of the gun. With redundancies a plenty, c.£12 billion less in income and one in eight of the public telling the National Emergencies Trust they expect to have to call on charity over the next 12 months, it would be easy to be sucked into a pit of despair. I won’t play it down. Life for everyone working in the social sector is going to get tough over the next 12-18 months, and I believe that it will take a couple of decades for the sector to recover.

The road to recovery

Written by: Elizabeth Chamberlain,  NCVO

How does one begin to sum up a year like the one we have experienced? 2020 will be remembered for a long time as the year that the Covid-19 crisis turned the world upside down. Yet at the start, nobody could have predicted a global pandemic and the scale of the crisis it has caused. The pandemic has truly been a national tragedy. It has impacted the economy in many ways, and the magnitude of the recession it has caused is unprecedented in modern times.

Charities post-Covid-19 – all for one and one for all?

Written by: Catherine Rustomji,  Browne Jacobson LLP

As we know, the charity sector has been hit hard by Covid-19. A survey by the Institute of Fundraising, NCVO and Charity Finance Group found that in 2020 sector income fell by 24%, which equates to a £12.4 billion shortfall. The research shows that coronavirus is going to have a significant impact on charity finances at a time when the need for their services has never been greater.

Strategy, culture and governance – achieving balance in charity leadership

Written by: James Saunders,  Moore Kingston Smith

Trustees are the guardians of charities. They are ultimately responsible for everything while very often actually doing very little operationally themselves. They need to be experts in the field while being treated as amateurs in terms of remuneration. They are the ultimate decision-makers, although their employees are invariably far more knowledgeable, specialised and experienced than they are.

The opportunity for charities after the pandemic

Written by: Peter Duncan,  Message Matters

The public policy environment for charities over recent years has not been without uncertainty, to put it mildly. From the excited focus on the “Big Society” agenda at the genesis of the David Cameron premiership, to the continuing and potentially existential challenge presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, this has been a period of major change. The UK Government’s focus on the charity sector has struggled to find its feet in a competitive environment for civil service and policy maker attention.

Cybersecurity: liability or responsibility?

Written by: Martyn Croft,  Charities Security Forum

It’s been a decade of great change. None more so than in the past year. Having spent the past twenty or so years encouraging charities to embrace information technology in general and video conferencing and remote working in particular, it’s been a surprise, and slightly frustrating, to see how quickly organisations have embraced and now rely on a technological platform to deliver services online.

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