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Charities ‘doing more with less’ this Christmas as COVID hits fundraising

Written by on 27 December 2020

Charities are doing “more with less” this Christmas as the economic fallout from the pandemic continues to hit donations.

Nearly two-thirds of charities (63%) expect donations next year to be lower than usual, while 40% expect demand for services to rise over the festive period.

A report from funding platform The Big Give found that charities are spending more of their reserves, with some even considering closure.

Christians Against Poverty has seen demand for their services rise, including help and advice with debt, finding a job, and budgeting.

It admits there have been “difficulties” getting donations this year.

John Taylor, debt centre manager for the charity, said it had been unable to carry out fundraising events.

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“We’ve noticed the climate is just increasing and there are more people losing their jobs,” he said. “We’ve got lots of donors and we are really grateful to them.

“But what it’s meant is we can’t have some of the big dinners that we normally would have, so we haven’t been able to make those asks of people to donate.”

The charity has been delivering Christmas hampers to those in need over the festive period – including to Sady James.

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John Taylor says the charity’s fundraising efforts have been hit by the pandemic

Mrs James, a grandmother, fell back into debt as a result of the pandemic and says she would not know what to do if the charity had not helped her.

“When it came to COVID I had a meltdown… I was getting into debt,” she said.

“I’m lost for words because [the charity] are like my saviour… I was depressed, stressed, it was like I was losing my mind.”

Sady James
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Sady James says she was struggling but that the charity has been her ‘saviour’

Some businesses that have managed to flourish have decided to create Christmas partnerships with charities to help raise money.

Mani Life, a peanut butter brand, has teamed up with Campaign to End Loneliness, with 100% of profits going to charity.

Stu MacDonald, founder of the business, said the company wanted to do its bit to help others in need.

“Unfortunately two of the team have lost their grandparents this year,” he said.

“So partnering with a charity that combats loneliness, something which has become so prevalent since the start of the pandemic, just seemed like the right thing to do.

Stu Macdonald
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Stu Macdonald’s peanut butter business has been helping a loneliness charity

“Obviously lockdown and COVID has brought suffering quite front of mind and, in particular for us, loneliness.”

Mr MacDonald added: “It’s quite an emotional link for everyone in the team… giving all the profits to charity from this product is kind of our small way of supporting.”

As the economy worsens as a result of the pandemic and donations fall, charities are concerned about what 2021 will bring.

More than half report seeing a decrease in volunteers giving their time to help.

Homelessness, refuge, and mental health charities are expected to see the largest increase in demand for services over Christmas and into the new year.