Charities Fear Closure Of Services If Collapse In Fundraising Continues, Says The Wheel

Posted on 2 Oct 2020

The Wheel, the national association of charities, today warned that frontline charities, community and voluntary organisations and social enterprises are under unsustainable strain to meet the growing demand for their services, while the collapse of fundraising is limiting their ability to deliver key health and social care services.

A survey of 118 charities conducted by The Wheel between July and August has found that charities are facing serious uncertainty about continued service provision next year and are still dealing with the effects of the collapse in earned and fundraised income this year. 

Half (50%) reported that demand for their services has increased, while 82% of respondents were very concerned about whether they will have sufficient funds to provide their services in 2021. Coupled with a 64% reduction in volunteers, reduced staff availability (40% have cut staff hours), 65% of charities now say their ability to deliver services has been compromised.  

Speaking ahead of a top-level meeting of charity leaders this afternoon, facilitated by The Wheel, Ivan Cooper Director of Public Policy said, “Despite innovative efforts to move key supports and services online, the collapse in income and volunteering will have a negative impact on the quantity and quality of supports, and the wellbeing of beneficiaries.” 

Mr. Cooper added that support of government schemes such as the Wage Subsidy Scheme has prevented services from closing their doors (38% of eligible organisations were in receipt of support from this scheme at the time of the survey). However, charities are still devastated after the collapse in fundraised income. Half (48%) of charities anticipate an income/funding loss of up to 75% and 12% anticipate an income/funding loss of up to 100% in 2020. 

The Wheel is calling on the Government to provide in Budget 2021: 

  • €445m additional funding for the community and voluntary sector to compensate for the projected total COVID-related earned/fundraised income shortfall (un-recoupable through any other scheme or source) 
  • Introduction of multi-annual (three to five year) funding arrangements. 

“Without additional funding support, the pressures on charities will undoubtedly mean the closure of some essential services that provide supports to the most vulnerable in our communities. If we have learned anything from the COVID-19 crisis, it is that Ireland has the capacity to put community and the health and well-being of its people first, said Mr. Cooper.  

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