Most charities believe funders have been responsive to the coronavirus crisis, research shows

More than three-quarters of charities think funders have been very responsive during the coronavirus pandemic, according to new research. 

Data from the research consultancy nfpSynergy found that 76 per cent of the more than 350 charities surveyed said they believed funders had been responsive to the outbreak. 

Almost two-thirds of charities said they thought that funders had pulled together during the crisis. 

There was a difference between smaller and larger charities over how responsive they thought funders had been to the outbreak, with 61 per cent of those with annual incomes of less than £250,000 agreeing that funders had been responsive, compared with 83 per cent of charities with annual incomes of more than £5m. 

One respondent, from a charity with an annual income of between £1m and £5m, said: “Funders have been very understanding with regard to project funding, and perhaps not being able to meet outcomes or enabling us to be flexible with how funding is spent.”

Participants in the study were grantees or unsuccessful applicants to the John Ellerman Foundation, which has agreed to share the findings to help other funders and charities understand where applicants are struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The survey also found that smaller charities were far less likely to have made use of the government’s furlough scheme, with 35 per cent of those with incomes of less than £250,000 a year making it use of it compared with 80 of charities with annual incomes above £5m. 

It found that almost two-thirds of charities reported that staff had to increase their workload. 

“Having to furlough staff was challenging as we still required their services but could not afford to pay them, so that has resulted in existing staff taking on more responsibilities,” one respondent said. 

The survey also showed that almost one-third of charities said they needed emergency funding in the next three months in order to survive and 70 per cent of respondents said their staff was “very anxious” about the future. 

Researchers surveyed 143 grantees and 218 unsuccessful applicants between 11 May and 5 June.

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