Four in 10 charities expect to struggle to meet demand as 'capacity crunch' bites

More than four out of 10 charities expect to have difficulty meeting demand for their services over the coming months, according to new research. 

A survey conducted among almost 250 charities last month found that 42 per cent said they either expected demand for their services to rise and they would not have the resources to meet it, or that demand would remain the same but their capacity to provide services would be reduced. 

The research, conducted by Pro Bono Economics with the Charity Finance Group and the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, also showed that charities missed out on at least £200m of fundraised income in the weeks leading up to Christmas. 

Almost half of those polled raised less over the final two months of 2020 than they did during the same period a year earlier, researchers found. 

They said about one in five organisations that reported diminished fundraising totals over the Christmas period said they expected to have to reduce their workforce as a result. 

A quarter of the charities that missed out on funds said they would have to implement additional cost-saving measures. 

PBE predicted last summer that 60,000 voluntary sector jobs could have been lost by the end of 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic

PBE said today the sector was beginning to feel a “capacity crunch” because of the combination of reduced income and rising demand. 

Anoushka Kenley, research and policy director at Pro Bono Economics, said: “Months of stunted fundraising and depleted reserves have taken their toll on the charity sector. 

“With these figures indicating another income loss in the region of the hundreds of millions of pounds, it is only a matter of time before we see more reports of service cuts and job losses for this sector, which is a vital source of services and support for the vulnerable. 

“After almost a year in crisis mode, and with a capacity crunch underway, getting additional resources into this vital sector has to be a priority for the Chancellor as the Budget approaches.”

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