Small charities 'struggling to support service users in the absence of face-to-face services'

Research by CharityComms and the Media Trust finds that six in 10 respondents are struggling with resources

More than six in 10 charities are struggling to assist service users who would typically have relied on face-to-face support during the coronavirus pandemic, new research has revealed.

A survey of 219 charities carried out by CharityComms and the Media Trust found respondents, 70 per cent of which were smaller charities, were experiencing a number of communication challenges as a result of the pandemic.

The largest problem flagged by the surveyed charities was supporting users who normally have access to face-to-face help, in line with social distancing rules. Sixty-one per cent of organisations said this was proving a challenge.

More than half (53 per cent) of respondents said they were struggling to produce digital content such as films, vlogs or infographics, and 41 per cent said they were struggling to move services online.

The research paper argues that the findings show the pressure the sector is under to adapt to new ways of working and the need to upskill, with one in five (20 per cent) of respondents unclear of their communication needs in the current climate and 20 per cent unclear of what support is on offer.

Commenting on the findings, CharityComms chief executive Adeela Warley said that strategic communications “sits at the heart of all charities changing the world for the better”.

Warley added: “That’s why CharityComms and the Media Trust are working together to galvanise urgent support.”

Almost 100 per cent of respondents to the survey said they would like appropriate pro-bono or volunteer communications support to assist them through the coronavirus crisis. Just under half (48 per cent) flagged themselves as being most in need of social media and digital marketing support, and four in 10 (41 per cent) said they needed help with communications strategy and planning.

“We know many media and creative organisations and professionals are really keen to give back,” said Su-Me Thompson, chief executive of the Media Trust.

“This crisis gives us all an opportunity to challenge what is and enable what could be, ultimately using the power of media as a force for good.”

CharityComms and the Media Trust have pledged to use the findings to help deliver the support and resources that charities need to face the impact of coronavirus in the weeks and months ahead.

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