We want to further develop our State of the Sector 2020 research to highlight new challenges and advocate for change in the wake of the pandemic. Help shape the next stage of this project. Tell us about your charity in this survey.
As part of our State of the Sector 2020 research, conducted in 2019 and released in May 2020, we asked charities what the greatest barrier to them achieving their mission was. Capacity and staff time came up again and again. For some organisations, this becomes a cycle which affects other aspects of their work.
Our issue is capacity, we haven’t got the money to pay for the staff or do the research to gather the evidence to expand that base, so it becomes a bit of a downwards spiral.
We launched our findings from 2019 during the initial peak of the coronavirus crisis in the UK, with the aim of showing where the sector stood as Covid-19 hit. One of the main findings from this year’s research was that, compared to when we last ran this kind of research in 2017, charities are now doing more of every activity that we asked them about—from campaigning to managing buildings, and everything in between. Charities are repeatedly reporting that they are taking on more than they have done in the past.
Time, we never have enough time to do anything, we’re all so behind so we could really use more time or maybe more people.
What’s concerning us now, since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis and the ensuing economic downturn, is that funding for the sector will also become critically stretched. What we have seen, since we last ran this survey, is that funding has remained largely static. For us, this raises concerns that organisations may be overstretched and are struggling to fulfil their mission.
We are seeing more and more people referring to our services. People with different needs. The needs of the service users changes, we have to adapt to meet those needs.
Perhaps charities are aware that they are facing a greater breadth of needs and so are responding by diversifying their activities. As mentioned above, when we compare what charities told us in 2017 with the results of this year’s research, we find that they certainly are doing more. Our research also showed that small charities have broadened their workload the most.
Help shape the next stage of our research
Knowing this, the obvious question is, has Covid-19 stretched charities even further? This is important because the sharp increases in demand that this crisis has brought may mean that smaller organisations have to make unexpected trade-offs due to capacity issues. For example, are charities now so overstretched that they have had to drop entire strands of work and focus entirely on their core work? Have they had to halt evaluation of ongoing programmes of work?
Or, perhaps more worryingly, are they doing more than ever, trying to meet needs in every direction, and not doing any of it very well? And what effect does this have on the people and communities they are trying to serve?
This is where we need your help. In our second phase of State of the Sector 2020, we need to find answers to these questions. We are running a short, two minute survey to try and find out how your organisation’s delivery has changed over the crisis period.
Answering this will allow us to shine a light on the issues your organisation is facing at this time. We will be analysing these findings, taking them to decision-makers and trying to advocate for solutions which benefit the sector.
You can take part here.