Coronavirus action plan for charities

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We have put together the below list of considerations, free resources and offers for charities during the coronavirus pandemic.

We will be regularly updating this plan as new information and official guidance is released, so please follow us on Twitter or Facebook to keep up to date with the latest developments.

CONTENTS

Government assistance

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, charities can claim 80 per cent of their employees’ wages from the government – up to a limit of £2,500 per month per employee.

The scheme is only applicable to employees who are ‘furloughed’ – i.e. those who are no longer working but will remain on the payroll, so will not cover the wages of employees who are still working.

While it may not currently apply to all charities, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will help those who have employees who are no longer able to work because of the pandemic, such as charity shop staff.

To apply, employers first of all need to agree with their employees that their status is now a ‘furloughed worker’. We recommend sending a letter to all relevant employees informing them of their new designation, and request that they agree to the change in writing.

HMRC will soon be announcing the online portal where charities can submit information about their furloughed employees and their wages. Until then, find out more about the scheme here.

The government have also suspended business rates for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. This should be of some benefit to museums, galleries and sports organisations.

Fundraising and income

Recent estimates by the NCVO suggest the charity sector could lose at least £4bn over the next 12 weeks as fundraising and trading income has collapsed.

If your charity is finding it difficult, there is some help available:

  • A range of grants and funding initiatives are becoming available from Community Funds and big multinational firms. Here is a summary list with key dates and criteria so far.
  • If you need help on how to write an appeal letter, take a look at Blue Frog who have produced ‘appeal’ and ‘thank you’ letter templates.
  • Consider using Crowdfunder, who have launched a fee-free platform for charity fundraising, with transaction charges covered, no fee taken on Gift Aid and platform fees set to 0%.

Insurance

If your charity insurance is up for renewal soon, then it can be an area where you can save money.

We currently protect many charities and organisations in the UK across the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sectors. Through working closely with our clients, we understand the day-to-day challenges faced by charity organisations, both large and small.

To find out if we can help your charity or organisation save money, request a call back or call us now on: 0330 013 0036

Communications

  • Keep your service users, partners and suppliers updated with any office closures, postponed events or busy helplines. Use social media to communicate this.
  • Keep your employees and volunteers updated on the latest coronavirus news. Consider using:
    • NCVO
    • Charity Commission
    • Institute of Fundraising
  • Consider joining online groups to connect with other charities in similar situations. ‘COVID 19 Charity Preparedness Group’ is a very helpful Facebook group to help all charities get more organised during Coronavirus.

Travel, meetings and upcoming events

  • Review travel, meetings and events that are planned, and consider contingency options that may be needed.
  • Consider moving your events online. Upaya, a charity in America, shared their tips on how they launched a four-day virtual party and surpassed their goal.
  • Set up virtual meetings and conference calls with Zoom, a great way to communicate for free.

Marketing

  • Brand awareness is key to a charity’s survival. The Google Ad Grants Program gives non-profits the chance to advertise on Google Ads at no cost to the charity.
  • NCVO have made their member-only resources available to everyone, including guides on how to set up a campaign strategy.

IT Systems

  • When working from home, check the broadband is strong enough and adequate anti-malware software is installed, such as an up-to-date virus checker and firewall. Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
  • Keep productivity levels up by introducing your employees to work management tools. Asana is offering charities free licences to its platform.

Cyber

  • There are reports of fraudulent, coronavirus-themed phishing emails. Details of the scams can be found here.
  • Consider using secure file sharing services such as Dropbox, who are offering charities three months free.

About BHIB Charities Insurance

BHIB Charities Insurance specialise in providing tailored cover for community groups, clubs, societies, voluntary organisations and hobby or special interest groups. We offer more than just insurance and we are passionate about supporting local communities.

To find out how we can help your charity or not-for-profit organisation, email us on hello@bhibcharities.co.uk or call 0330 013 0036 to speak to our friendly, expert team.

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Luke Glassford

Luke Glassford

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