Charities predict tougher years ahead as they count cost of pandemic

Many charities are projecting tougher times to come in 2021 and the years ahead as the potential impacts of staff lay-offs, reduced reserves and lower income are reckoned with.
Charities predict tougher years ahead as they count cost of pandemic

Charities involved in health, social care and local development have seen a significant increase in demand this year.

In 2020, many charities in Ireland experienced a simultaneous surge in demand for services and a collapse in fundraised/earned income as a result of Covid-19.

In the first phase of the pandemic, Local Development Companies received an additional 2,200 Covid-specific requests each day and as restrictions continue, these needs deepen.

Charities involved in health, social care and local development have seen a significant increase in demand this year.

Many charities are projecting tougher times to come in 2021 and the years ahead as the potential impacts of staff lay-offs, reduced reserves and lower income are reckoned with.

The State increased its funding to the charity sector by almost 10% in 2020.

A report published today by Benefacts, the nonprofit data analysis organisation, found a 9.6% increase in funding, provided in fees and grants by nine of the largest Departments and Agencies, to €4.65bn last year.

The analysis showed health charities saw the largest financial increase at €300 million, followed by social services at €112 million, while arts charities saw the biggest percentage increase in State support, at 15% (€8 million).

The Benefacts report found Government support undoubtedly helped to keep Ireland's charity sector afloat in 2020 but Denise Charlton said that having volunteers, communities and charities over-reliant on Government support is not a viable way forward, especially at a time when public finances are under huge pressure.

Ms Charlton, Chief Executive at The Community Foundation for Ireland, said that "recovering better" is the challenge being faced as the sector moves forward.

"No one must be left behind as we move from emergency to recovery," said Ms Charlton.

"Our private donors provided more than €15m to communities in the past year but international experience tells us more support is untapped. Government must deliver a promised national policy which encourages, nurtures and grows private giving."

Patricia Quinn, Benefacts founder and Managing Director, said time will tell how the sector will weather the ongoing storm.

Today's report, which draws on evidence of funding by nine Government Departments and Agencies as well as detailed analysis of the financial statements of 5,363 charities, provides the baseline on which to measure the effects of the pandemic - charity by charity, sector by sector.

Deirdre Garvey, CEO of The Wheel, said the report will help funders and policymakers to direct resources and supports to maintain vital public services provided by charities, communities and volunteers.

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