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Charities, Christmas, and beyond

Kate Parkinson, senior associate, BDB Pitmans (43280089)
Kate Parkinson, senior associate, BDB Pitmans (43280089)

This year’s pandemic, and particularly lockdowns, have demonstrated to many the value of our third sector. Be that small community groups providing support and care to those vulnerable and shielding, through to the large charities continuing to provide frontline services even though there are added difficulties and risk.

This is a sector which, unbeknown to some, also fills gaps left open in our society, such as hospice care, the Macmillan nurses, the work of St John Ambulance, and our lifeboats.

In spite of the £750m package for charities which the government announced in April, there is currently a £10bn projected funding shortage in the charity sector, a figure which stood at £4bn in April. The pandemic therefore continues to have a significant and growing effect on the charitable sector, in part due to squeezed household incomes and cancelled fundraising activities.

The further restrictions and lockdowns have a double impact on charity resources - fundraising events continue to be difficult to run, or in the worst case are cancelled. However, the need to run services remains, often heightened, and now in a more difficult environment and with greater costs but dwindling reserves. So, perhaps this year more than ever, while we continue to ‘socially distantly’ support one another, we could also add supporting a charity to our Christmas list (or perhaps a donation in the absence of various corporate Christmas parties, drinks, dinners), to help struggling organisations continue into the new year and the post-Covid (and Brexit) world.

As a reminder for those charities being innovative in their fundraising, for example thinking of running new Christmas campaigns, or partnering with corporates for the first time, be mindful of your obligations in terms of fundraising and charity regulation. Sponsorship and partnerships, local collections and even allowing companies to use your logo carry their own nuanced legal requirements. However, do not let those put you off, there is plenty of support available from a range of sources.

Kate Parkinson is a senior associate in BDB Pitmans’ specialist Charities and Not-for-Profit Team in Cambridge. Contact kateparkinson@bdbpitmans.com or visit bdbpitmans.com.

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