REVEALED: the devastating impact the Coronavirus pandemic has had on cash-strapped charities

The devastating impact Covid-19 has had on the finances of charities in Lincolnshire has been highlighted in a new survey.

The Covid pandemic means donations to charities are falling while the demand for services increases.

The survey has been conducted by DSA Connect, an IT company that specialises in the erasure of data from IT hardware.

It says it is receiving a ‘growing number’ of enquiries from charities because they are closing due to being in a dire financial situation 
because of the crisis, and need help in wiping their data.

As a result of the requests, the company commissioned a survey which examined how much less people are giving to charities because of the crisis.

The key findings include:

•21% of people in the East Midlands are now donating less to charities since the 
coronavirus crisis started - compared to just 5% that are giving more

•7% of people in the East Midlands are using charities more or for the first time since the crisis started - compared to 1% who are using them less

The company estimates that the drop in donations from those giving less equates to around £140 million a month for the UK as a whole.

They say that this coupled with the fact that more 
people are using the services of charities during the crisis, will mean a growing number will be forced to close.

On a national basis, DSA Connect says more than half of people in the UK (53%) that have reduced their donations to charities did so because they are more conscious of saving and protecting their income during the Coronavirus crisis.

Research also found that a third (34%) cited either a pay cut, being furloughed, or job loss as their reason for cutting back.

Almost a quarter (23%) said they reduced their donations because their living expenses have increased, whilst 21% say it is because they are now
 providing greater financial support to their family and loved ones through the crisis.

The research also highlights that the situation isn’t likely to improve any time soon.

Some 42% of those in the UK donating less don’t know when they will start giving the same amount again, with one in six (17%) admitting they have no plans to re-adjust their donations to their previous total.

People donate around £10 billion a year to charities, but given the financial state of the UK charity sector a survey published earlier this year found that around 10% of UK charities think it is ‘likely’ they will cease to operate before the end of the year.

Harry Benham, Chairman of DSA Connect said: “Like many organisations, charities are finding themselves under immense pressure.

“Our findings show more people in the East Midlands and the country as a whole are leaning on charities for support, yet donations have taken a significant hit.

“Sadly, many charities are on the brink of closing, and we have seen a growing number contacting us asking for help in how they can erase sensitive data properly from their IT hardware, and how best to dispose of their technology or get the best price from selling it.”

Just to add to any concerns, charities who don’t dispose of data correctly could face hefty fines.

Age UK Lindsey is just one of the many charities hit by the Covid-19 crisis.

Earlier this year, the charity - which helps thousands of people across Lincolnshire - announced it was making staff redundant after closing one of its shops and two of its key paid-for services as a direct result of the financial crisis.

The decision affected the Independence at Home and Community Transport services, along with a loss-making shop in Gainsborough.

None of these services have been operating during the pandemic.

At the time (June), the charity admitted it had lost over £250,000 of income because of the pandemic.

With no prospect of a return to a fully-operational business, the charity could not support continued losses.

Despite that, the charity has continued a flagship quality-assured Information and Advice Service, providing telephone help and support with a comprehensive range of age-specific topics - and a successful Befriending Service.