Tiia Sammallahti explains what can be done to help charities during COVID-19. Charities now have an opportunity to list what they need through whatCharity.com’s new online tool. Companies, this is not purely philanthropic. There is great need for skills, strategic help and product innovation. Get involved.

Surrey based charities call on local business support during the COVID-19 crisis

Guildford based mental health charities, Oakleaf and Peterson’s Fund For Children in Walton-Upon-Thames, are examples of charities that are fighting to keep their services running during these unprecedented times. They, like many charities in the region, are calling on local businesses to provide products, services, expertise and donations so that they can continue to provide essential care for people in the community. 

For mental health charity Oakleaf, the priority is moving their services online to provide remote support. They are in need of technology, time and expertise. Peterson’s Fund For Children on the other hand is actively seeking volunteers to deliver food. They are also looking for businesses to help recruit new volunteers using social media

New findings from our survey show that on a national scale over half (51%) of charities say they need strategic help to navigate this unknown period. Whilst 30% of charities surveyed have closed and 60% have reduced their key services. Furthermore, 9 in 10 (88%) respondents have seen company fundraising affected and of this, nearly two thirds (62%) say this has had a significant impact on their organisation. 

Worringly, charities across the UK are losing millions in grants and donations collected through fundraising. Even with the government announcing £750m in new funding many feel not enough is being done to keep charities operating. 

What can be done?

Companies who can afford to help during the crisis are being encouraged by whatCharity to form partnerships to help cover the cost of delivering services for local charities. Businesses who can help provide technology, time or expertise remotely can be a lifeline during these uncertain times. 

“For many businesses facing economic uncertainty, it can be hard for them to know how they can help charities. But there are so many ways that companies can assist the charity sector which go beyond financial support.

Tiia Sammallahti, CEO of whatCharity

“We are working around the clock to ensure that our hundreds of clients can access support over the phone and via video during these difficult times. With many funding streams vanishing our financial security is at risk and we run of having to close if things don’t change.” 

Jennifer Clay, Fundraising and Partnership Manager at Oakleaf

“We are now providing broader family support because of the Covid-19 crisis to ensure each family has enough food. Special diets and the loss of family income due to furloughing is putting a strain on lots of families. Furthermore, because of the risk of infection, families cannot go out because of the increased risk to their loved ones.

“We are looking for volunteers who can help with purchasing and delivering food. We’re also looking for businesses that can help us use social media to ensure we’re reaching as many families in the local area as possible. For example, a business that can donate £3,000 and support with social media would help us feed more local families in need of our support.”

Charlene Peterson, Director, Peterson’s Fund For Children

Click here to view the whatCharity COVID-10 response dashboard.
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