Charity leaders call for end to short-term funding for Covid-19 recovery

Charity leaders are calling on funders to move away from short-term funding to help them recover from the Covid-19 crisis.

Research involving 36 charity leaders has called for an end to an end to the demanding cycle of applying for and receiving grants every six months.

They instead want funding bodies to move to easier to plan grant giving to support charities for up to five years as they battle income losses through the pandemic.

The findings have come in a briefing paper published by the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR), which shares the views of 36 charity leaders who took part in online peer support sessions during July.

“It’s time to move on from short-term funding,” said the IVAR briefing, which is called Between a rock and a hard place.

“The idea of linear progression in funding from emergency to recovery and then to renewal is becoming unhelpful as restrictions are tightened in virus hot spots, a difficult winter is predicted, and medical solutions to Covid-19 have not yet been found.

“However, both funders and VCSE organisations desperately need to move on from the demands of applying for and distributing six-month grants.

“The challenge now is to move back to more conventional cycles of one, three and even five-year funding, without losing the urgency and lightness of touch that has characterised the immediate response by so many. For the foreseeable future, all funders are emergency funders.”

Charity leaders' views

One charity leader who took part in the research said: “The support that clients will need in six months will not be what they normally need. We are having to rethink our strategy for the long term.”

Another said: “Like many others, we’ve come out of the crisis phase and we’ve survived it. But planning for increasing capacity with physical distancing, infection prevention and having control measures in place is going to make our services very, very limited.”

Also on charity leaders’ wish lists are access to peer support and greater collaboration and cross-sector engagement.

“This is a unique and key opportunity to bring organisations across sectors together to develop a multi-agency plan,” says the research.

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