Covid-19 could cost Macmillan coffee morning £20m

Macmillan Cancer Support is warning that pivoting its flagship annual fundraising coffee morning online due to Covid-19 restrictions is set to cost the charity £20m.

Last year’s annual coffee morning raised £27.5m through in person fundraising activities held by local supporters in cafes, shops, schools, offices and hospitals across the UK.

But due to the health crisis the charity is having to stage a significantly scaled back version this year on 25 September. This will instead involve social distanced coffee mornings on doorsteps, virtual coffee mornings and making a donation online with a selfie raising a mug in support of the charity.

Supporters are also encouraged to take part in other socially distant challenges such as sponsored walking.

The move to a virtual event is set to see a 71% drop (£20m) in income for the event, says the charity.

“Last year, Coffee Morning raised £27.5 million for the cancer support charity,” said Macmillan.

“Yet, early estimations show that it is currently on track to raise less than a third (29%) of that this year — the lowest amount in 11 years . Sign-ups are also expected to be down by more than two-thirds (68%).”

The charity’s executive director of fundraising, marketing and communications Claire Rowney added: “We are going through one of the biggest crises in living memory and we want the public to know that the ‘new normal’ doesn’t mean that they can’t get involved with Coffee Morning this year. There are so many ways they can still show their support in whatever way they can and we’ve never needed their help more.

“Macmillan relies on donations to provide care and support for 1.9 million people affected by cancer every year — and sadly this support could be at risk without income from events like Coffee Morning. People with cancer need us more than ever.

“There has never been a more terrifying time in recent history to receive a diagnosis as people face potential disruption or delays to treatment, amid an increased risk of infection to the coronavirus.

“Coffee Morning has thrived for 30 years thanks to the enormous generosity of our supporters — and we need to act now to ensure it can continue to raise vital funds for people living with cancer for years to come.”

The anticipated loss of £20m at this year’s event represents around a tenth of the charities total fundraising income for 2019. This could mean that 80,000 cancer patients miss out on support from a Macmillan nurse.

The move comes amid a surge in demand for the charity’s support services amid the pandemic. The charity’s online Covid-19 advice has had more than 140,000 visitors since its launch in March. Over the same period its helpline has received 10,000 calls.

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