'Looming economic crisis' set to hamper charity telethon giving, report warns

Charity telethon donations are likely to be hit this year due to recession, experts have warned.

The Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) has delivered the warning in its annual market review for 2019/20.

This includes a look at phone payments during TV fundraising events, such as Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day that take place biannually.

People donated £2.6m more in 2019/20 compared to 2017/18. Among factors in this growth was the introduction of a higher spend cap per donation in 2018.

However, the PSA warns that 2020/21 is set to see telethon-giving hit by financial uncertainty among the public. This comes despite the figures set to show an increase in giving via phone to Covid-19 related causes.

The PSA said that “a short-term spike in donations in response to COVID-19” in the first quarter of 2020/2021 “may have a displacement effect, and the looming economic crisis in the UK is likely to impact households’ incomes towards the end of 2020/2021, which may mean that consumers are less willing and/or able to donate later in the year”.

“This will limit the potential for growth for donations because large telethons are held later in the year,” it added.

Red Nose Day

The next Comic Relief Red Nose Day telethon is scheduled for Friday 19 March, 2021.

The PSA’s warning comes as Comic Relief has already been impacted financially by Covid-19.

Last month the charity announced that is considering cutting one in four jobs due to the health crisis to save more than £5m in running costs.

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