Surviving Covid-19: A comprehensive guide for charities

For the last two months Charity Times has been compiling a series of online guides to help the voluntary sector adjust to the challenges Covid-19 has presented across their organisation.

This has included a look at the top resources and tools covering a raft of areas, from working from home amid the pandemic, to creating engaging marketing content to appeal to donors.

Ten of these guides have now been published with many more guidance articles planned for the coming months to help charities as they pivot services, fundraising and staff online.

Here we recap on the guides that have already been published, which showcase the array of digital support available.

Online fundraising platforms

Moving fundraising operations online is a key way charities can help their recovery from the financial fall out of the pandemic, which has seen shops close and in-person events cancelled.

This year’s virtual London Marathon and Captain Tom Moore’s fundraising for NHS Charities Together have shown the success of fundraising amid the pandemic.

In August, we showcased the top online fundraising platforms for charities.

Platforms covered range from JustGiving, which has 22 million users globally to LocalGiving, which supports small local charities through providing access to matchfunding. Another is GiveWP, which is a fundraising plug-in that can be used by charities using the Wordpress content management system.

Cybercrime resources and tools

Charity Fraud Awareness Week this month highlighted the added challenges charities face keeping their IT systems and data secure amid the rise in homeworking during the pandemic.

In August, we detailed the top resources, tools and software to help charities keep their information and staff safe from cyber criminals.

This includes online risk protection platforms, from providers such as Skurio and Avast as well as resources from the Charity Commission, National Cyber Security Centre and others.

Homeworking tools

Social distancing has seen a rise in charity staff working from home and remotely, with offices either closed or operating with a reduced workforce. For some charities there is the additional financial advantage of closing offices.

With childcare pressures and the need to improve workers’ work life balance this trend looks set to continue long term, after the current health crisis.

Also in August we produced a run down of the top 10 homeworking tools for charities covering the range of support available online to help charity leaders help their staff work remotely.

This covers video conferencing tools such as Zoom to workflow and collaboration platforms, such as Microsoft Teams. Specific support for trustees working from home is also covered as are ways to engage and entertain staff, who are missing out on office socialising.

Diversity, equity and inclusion resources

At this month’s Charity Times Leadership Conference, it emerged that most charity leaders are ill-prepared to tackle racism in the sector.

This comes as Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, and those with disabilities, are among the hardest hit communities by the pandemic.

Many in the sector are having to take a difficult look at their organisation as they look to ensure they are promoting equity. Christian Aid and NVCO are among charities and charity groups to address racist attitudes within their organisation and take action.

In addition the Charity So White campaign and Show the Salary are working to tackle a lack of diversity in the voluntary sector, especially in recruitment.

To help, Charity Times produced its top 10 diversity, equity and inclusion resources guide for charities in August.

This profiled support from groups such as #CharitySoWhite as well as training around inclusion and help to ensure digital communications and support is inclusive for those with disabilities.

Impact reporting resources

The search for donations from the public and grants from funders is particularly vital amid the pandemic. But before parting with their money they are keen to see evidence from charities that their donations will be well spent and improve people’s lives.

This is where impact reporting resources can help. In September, Charity Times compiled a top 10 impact reporting resources available to help charities evaluate their work.

This includes online self-assessment tools to measuring success within financial reporting.

Social media management platforms

Charities’ innovative use of social media in their marketing and communications has stepped up a gear amid the Covid-19 pandemic. In September we took a look at the top10 social media management platforms for charities.

These tools offer valuable support to tailor posts according to different audiences and platforms as well as schedule them when content will have the most impact.

This guide takes in platforms that offer detailed analysis of the performance of social media content as well as those that offer charity teams the chance to collaborate on creative, engaging content.

CRM systems

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is crucial to charities work attracting and retaining donors.

Amid income losses during the Covid-19 pandemic this is especially important as the search for new donors and supporters is more challenging due to social distancing guidelines.

In September we focused on the top 10 CRM systems for charities.

This covers issues such as scheduling communication with donors to targeting marketing to meet their needs. This includes open source software as well as more expensive platforms to help maximise and nurture the relationships between charities and donors.

Digital survey tools

The views of donors, supporters, beneficiaries and stakeholders are vital for charities. Gathering opinion helps the sector to improve, pinpoint any weaknesses in organisations and develop new and innovative strategies and services.

At the end of September we took a look at the range of digital survey tools that charities can use to collect this valuable insight into their work.

This top 10 online survey tools to help improve your organisation guide included cost-effective surveys to gather a snapshot of an audience’s view.

It also looked at more expensive options for major surveys and the gathering of detailed data. The use of surveys for quizzes, for staff and beneficiaries amid the Covid-19 pandemic is also covered.

Free data sources

There is a wealth of data available for free to help charities assess communities in greatest need of support during Covid-19.

Free sources of data, from among others the UK Data Service and Office of National Statistics can also provide vital information for charities to help with service delivery and add value to their content.

New Philanthropy Capital’s Covid 19 data for charities and funders is among the top 10 free sources of data for charities we covered earlier this month.

Video content tools

With supporters and donors spending more time online than ever before during the pandemic, engaging video content online and on social media is more important than ever.

Voluntary sector organisations looking to ramp up their use of video are advised to dip into our top 10 video content tools for charities guide, published earlier this month.

This features tools on creating simple but effective animation, as well as professional grade software to create and edit videos. Also covered is advice on how to make live streaming of videos more engaging for viewers.

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