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Charities rising to the digital challenge due to coronavirus

The National Funding Scheme, DONATE, is encouraging all charities to look at its digital fundraising platform for support amid the Coronavirus crisis

Charities up and down the country have been looking to digital fundraising as a means of staying stable at this uncertain and unprecedented time. With events cancelled and volunteers staying at home, charities are facing a black hole in fundraising, and are looking at digital means to fuel their efforts in supporting those in need at this time.

With digital fundraising, the public will respond and donate as soon as your appeal is live, giving your charity a real sense of financial security amid the current situation.

The National Funding Scheme, a charity set up to provide online, contactless and SMS payment platforms for charities has reported that in the space of just two weeks, five charities have cancelled their forthcoming fundraising events, all due to be major income drivers for them. In contrast, since March 15th over 150 campaigns are actively running fundraising appeals many of which have been set up in direct response to COVID-19 ranging from the Intensive Care Society, The Academy of Ancient Music and Big Issue North, all of whom have seen dramatic falls in their standard forms of fundraising.

Bronte Shiltz from The Big Issue North says:

“Coronavirus has had an enormous impact on our vendors. The average Big Issue North vendor earns just £60 per week and many have no other source of income. As selling Big Issue North is a formally recognised form of self-employment, they don’t receive paid sick leave. This means that the impact of even one week of poor sales could be almost impossible to bear, and if the pandemic continues for an extended period of time, many could face destitution.

“To make matters worse, many of our vendors are particularly vulnerable to the virus. Each year, we see the average age of our vendors increase. While our oldest vendor fifteen years ago was 65, our 2019 vendor audit recorded five vendors aged between 61 and 65, one vendor between 66 and 70 and one vendor between 76 and 80. Furthermore, one in five of our vendors have a long-term illness or disability, and among them, 22% have asthma or COPD and 13% have diabetes – conditions with associated mortality rates of 6.3% and 7.3% respectively.

“Particularly worryingly, a third of our vendors are currently homeless – including half of our vendors over the age of 60. This means that they are unable to self-isolate safely and cannot protect themselves from potentially fatal infection. Furthermore, while only a small percentage of our vendors currently sleep on the streets, many rely on friends and family to keep a roof over their head, and if those friends or relatives are themselves at high risk from the virus, they may find that this accommodation is no longer an option for them in the weeks to come, leading them to rely on their income to secure alternative accommodation.

“These issues are exacerbated by the fact that as the virus spreads, an increasing number of foodbanks and soup kitchens have been forced to close their doors.  While, over the past ten years, foodbanks have become a lifeline for millions in the UK, they are particularly vital to our vendors. A third of the people who sell Big Issue North have relied on a foodbank or soup kitchen at some point in order to survive.

“We have now established a hardship fund, which we plan to use to house homeless vendors and to cover the cost of rent, bills and shopping for vendors who are unable to work, or to earn their usual level of income. We have been doing this primarily through DONATE, which has been doing really well. We are particularly reliant on text and online donations at this time, as much of our income from members of the public typically comes from donation forms printed in the magazine, but as the magazine is likely to become primarily digital in the coming weeks (sold at £2 per issue with £1 going to the hardship fund at issuu.com/bigissuenorth), we are also facing the possibility of losing this income stream.”

The National Funding Scheme is urging charities who are suffering similar problems as a result of the coronavirus to use an online and SMS payment platform such as DONATE. Charities should be set-up within 24 hours allowing for immediate fundraising by text and web. From March 1st National Funding Scheme removed its dormancy fee in response to the COVID-19 emergency.

For more information about DONATE go to www.easydonate.org or call 020 3174 2276

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About the National Funding Scheme

The National Funding Scheme (NFS), operating under the DONATE™ brand, provides a range of mobile fundraising tools to maximise fundraising campaigns.

Launched in 2013, DONATE™ (www.easydonate.org) is a platform that allows the UK public to conveniently donate via touch and SMS text. In response to the COVID-19, National Funding Scheme has removed the dormancy fee until 31st May 2020.

Organisations wishing to register with DONATE™ should go to www.nationalfundingscheme.org/become-a-partner-organisation or for further information see www.nationalfundingscheme.org/faqs-about-donate or full terms and fees.

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