Leading article: Caught in the whirlwind

Share
Related Topics

The success of this year's record-breaking Comic Relief appeal is all the more remarkable given the current economic gloom. More than £57m has been raised, and as donations from communities' fundraising efforts are gathered and counted this total will undoubtedly continue to rise. In the charitable sector more generally 2009 may also be remembered as a record-breaking year but for all the wrong reasons.

Today the Charity Commission publishes an economic survey of more than 1,000 organisations who, in the main, report that they have been presented with a double blow by the downturn, experiencing not just an increased demand for services but falling revenues. This is no surprise – any organisation which has invested in equities is likely to have been hit by the 40 per cent drop in share prices – but the effect is further compounded by the fact that the financial sector itself accounts for about one third of UK charities' income from corporate donors. Some accountants estimate that UK charities will suffer an income fall of about £2.3bn this year.

Some of the largest organisations, with annual incomes in excess of £1m, report that they are already limiting their programmes as a result. Meanwhile, three-quarters of the smallest charities admit that they have undertaken no preparation for the recession at all.

Unfortunately, for those who rely on them, it does not necessarily follow that those people who are best qualified to work with the most vulnerable members of our society are also a dab-hand at designing long-term investment strategies, but in the case of smaller charities they must often do both. There is a case for offering such institutions professional financial services. Not only that, but we must share the same generous spirit that helped Comic Relief this weekend with those smaller groups that do not enjoy celebrity backing and a significant public profile.

Dame Suzi Leather, the chair of the Commission has warned that "some charities have drawn on reserves. Now is the rainy day they have been saving for". Of course, not all have made such provision. So we should do our best, by our kindness and through service in our communities, to offer an umbrella.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher Thetford Secondary

£110 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Cambridge: An Academy based in Thetfor...

Year 1 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to work at ...

Data Analyst / Marketing Database Analyst

£24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Analyst – 2 year fixed term contract – Kent – Circa £55k

£45000 - £55000 Per Annum 31 days holiday, pension, healthcare, annual bonus: ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week