'If not now, when?' - Looking ahead into recovery

05 May 2020
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Daniel Fluskey, Head of Policy and External Affairs at the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, takes a look at the kinds of discussions, questions, topics that have been taking place as we look forward into the next phase of the pandemic, and what the Chartered Institute's role will be.

Nothing changes if nothing changes, right? We’re now over a month into lockdown and it’s around six weeks since big fundraising events and social gatherings were starting to be cancelled.

Charities and fundraisers are already thinking about what happens next – does this mark a fundamental shift in what we value as a society? What jobs are ‘essential’? What will be the future role of the state? What will it mean for charitable giving and fundraising.? As we pivot in some ways to look ahead to ‘recovery’, rather than ‘response’, we’ve been thinking with our members about where go next.

So, what are the kinds of discussions, questions, topics that we’ve heard, and what will we do?

“The charity sector is in crisis – the financial loss and impact on services is huge. We need to be there, right now, and in the future, but need appropriate financial support from Government to safeguard our vital services and work.”

We absolutely agree. So, we will:

“Fundraisers and charities will need help and support to get fundraising back on its feet when social distancing restrictions are lifted. We need the IoF to provide reassurance and advice.”

With it looking likely that there will start to be some easing of social distancing restrictions announced in the near future, charities will need to know when and how they can start certain areas of fundraising again. What we’ll do:

“Fundraising won’t be the same. Once we’re through this crisis, our strategies, our targets, our teams, our way of working, will be different. We’ll also be likely to deal with a shrinking economy and possible recession. What will the future look like for fundraising?"

The impact of coronavirus is going to be here to stay, both in terms of changes of how we live our lives, but also on the economy. We will need to be thinking long-term about the future of fundraising. We will:

“A time of crisis does also offer some opportunities. What new ideas can we be offering to generate more giving, maximise the value of those gifts, promote charitable giving across society, forge new relationships?"

There is indeed a chance to look at new solutions and ideas. There was a thought-provoking paper from CAF on what could be a ‘stimulus package’ for the sector, including changing the tax system, repurposing funds and opening up dormant assets. We also think that there is a need and opportunity to reframe how we see giving and the public policy that supports charities. So, we will be:

There is a big job to do. And across the sector, it’s not just a case of having to change the tyres while the car is still moving’, but in the pouring rain, with a smashed smartphone, and one hand tied behind our back. But the future doesn’t just happen, it’s created through our actions and decisions. There is a different new future ahead than the one we may have imagined three months ago, but as a new Chartered body, and with the awe-inspiring commitment, innovation, and solidarity we are seeing from fundraisers and charities across the sector, together we can be brave, inventive, and blaze the trail we want to take. As Primo Levi said, “If not now, when?”

Daniel Fluskey
Daniel Fluskey
Head of Policy and External Affairs at the Chartered Institute of Fundraising
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