The £10 billion charity funding gap created by coronavirus is putting an “alarming proportion” of jobs and services in the firing line in the social sector. That’s according to the latest Charity Sector Tracker published recently by Pro Bono Economics, in partnership with the Institute of Fundraising and Charity Finance Group.
The survey of 455 charities found that 19% have already made redundancies, and that 23% plan to make further cutbacks once the government’s furlough scheme comes to an end. That number jumps to 44% among the UK’s largest charities. Remarkably, nearly one-in-ten (8%) large charities anticipate reducing their headcount by 25-50%.
5,400 job losses have already been announced in the charity sector since the start of the pandemic, but the Charity Sector Tracker results indicate that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Pro Bono Economics estimates that the true figure is closer to 25,600 and that another 34,100 charities sector employees may have lost their jobs by the end of the year.
Job losses on such a scale will result in a painful contraction of charity provision at the very moment thousands more are expected to turn to them for help. Unemployment in the UK is anticipated to double in the run-up to Christmas, just as the risk of a second wave of coronavirus infections is at its highest. But while 68% of charities expect demand for their support to rise in the next six months, 58% say it is likely they will have to reduce the services they offer over the same period.
This pressure is expected to last well into 2022, with 70% of the charities surveyed expecting it to take more than 12 months for their income to return to pre-crisis levels and 26% thinking the climb back will take more than two years.