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Charities see significant reduction in fundraising during COVID-19 lockdown

Virgin Money Giving calls on the UK public to 'Save our charities'

Many of Britain’s usually favourite good causes, supporting cancer, mental health, the homeless and those with disabilities, have seen a significant impact on their fundraising income during the COVID-19 lockdown, according to data gathered from online fundraising platform, Virgin Money Giving (VMG).

In the month following the start of COVID-19 lockdown, total charity donations remained very strong. VMG, the not-for-profit fundraising service, processed a record-breaking 1.15m individual donations in the 4 weeks to 21 April, and the total donation value increased by 151% year-on-year to £19m.

However, the vast majority of these donations were driven by NHS focussed charity activity. Beyond NHS Charities Together, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the UK charity market. The total charity sector donation value through VMG, excluding NHS donations, declined by 44% in the month following lockdown compared with the same period in 2019, from £12.5m to £7m.

Some of the UK’s biggest charities have been particularly hard hit. The top 50 charities on VMG, which includes many of our most well-known UK charities, saw fundraising income reduce by 93% in the month following lockdown compared with the same period in 2019.

Aside from the impacts seen within offline fundraising channels, such as the closure of charity shops and cancellation of charities’ own events, the penetration and value of online fundraising for the established charity sector has seen a substantial downturn. This is largely due to the postponement and cancellation of mass participation events which has a strong correlation to online fundraising and on which many charities rely to drive vital income. These events – in particular key annual events such as the Virgin Money London Marathon - greatly influence both fundraiser and donor behaviour.

Charities supporting the cancer sector, for example, have been impacted by COVID-19. Pre-lockdown, cancer related VMG registered charities were performing at an equivalent level to 2019, but in the month following lockdown donation income declined by 87% year-on-year. Similar numbers were seen for VMG registered charities supporting the Mental Health sector, despite an increase in demand for the support services.

From 21 April, aside from the NHS, all charity donation performance improved in the following month to 70% of 2019. Smaller charities have had a stronger recovery than the larger charities, which have been more greatly affected due to event cancellations.

Jo Barnett, Executive Director at Virgin Money Giving said: "Many charities have been impacted hard with reduced income during COVID-19, and it remains critical that they have support as we move into the first phase of recovery. These are the charities that will be providing vital support to those people who have suffered most during lockdown, including those affected by cancer treatment delays and increases in mental health issues, domestic abuse and child poverty.

"We’ve seen some fantastic ways people have been raising money for charity during lockdown, and there are lots of ways people are able to fundraise as we emerge from lockdown when the traditional routes are still not open to them. From virtual pub quizzes, running 5k in your back garden or taking part in a virtual 50k bike ride, we encourage people to see what they can do to raise money to support the charities close to their hearts."

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Notes to Editors

  1. All monetary amounts are gross and include Gift Aid.
  2. Examples of innovative fundraising efforts through Virgin Money Giving include:
  3. About Virgin Money

    Virgin Money is the new disruptive force in UK banking. Bringing together the combined history and expertise of Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank and Virgin Money, we are the only bank outside the ‘Big 5’ that boasts a genuine full-service personal and business banking capability. We serve 6.6 million customers across the UK through a digital-first approach that offers leading online and mobile services, supported by telephone and branch banking, including a national network of branches and business banking centres.

    We are structured around three divisions – personal, mortgages and business – offering a full range of products and services for consumers and small and medium sized businesses, delivered through our leading technology platform to deliver a consistently world class experience for customers.

    Our ambition is clear – to make Virgin Money a new force in consumer and business banking that will disrupt the status quo.

  4. About Virgin Money Giving

    Virgin Money Giving is the UK’s largest not-for-profit online fundraising website from Virgin Money and was established in 2009. In October 2019, Virgin Money Giving turned ten, and since launch, has helped over 14,000 UK charities and 1 million fundraisers raise over £800 million to support their work in the UK and overseas.

    Virgin Money Giving has never made a profit, meaning as much money as possible goes to good causes, while maintaining a safe, secure, user-friendly and reliable service.

    Virgin Money Giving provides charities with tools such as fundraising and ‘in memory’ pages, campaign and appeal pages, donate buttons, event creation, regular giving, custom solutions with APIs, and reporting and data management.

    Virgin Money Giving collects gift aid for free for charities and provides them with a dedicated help desk, training and advice, marketing consent collection and the option for donors to cover their fees. There are no monthly fees for charities.

    Fundraisers can personalise their fundraising pages, send out email alerts and manage their fundraising events. They can include their own content, photos and links to their page as well as customise messages for their supporters and link their page to social networking sites. Virgin Money Giving provides fundraising ideas and tips, offering help and advice on how to raise more for charity. In addition to supporting individual fundraisers, Virgin Money Giving also supports Appeals, Corporate and In Memory fundraising.

    Virgin Money Giving is the official fundraising partner of events that include the Virgin Money London Marathon, Swim Serpentine, Prudential RideLondon and the Royal Parks Half Marathon.

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