Expect a tough economic environment for the foreseeable future, charities have warned

Charities are expected to foresee an uncertain and difficult economic environment for the foreseeable future, NCVO said.

Directory Report on the road ahead 2021 The report, released today, identifies and explains the trends that are shaping the industry and are likely to impact organizations in the future.

This year the report will be available to everyone, not just members.

Sarah Vibert, Director of Membership and Engagement at NCVO, said: “There has been a lot of talk during the pandemic about recovery, renewal and the kind of society we want to build after Covid. The essential role of civil society in this endeavor cannot be underestimated. “

She added: “Yet at a time when the sector has never been more needed in terms of supporting people and communities, it has never known greater challenges in terms of reduced income.”


The report reads: “The unpredictable nature of the Covid-19 emergency and the potential for future lockdowns mean that the financial outlook for 2021 remains volatile. This makes economic forecasting difficult.

Nonetheless, the NCVO notes that if the deployment of the Covid-19 vaccine goes as planned, “we could see the UK economy rebound relatively quickly.”

Yet the pandemic coupled with a significant disruption to trade between the UK and the EU after the end of Brexit means that charities “should plan for an uncertain and difficult economic environment for the foreseeable future.”

The report states that organizations will therefore need to “ensure that they can be as responsive and adaptable as possible”. This will mean moving away from the long or medium term strategy and tackling the emergency response.

The NCVO notes that “unemployment is rising and is expected to rise further.” Indeed, in August 2020, Pro-Bono Economics estimated that 25,600 jobs had already been cut and that an additional 34,100 people in the sector could lose their jobs by the end of the year.

The Covid-19 has also widened the gap between rich and poor, with the poorest households seeing their savings plummet and their debts increase.


The report says the immediate impacts for charities around Brexit “appear to be limited”.

He suggests examining how data is handled and says ending free movement will have implications for charities looking to recruit, especially for very specialized roles.

The NCVO adds: “The UK government has prioritized a higher degree of control over politics in the negotiations, which is reflected in the final deal. Due to the new nature of this agreement, it is not clear how this will play out. “

It also states that “the UK could split over the next two years” as we could see Scottish independence.


The Road Ahead report suggests that technological trends accelerated by Covid-19 “are unlikely to be reversed.”

While digital growth has many benefits, the pandemic has also highlighted existing gaps in digital skills and charitable infrastructure, making this transition difficult.

Digital played a crucial role in mobilizing the general public during Covid-19. Self-help groups often organize entire activities through social media, including Facebook and WhatsApp.

At the same time, digital exclusion has also prevented some people from volunteering, especially those from low-income backgrounds or those over a certain age.

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