The Charity Commission has published guidance to help charities that are facing financial difficulties as a result of rapidly increasing costs and higher demand. The guidance reminds trustees of their duty to provide effective financial stewardship and provides suggestions about minimising costs, conserving income sources and approaching difficult decisions such as merging with another charity or closing altogether.
Energy costs are a particularly serious concern for charities, and the guidance provides updated information about energy bill relief available. According to a report published by Pro Bono Economics, 41% of charities and community groups across the UK say that their energy bills have increased. Among these, a third reported that their energy bills had more than doubled and one in five have reduced the use of their premises in order to cut energy costs. In addition to using the energy bill relief scheme, the Charity Commission guidance recommends that trustees should check whether they are paying the correct rate of VAT on the energy they purchase and to contact their supplier if they think that a refund may be due.
Other recommendations include teaming up with other charities with similar aims to share resources, approaching lenders to discuss whether loans can be re-scheduled and asking funders whether they are prepared to relax any restrictions they may have placed on how payments or grants are to be used. The guidance also includes advice for charities that are considering selling assets or drawing on their reserves and for charities with trading subsidiaries that are facing financial difficulties.
Take a look at our latest newsletter, it covers a range of topics, including:
- Spring Budget funding announcements for charities
- Consultation on social media guidance for charities
- Winter sales boost for charity shops
- Free property guide for charities
- More young adults planning to volunteer
- 36% of consumers cutting back on donations
- DfE scraps key academy proposals
- Plans to future-proof academy trusts
- DfE sets out vision for academy trust landscape in left-behind areas
- New Gambling Minister urged to remove financial limit on society lotteries