Renowned philanthropist Sir Alec Reed shares why giving will really count this Christmas.
There is no doubt that charities have suffered greatly since the global pandemic hit. Research recently conducted by one of the charities I founded, the Big Give: theBigGive.org.uk, found that almost two thirds of charities (63%) have reported a drop in income whilst more than half (55%) have seen demand for their services increase. If they are to recover, this Christmas will be crucial. One in five charities rely on the Christmas period for more than a quarter of their annual income.
Even in it’s most difficult times, The United Kingdom has a proud history of charitable giving. We’ve seen amazing feats of giving this year, just look at Captain Tom who raised an incredible £32m for NHS charities! For those with the means to give, I hope it is a tradition that we see continue in this upcoming festive season.
Perhaps your clients are already considering giving this Christmas, others may be reluctant because of economic uncertainty. But I would urge that now is not the time to hold back. Here are 7 causes I will be supporting this Christmas. I hope this might prove a useful starting point for engaging in these conversations.
- Homelessness - Christmas in a notoriously difficult time for those who are homeless. Shelter estimates there are 280,000 homeless people in the UK. Their challenging situation has been exacerbated by Coronavirus and we will no doubt see that number rise as the economic consequences of the pandemic play out. Indeed, 81% of homeless and refuge charities have reported an increase in people seeking their assistance since Coronavirus.
- Cancer - It’s well documented that those living with cancer have struggled to get access to services this year. Cancer charities have been the worst hit sector in terms of reduction in income with 4 out 5 cancer charities reporting reduced income. Having survived colon cancer, I can only imagine how difficult it is for those who need help but cannot get it.
- The Elderly - At 86, I’m fortunate that I am surrounded by family and friends who I see regularly. Many older people are not so lucky. According to Age UK, more than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. This is a problem which will only be made worse through the restrictions we currently face.
- Young People - When it comes to the economic impact that Coronavirus has wrought, young people have been adversely affected. Many young people face the prospect of joblessness, lack of opportunities and the mental health challenges which lack of employment brings. The Resolution Foundation recently revealed that 1 in 5 young people who were furloughed have lost their jobs. It’s integral we support this generation.
- The Environment - Whilst our attention has been rightly focused on combating Coronavirus this year, we shouldn’t forget that we face an arguably greater threat to humankind, climate change. Environmental charities have struggled to rise above the noise this year and need our continued support.
- Women & Girls - Gender equality is an issue I care passionately about. I founded a charity in 1989 to champion women’s rights and ensure women help women. Whilst great progress has been made, we still have a long way to go!
- Small & Local Charities - Smaller charities are twice as more likely to have to close due to the loss of income caused by the pandemic. There are often incredible organisations right on our doorstep, helping our communities which don’t get the attention or recognition they deserve. I encourage everyone to research charities local to them using platforms such as the Big Give.
To find out more, plaese visit The Big Give