Following the announcement that more than 2,000 charities across England are having their funding cut or withdrawn by local councils they now need to find new funding streams. Local government minister Bob Neil was quoted as saying the government was offering charities help to move away from state funding.
Some questions remain unanswered, for example when will the funding be cut, and how long will charities have to find alternative funding? Can a charity that has had say 50% of funding cut be given sufficient time to source alternative funding. Of course charities can look internally for cost savings, but many are lean organisations so there will be limited opportunities.
One area that many charities, both national and smaller regional charities have been able to exploit is gift aid. Those charities that have a retail presence have been able to raise substantial funds through gift aid. For example a small hospice in the south of England that has 11 stores generates over £100,000 each year through gift aid, so there are real opportunities out there.
That said what other options are open to charities, rely on volunteers to work that was originally done by paid staff? One could argue that whilst the government is ring fencing International Aid, should there be lobbying for them to ring fence charity funding paid by local councils? Whatever happens next charities need to look to for innovative new ways to plug the shortfall, whilst gift aid is not a complete panacea it certainly offers some answers to the stark issues facing charities.