UK Charity Week 2020 – Time to Celebrate and Donate

Helen Oparinde, Development Officer in VAL’s Voluntary Sector Support team, reflects on 2020 in terms of charity fundraising, looking at how UK Charity Week can help raise the profile of the local Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector as it continues to provide support during the pandemic into 2021.

UK Charity Week is a campaign designed to place awareness and fundraising for charities high on the national agenda. In 2020 UK Charity Week is held 7 to 13 December.

Christmas Jumper Day

One of the themes of the week that the general public might know well is Christmas Jumper Day, which this year is being held on Friday 11 December.
From a TV advertising perspective the general public might know Christmas Jumper Day for a fundraising campaign held by Save the Children, where office workers have swapped their business attire for an outlandish Christmas themed jumper to raise Christmas spirit and simultaneously raise funds for a worthwhile cause.

UK Charity week complements this initiative by raising the profile of all charities, especially some that don’t have the revenue to do expensive fundraising campaigns. If you are thinking of donning a Christmas Jumper whilst home working on 11 December, consider making a donation to a local charity. You can find details of support services during COVID-19 to help make your decision on which to choose.

The state of fundraising in 2020

Like many other businesses, local VCSE organisations have had to adapt to the requirements of being COVID-19 secure. This all involves additional costs at a time when demand for support is ever-increasing. Grants have been available for charities to apply for this expenditure but competition for funding remains high.

One local charity, Leicester Children’s Holidays, has come up with a solution for their fundraising needs by revamping their Highcross headquarters into a visitor centre. A range of 300 children’s toys are on sale including board games, dolls, soft toys and puzzles with a ten per cent discount on everything. All profits go straight to the charity, which takes disadvantaged children on life-changing holidays. The Charity Commission has some useful guidance on how a charity can lawfully trade.

However, for others adapting fundraising practices to replace the Christmas fair isn’t so easy.

The Chartered Institute of Fundraising in its recent report Reframing the Ask: Trends which will shape giving and fundraising post-COVID-19 highlighted that pre-COVID19 public generosity had been growing. There had been a real 29% increase in average UK household giving over the last couple of decades.

Their research indicated that levels of charitable giving are directly linked to wider economic growth. What this might mean in the post-COVID-19 era can be assessed through applying the Treasury’s most optimistic and pessimistic forecasts of GDP to project household giving. This suggests charities might see a fall in the range of 0% – 25% in the value of household giving in 20/21 (or worse), followed by low flat growth for some time.

In addition, commissioning by local authorities to the local VCSE sector during the pandemic has been quite static as they have to concentrate on putting their time and effort into assisting the government with local initiatives to resolve the spread of the pandemic.

As we draw to the end of the EU Transition period on 31 December 2020, amendments to the Regulations in relation to the withdrawal of the UK from the EU will come into force. This means that, whilst the framework and principles underlying the public procurement regime will not substantially change, contracting authorities will be required to publish notices for new procurement to the new UK e-notification service, Find a Tender.

The Local Government Association (LGA)’s recent comments on the Chancellor’s spending review highlights their concerns that public finances will undoubtedly be under huge strain in the years ahead. This will all have a knock-on effect on the funding available to the local VCSE sector as they assist with the national recovery next year and beyond.

Therefore, donations by the general public provide a much-needed component to any local charity’s funding mix.

How to resume public fundraising

Back in April we talked about fundraising during challenging times. However, we didn’t have the foresight to know that those challenging times would stem into the winter of 2020.

The Fundraising Regulator stands up for best practice in fundraising, in order to protect donors and support the vital work of fundraisers. As the first lockdown eased, the regulator produced some guidance for charities to consider how to resume public fundraising, as well as some overarching COVID-19 guidance.

The guidance provides details on how to:

  • Plan your future fundraising
  • Behave and interact safely and respectfully with the public
  • Safeguard the public, staff and volunteers
  • Undertake a risk assessment

It includes lots of practical tips for charities to undertake face to face fundraising. Such as reviewing methods for exchanging items and maintaining a static position when discussing contributions with a member of the public.

Alongside this guidance the regulator has published details of what the general public can expect from fundraisers during the pandemic. This includes fundraisers being transparent and responsive, being ready to explain to the public why they are fundraising and the steps they have taken to ensure it is being done responsibly and safely.

Utilising these documents will enable charities to train fundraisers on new approaches before restarting fundraising and lead to more successful financial and responsible fundraising initiatives in line with the Code of Fundraising Practice and current UK Government advice on Coronavirus. To be kept up to date on UK government advice, sign up to VAL’s Voluntary Sector Support newsletter.

If your charity would like help with implementing this guidance or any other fundraising queries please get in touch. If using the online contact form, use ‘support for your voluntary organisation’ in the ‘reason for contact’ drop down box.

Finally, let us know what Christmas Jumper you wore and which local charity you donated to by tweeting and copying #UKCharityWeek and @valonline into your tweet.

Helen Oparinde

Helen Oparinde is a Development Officer for VAL as part of the Voluntary Sector Support team. Helen is an expert in charity governance and provides face-to-face and telephone advice to local charities and community groups. You can contact Helen at