Funding round-up: February 2020

Budget 2020

On 11 March the government will deliver its first big tax and spending event since late 2018, after last year’s Brexit turmoil. Along with other sector bodies, we’ve written to the chancellor setting out how the government can support the social and economic infrastructure needed for communities to thrive. Our four proposals call on the government to:

On the day, I’ll provide analysis on my blog of what the various announcements mean for charities. You can also follow me on Twitter for updates.

Road Ahead 2020

We’ve published our Road Ahead 2020 report setting out the key political and economic trends, social movements and technological breakthroughs that are likely to shape the voluntary sector’s operating environment this year and beyond. The report identifies a number of economic and funding trends.

  • Poor productivity and Brexit will shape the health of the economy for the foreseeable future.
  • The number of people giving to charity is showing signs of decline, while philanthropy is coming under increased scrutiny.
  • There has been a change in the nature of poverty, away from the unemployed and towards the working poor.
  • Austerity has only been paused, not reversed – this year’s spending review will mark a decisive moment for the funding of public services.

You can read the full Road Ahead 2020 here or, for a whistle-stop tour, Elizabeth has set out 20 things for charities to think about in 2020 in her summary blog post.

Update on UK shared prosperity fund

Along with other sector partners, we’ve written to Simon Clarke MP congratulating him in his appointment as the new minister with responsibility for devolution and levelling up. With the UKSPF now scheduled to begin as early as April 2021, the consultation on the fund – repeatedly delayed since 2017 – is urgently required. We’ve asked the minister to make the UKSPF a key priority to help avoid gaps in funding and the loss of vital support for communities across the country. Our hope is that more detail emerge in next month’s budget – follow my blog for updates on the day.

ACF report on impact and learning

The Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF) has published a new report on how foundations understand the total impact they are making with all their resources. Impact and Learning: The Pillars of Stronger Foundation Practice is the second report emerging from the Stronger Foundations initiative. It sets out seven characteristics of excellent practice in a foundation, which include understanding its mission, using all the tools available, avoiding harmful processes, and learning from failure.

Changes to the SORP committee

Fourteen members have been newly appointed to the committee that oversees the rules for how charities across the UK and Ireland report on their finances. The move is part of an attempt to make the accounts of charities more user-friendly for the public, funders and others, and to make preparation easier for smaller charities. The committee now includes organisations which work closely with charities and have a working knowledge of charity accounts, as well as greater membership from smaller charities.

Ethical and legal challenges of charitable donations

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) have released their latest Giving Thought podcast. CAF chat to John Picton from the Charity Law and Policy Unit at the University of Liverpool about charity law and the ethical and legal challenges surrounding certain kinds of charitable donations. Issues discussed include tainted money, zombie trusts, and nationalising charitable assets.

Fundraising Preference Service

The Fundraising Regulator is conducting an independent evaluation of the Fundraising Preference Service and are seeking the views of charities. They have published a 15-minute questionnaire for charities who are registered with the Fundraising Regulator or have received a request to stop communications to a named individual.

Successful challenge to business rates relief decision

Charity Tax Group has reported that the charity Nuffield Health has successfully challenged Merton LBC over its decision not to grant mandatory business rates relief on a gym. The charity argued successfully that its gym (previously a commercial operation run by a separate entity) was used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes and was therefore eligible for 80% mandatory charitable rates relief.

Society lotteries reform

The Gambling Commission is consulting on licensing conditions and guidance for society lotteries. This is mostly a knock-on from the government’s decision last year to raise the per draw limit of lottery proceeds and the maximum individual prize for large and small society lotteries. But the consultation is also looking at measures to enable lottery consumers to make better informed decisions about whether to gamble, which is a welcome step towards greater transparency. The consultation ends on 12 March 2020.

NCVO Annual Conference

It’s the NCVO Annual Conference on Monday 20 April. Join us for an opportunity to step away from the day-to-day and reflect on the rapidly changing world. Network with colleagues from across the sector and further your professional development in expert-led breakout session on topics including income generation and strategy.


Charity finance for non-financial managers – 15 May

This course will provide you with increased confidence and greater ability to review and assess your organisation’s financial health. Find out more and book your place.

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Paul joined NCVO over seven years ago after working for a leading public affairs agency. Since then he’s led our policy work on a variety of issues, including welfare-to-work reforms, volunteering, the Compact, public service commissioning and procurement regulations. He now leads our work on funding and finance with a particular focus on charity tax relief and safeguarding EU funding post-Brexit.

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