What Does ‘Relief Of Need’ Mean For A Charity?

Charity Commission’s 5 Year Strategy

Every charity has a purpose and for some, this is the relief of need, hardship and distress. Historically this has been interpreted as the relief of poverty and has been interpreted as helping those with limited financial means.

All you have to do is read the news or pick up a newspaper to come across stories mentioning high inflation, with forecasts suggesting it will go higher still, and soaring prices, especially for utilities. This can create a double-edged sword for charities.

Recent research has suggested that 71% of charity leaders are expecting to see an increase in demand for their services. At the same time, the increased pressure on household budgets is expected to see a decline in the level of donations made to charity with one recent survey suggesting that 14% of people have already cut back on their charitable giving to help cover the cost of their bills.

During the energy crisis, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi suggested that everyone earning up to £45,000 per annum is likely to need help with their energy bills which can prompt questions as to how ‘need’ should be defined in the current crisis.

Relief of need  – what can a charity do?

Now is a good time for charity trustees and senior managers to revisit their existing plans and strategies. This may involve reducing the amount of your average grant to support more people or postponing new projects to focus on your core services.

You may also wish to look at cooperating more with other charities.  Whilst each charity has its own focus and geographic area of operation it may be that working together with other organisations in your area that have similar aims will allow you to achieve more. Let’s say you have a grant application you cannot meet in full but maybe another organisation could also make a contribution to it. Please bear in mind though that you will need the applicant’s consent before sharing their data with other organisations.

Reviewing your criteria for beneficiaries and the types of grants that you make from tie to tie can also be worthwhile. Some years ago broadband and mobile phones were seen as luxury items. Today they are often an essential part of modern life and access to these can be essential for things such as education and access to services.

As life changes the thresholds for income and capital assets may also need to be kept under review. With inflation in double digits for much of the past year, many people who used to be able to get by comfortably are now facing more pressure on their finances. In the face of such conditions, it can be beneficial to sit down and review the financial criteria used to assess applications.

How Nelsons can help

For further information on the subjects discussed in this article, please contact a member of our expert Court of Protection team in DerbyLeicester, or Nottingham on 0800 024 1976 or via our online enquiry form.

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