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The Kreston Charities COVID-19 Survey Report

14 July 2021

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New Charity Research reveals post pandemic optimism in the third sector.

Research carried out by the Kreston Charity Group, including Thames Valley based James Cowper Kreston and Darlington based Clive Owen LLP, paints a mixed picture of the current financial health of the charity sector but, with a confident outlook for the future.

The Kreston Charities Survey 2021 questioned their client charities, the responses addressed the current financial picture, use of government coronavirus support, and the future of the sector.

The key highlights showed:

  • More than 95% of the charities questioned believe they have been financially resilient during the pandemic, despite less than 10% previously having risk-assessed this situation.
  • Almost 80% of the charities are happy with their current reserves levels.
  • 65% expect income to increase from current levels.
  • 97% believe they will be able to survive the next 12 months.
  • Over 70% are expecting an increase in demand for their services.
  • 57% have been providing more services online.
  • 53% have accessed the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
  • 18% have used the Coronavirus Community Support Fund.
  • 60% are considering flexible working going forwards.
  • Over 70% envisage a blended mix of face to face and online Trustee’s meetings in the future.
  • Government support was rated at 6.7/10 overall.

The report also highlighted details of the changing working practices implemented during the pandemic that are expected to remain including flexible working, more digital and online services, and mental health and wellbeing support for employees.

Read the full report and its conclusions here.

Mike Farwell, Chair of the Kreston Charity Group, partner at James Cowper Kreston, and co-author of the report, said:  “The good news is that there is a lot of positivity, aligned with some caution, about the way forward.  What is apparent is that a clear strategy is needed with the acceptance that things may not be done in the same way they have previously been.  Charities need to consider these issues as the world changes to ensure they maintain their relevance.”

Overall, the report painted a generally positive picture. As with businesses and economies globally, there can be no doubt that charities have been hit, and in some cases hit badly by Covid-19. However, the survey has highlighted the implications of the pandemic on the future of the charities that responded.

Chris Beaumont, partner at Clive Owen LLP added:  “The Kreston Charities Survey 2021 was carried out in unprecedented times.  We wanted to provide an overview of the impact of Covid-19 on charities and their beneficiaries and most importantly how they see the future.

The findings show that some charities have been significantly impacted, especially through lost income, whilst others have found more flexibility in the way they raise and spend money.’’

The survey was completed by a cross-section of individuals working with charities – 50% being trustees and 50% chief executives or senior managers.  The income of the charities participating reflected the overall sector and the areas they work in include education, arts, culture, health and social care, community sport and grant-making.



The Kreston charity group comprises of 11 firms which work with more than 2,000 charities of various sizes and within may sectors across the UK.  The representation across the group gives it a unique perspective and enables it to deliver proactive advice and guidance to organisations working from health campaigns to animal welfare.  The network offers a wealth of experience combined with the scope and capability to support and guide charities of all sizes.