Almost half of charities sell property and assets amid Covid cash crunch

·2-min read
Models of elderly people on a pile of coins and bank notes (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Archive)
Models of elderly people on a pile of coins and bank notes (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Archive)

Almost half of charity bosses have sold property or other assets in a bid to stay afloat amid a cash crunch following the impact of the pandemic, according to new figures.

Research by wealth management group James Hambro & Partners has revealed the significant financial strain currently facing the UK’s charity sector.

It said a survey of 100 senior executive of large UK charities found that 45% sold assets such as property in a bid to boost their income.

Meanwhile, around 8% of bosses interviewed believe they are at risk of closure over the next 12 months.

Over half of the charities we surveyed reported a drop in income of over a third since the start of the pandemic

Nicola Barber

Nicola Barber, partner and head of charities at James Hambro & Partners, said: “Many charities have had to endure significant falls in their income during the pandemic, but at the same time demand for their services has increased.

“Over half of the charities we surveyed reported a drop in income of over a third since the start of the pandemic.

“This has placed huge financial strain on them and sadly our research shows the drastic steps many have had to take to continue to offer the vital services they provide, and in some cases survive.”

The charities surveyed have around £3 billion worth of investments and have had to utilise this amid fundraising challenges.

Almost two-third of charities with £1 million of investable assets, 64%, said they had to sell or cash in on investments during the pandemic amid lower income.

Around 68% of charity executives added that they believe it will take at least six months before income levels return to pre-pandemic levels.

Patrick Trueman, portfolio manager at James Hambro & Partners said: “For those charities with investment assets, not only are they important to their overall financial strength, they also provide a very important source of income to help them deliver on their charitable objectives.

“Although stock markets have risen since the early part of the pandemic, portfolios that were targeting high levels of income suffered as many dividends were cut or cancelled.”

James Hambro & Partners also commissioned consumer research with 1,000 people across the UK which found that 36% of regular donors to charities have cut back the amount they give following the pandemic.

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