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Survey - Survey

Covid-19 Members' Survey - Results

In June ACO emailed charity members a survey looking at how charities had responded to the Covid-19 pandemic so far. The questions asked charities to provide details of changes made to their operations, as we as details about support provided to beneficiaries during the pandemic since lockdown began on 23 March, comparing this to figures for support provided over the same period in 2019.

The purpose of this survey was not only to provide insight to ACO and its members about how benevolent charities had responded to this crisis so far, but to gather data to support an upcoming campaign to promote benevolent funds to key referrers and the general public as a source of support during this crisis.

The survey was answered by 30 different member charities, and below is a summary of some of the key findings from the survey.

Support provided during Covid-19 so far

Enquiries and applications

67% of members have seen enquiries for support increase since lockdown began on 23 March 2020. This includes 50% of members reporting seeing a significant increase in enquiries.

10% of members reported seeing enquiries stay at the same level, 17% had seen a slight decrease in enquires, while 7% had reported that enquires to their charities had decreased significantly.

ACO members who responded reported having 23,745 applications for support since 23 March 2020. This is in comparison to 10,708 applications reported by members over the same period in 2019. This marks a 122% increase in applications in support in 2020 in comparison to 2019.

87% of members anticipate applications for support to their charities will increase once the government’s Job Retention Scheme ends.

Financial Support

ACO members have provided financial support to 21,089 individuals collectively since 23 March 2020 in comparison to 12,043 in the same period in 2019, a 75% increase. 

ACO members have distributed approximately £15,395,898.91 in grants since 23 March 2020 compared to £5,560,643.15 reported over the same period in 2019. This is a 176% increase in the amount in grants distributed over the same period in 2020 as 2019.

53% of members had reported introducing a specific Covid-19 grant fund within their charities.

17% of members had distributed food vouchers to beneficiaries since lockdown began. Six member charities had distributed food vouchers to 2,642 individuals (with one member distributing to 2,469 of those individuals). This is over £696,320 in food vouchers distributed since 23 March 2020.

30% of members had provided grants for IT equipment during lockdown. Nine charities had provided support to 38 individuals specifically for IT equipment for children/students to use for studying or to enable adults to work from home.

Mental Health/wellbeing support

ACO member charities had provided mental health/wellbeing support to at least 2,029 individuals directly since 23 March 2020, as well as providing a larger range of support that has been accessed by many more via websites/hubs, apps, helplines and webinars run by charities. This is compared to mental health/wellbeing support provided to 1,039 individuals over the same period in 2019.

Operational changes within charities

As a result of Covid-19, lockdown measures and increased working at home, charities had reported making the following operational changes within their charities.

·       87% of charities still allow postal applications to be made to their charities, while 13% do not.

·       47% of members stated they had implemented changes within their charities to their application process to discourage postal applications since lockdown began, while 50% had not changed their application process.

·       Changes to the applications process included introducing online applications, encouraging applications be sent by email and completed in editable PDFs, suspending normal grants programmes to focus more on meeting people’s basic needs and helping more different households, allowing verbal consent as well as written consent for applications, and giving more decision-making capabilities to staff instead of Trustees over grants.

·       10% of member charities reported introducing fixed caps on grants as a result of Covid-19.

·       23% of ACO member charities had furloughed staff.