Key governance challenges for charities during the COVID-19 crisis

Cecile Gillard addresses some of the challenges faced by charities during the COVID-19 crisis.

2020 AGMs

For membership charities that are obliged to hold AGMs because of their constitutions, and those that are choosing to do so due to member relationships and wider stakeholder communications, making the right decisions about the 2020 AGM remains a pressing issue. The Chartered Governance Institute’s AGMs & COVID-19 guidance will help you identify the issues and reach the right solutions.

Reviewing and adapting the board's agenda and priorities

Boards are reviewing and adapting their work plans. Addressing the continuing financial strains and managing the organisation’s other more immediate COVID-19 challenges remain vital. As is how to adapt support for current beneficiaries and safeguard existing activities, even if those are currently scaled back or on hold. The well-being of your team, retention of supporter and donor loyalty, re-scheduling planned project dates and major projected expenditure are also key areas.  Your 2021 budget will need to be very different.

Adapting communications

The pandemic continues to require organisations to adapt their usual channels of communication. Often that involves using digital options for revised service delivery and temporary replacements for face-to-face interactions. Thoughtful reflection is important to determine which of these changes are genuinely beneficial. This will bring clarity on which areas are best addressed by people being together again, when the necessary current restrictions can be lifted.

Sensitive changes to your organisation’s messaging and language need the board’s attention. Especially for non-COVID-19 critical worldwide imperatives, such as climate change and the environmental crisis.

Looking ahead

This will pass and charities will have a vital role in helping communities recover from the pandemic, in the UK and across the world. Visionary boards are beginning to consider how their organisations can be part of that.

Cecile Gillard is a charity law and governance specialist. She is co-tutor of the Institute’s Certificate in Charity Law and Governance and author of a number of the Institute’s charity titles.

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