Rainy Day ceo, Bryan Clover, reflects on 2023 so far, and sets out the charity’s plans, and how you can support it, for the coming year.
The first six months of 2024 are going to be critical for businesses and charities alike. Inflation may well be easing but the effects of the last year or so of rising prices and utility bills will continue to be felt well into next year and beyond.
I’m running out of adjectives to describe the application rate for help – ‘flood’ seems to be about right, and apt when you think about the recent weather too. This year has been, for me, the weirdest that I have witnessed in my eight years as ceo at the Rainy Day Trust. The charity is facing a massive tension between falling income and rising demand.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the charity sector is in crisis. All of the main umbrella bodies like ACEVO, NCVO and the ACO are saying the same thing; that the funding shortfall across the sector cannot be sustained. Barclays launched a charity report last month that said that charity funding was forecast to fall by £2bn in 2023. The Charities Aid Foundation has said that 59% of charities have turned the tap off to new applications as they simply don’t have the funds to cope. The current round of predictions say that something between 32-35,000 charities will close between now and Spring due to the lack of funding.
So this is where you come in. In September 2022, the Rainy Day Trust Board said that we wouldn’t turn people away when they needed us, and demand for our help is running at triple historic levels. That need must be met, which in turn means that it needs to be funded. We have been chewing into reserves to cover the shortfall, but that is a finite pool to dip into and cannot be sustained. Please excuse the pun, but reserves are there for a ‘rainy day’ and right now it is coming down in stair rods out there.
Your colleagues call on us day in and day out. It might be for utility arrears or getting the car through its MOT. It might be for counselling or energy-saving packs. It could be a simple call asking us to help find a local support group for a child with ADHD. Their needs are often wide and complex. You will never know who has called us because we keep it confidential; a central pillar of what we do. But rest assured that we are helping them nonetheless.
So next year, we need your help. We are working on plans to cope with a challenging financial environment, to reduce our risks and continue to meet demand. Innovation is key. I’d like to come and have a discussion about how we can work together to better support your teams and also to talk about how you can help us. Many of you are already business partners or donate stock for us to sell for which we are immensely grateful. But many aren’t. There are dozens of ways that you can help, perhaps personally, perhaps as a business. Perhaps as a team using payroll giving.
Some of you will know that in the summer I was diagnosed with coronary heart disease and told to take things easy until further investigation could identify what needs to be done. Part of that is reducing stress. The financial pressure that the charity is under is producing stress by the bucket-load, so how about helping me to reduce that particular stressor? Get your people to do something as a fundraiser (Dry January?), join us as a corporate partner, or support one of our existing fundraising activities. In 2024, I turn 60 and as you know (because I have badgered you incessantly about sponsorship) I have done a number of endurance hikes and ultras. 2024 has to be something bigger despite the medical issues…
Next year I am planning the ‘Proclaimers’ Hike‘ – 500 miles and 500 more. I plan to hike 1,000 miles in 2024 and would love to have so many corporate sponsors on board that the flag that I will carry won’t be big enough. I steadfastly refuse to allow a bit of calcification on my arteries stop me from working to support the thousands of families that need the Rainy Day Trust to be there for them. Your families. Families that you know or work with. Will you be there to help? Will your business get involved and support this very personal challenge?
I know that we aren’t a massive national charity whose logo is instantly recognisable on your products and gets you huge recognition in the marketplace, but you know what? We can help every single person in your organisation in some way and no other charity out there can say that. Just like shopping locally, where a £20 purchase won’t touch the sides at the likes of the big stores, it matters to a small local business. It’s the same for us – a £1,000 donation will disappear into the background noise for NSPCC or RNLI, but it will make a huge difference for us.
So come on – how can you help?
For potential fundraising partnerships, contact CEO Bryan Clover email@example.com or call 07939 541289
To contact the Charity for support, call 0800 915 4627 or email via the RDT website https://www.rainydaytrust.org.uk/contact-us/