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How can you support those affected by coronavirus?

If you’d like to use your extra time at home during the coronavirus lockdown to support people and causes impacted by the pandemic, our philanthropy team has some useful suggestions.

2 min read


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“There is such a thing as society”, said Boris Johnson during a recent video message to the nation, contradicting a famous quote by Margaret Thatcher.

Well, whichever Prime Minister you side with, the coronavirus pandemic has shown us all there certainly is such a thing as kindness.  Whether it’s people taking their elderly neighbours food or joining a national round of applause to celebrate key workers, current conditions have shown some of the best of humanity.

Many of our clients have been demonstrating this spirit of kindness for years through their philanthropy. They’ve done well for themselves and want to use their wealth to support the causes they care about. And as we all stay at home and stay safe, they have been asking us how best to support the people and charities affected by coronavirus.

Here’s how we think you can make the biggest difference right away, over the coming months and further into the future.


To provide quick support: Donate to the National Emergencies Trust

If you want to make a donation quickly and effectively, you should do so through the National Emergencies Trust (NET) Covid-19 appeal. We’re pleased to say that our parent company, NatWest Group, is matching donations made by all customers and colleagues* if you make your donation on this page.

The NET was established in 2019 to provide fundraising services for emergencies in the UK, and delivers the money raised via a network of local partners. This means it raises funds specifically and at pace for those affected by a domestic crisis. For this appeal, the Community Foundations network is delivering the first round of support.

Victoria Papworth, philanthropy specialist at the Coutts Institute, says, “NET works through local partners who are very experienced at handing out funding to people on the ground. So it’s the best way to make sure the funds you give reach the right people. It allows organisations working frantically at this time to receive the support without having to manage multiple donations from different places.”

Another option is an organisation called Crowdfunder, which is offering free crowdfunding campaigns to directly support small businesses and local charities.

*Until 30th June, up to £5m total donations matched.


To help charities survive: Make a ‘no strings attached’ donation

Working with charities in these challenging times is about much more than an emergency response. It’s about building resilience to help local services survive, and making sure people continue to have the support they need.

Make no mistake, the virus poses a real threat to the very existence of charitable organisations across the country, stuck between a massive drop in income and a huge increase in demand.

They could stand to lose over £4 billion in income over the next three months, according to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. And nearly 40% of charities recently surveyed by the Charities Aid Foundation said they would not be able to operate in their current form in six months’ time without help.

Rachel Harrington, Head of the Coutts Institute, says, “No charity is immune to the impacts of this virus. It doesn’t really matter which particular sector, cause or charity our clients care about, whether that’s homelessness, education, the arts, domestic violence, refugees, or the environment. Everything is going to feel the brunt of reduced income and the struggle to deliver services people need.

“For those clients who already support charities, either locally, nationally or internationally, now is the time to get in touch to offer support and make those unrestricted donations that charities can use to keep going.”


To have a longer-term impact: Make your giving a family affair

When it comes to making the biggest impact with your longer-term philanthropy, it’s all about having a strategy, building relationships with the organisations you support, and involving your family.

“Our conversations with clients over recent weeks have really reinforced how much giving is a family affair.”
Rachel Harrington, Head of the Coutts Institute

Victoria says, “It’s really important to take a strategic approach. Cash flow is important for charities in the short term, but by helping to keep that organisation in place over the longer term, you can really make a difference to the relevant cause.”

Rachel adds, “Our conversations with clients over recent weeks have really reinforced how much giving is a family affair. This crisis has prompted them to reflect more as a family about which causes really matter to them, what their values are as a family and what kind of footprint they want to make in the world and in their communities. Now is a great time to have those conversations with family members."

For more information on how Coutts can support your philanthropy, please speak to your private banker or visit our philanthropy web page.

We’re committed to supporting clients who may be affected by coronavirus and have robust plans in place to minimise any disruption to our service.

Find out more here

Important information: Organisations discussed are not endorsed by Coutts and this information does not constitute a recommendation for funding or investment. Risks associated with supporting or investing in these organisations are and remain the donor’s own responsibility. Coutts does not receive commission or other benefits from these organisations. Clients should take their own advice regarding the legal and tax implications of their donations. References to third party websites are included to assist clients. The views and opinions expressed in these websites are those of the website authors and are not necessarily shared by Coutts. The information has been sourced from what is available in the public domain, and through conversations with individual organisations. It is designed to introduce the work of a range of charities and/or social enterprises that may be of interest to you.