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27th March 2020Covid-19 – Stay calm and put plans in place. A checklist for charities to consider during this period

Covid-19 will likely bring operational issues and potential financial implications for charities over the next few months. Despite these challenges, it’s vital that charities avoid reacting to current pressures too quickly. We encourage all charities to spend some time putting the right plans in place, to manage the situation in the best way possible.

We’ve put together some top guidance and a short checklist of key points to consider during this period.

Financial Management

  • Detailed cash flow forecasts – take the time to create this and don’t forget to factor in the following points:
    • Take a realistic view of income
    • Factor in key pinch points
    • Worst-case scenario – it may not be something you want to consider, but it’s important this – is there potentially a point when you may not be able to meet a potential cash flow test?
    • Regular reporting – regular communications to trustees to discuss any variances to normal procedures is vital
  • Reserves and income analysis – remember the following points when it comes to building out an analysis of your reserve income:
    • Look at designated funds and release, if required
    • If required approach restricted funders to see if monies can be freed up to unrestricted activity
    • Approach funders to see if funds can be received earlier than forecast
    • Research new funding streams to overcome new shortfalls (for example, regular donors cancelling their direct debits)
  • Review of expenditure – you may not think you need to do this, but it’s  worth taking stock and ensuring there is a clear view of where efficiencies could be gained. We would recommend a review to include:
    • Research government schemes – including Furlough and the impact on employees
    • Ask whether certain projects or activities be put on hold
    • Conduct an analysis of fixed costs and overheads 


From an operational perspective, the following points are worth considering:

  • Assess the capabilities of technology to undertake board and SMT meetings as usual
  • Form an Emergency Team that meet daily to address immediate issues
  • Review risk register in light of current events, to see whether risks previously mitigated are now significant and amend procedures accordingly. Don’t forget, this will then need to be reflected in the next Trustees report
  • Identify where any experience is lacking within your organisation and seek professional advice if you need to


  • Determine whether you are able to undertake your core activities or do these need to be amended, delivered differently or suspended

We hope that this provides a useful checklist to identify the issues you should consider in order to minimise impact and reassure stakeholders that you have strong plans in place.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch directly should you need any support or guidance during this time.

Key contacts

Jonathan Lachmann HW Fisher

Jonathan Lachmann
Principal - Charities

020 7380 4993
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Neal Gilmore HW Fisher

Neal Gilmore
Principal - Charities

020 7874 7975
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