Charities can support each other through these tough times


18th January 2021

Alastair Keatinge, Partner and Head of Charities at Lindsays, reminds charities to use each other for support as they navigate the latest Covid-19 challenges.

When times are tough it can become all too easy to think that you are all alone in the issues we face. Yet, if there is a single unifying factor of the coronavirus pandemic, it is that none of us is.

The way in which the cloud of this crisis has enveloped all of our lives means that there will be someone - if not a great many people - somewhere, going through the same issues or challenges that you are grappling with.

And it’s important that, in our work or personal lives, that none of us forgets that. In fact, it’s something we can take some comfort from.

That’s a point that feels particularly true for Scotland’s third sector organisations as we try to predict what 2021 may hold.

Alastair Keatinge works with many charities and believes there’s no hiding from the scale of challenge they face in the wake of the funding collapse caused by Covid-19.

Difficult decisions are being made daily and the myriad of issues that charity executives and trustees must consider can be daunting. Indeed, the need for bold thinking and innovation this year is going to be greater than ever.

Yet any executive or trustee worrying should not try to take all of this on individually or be reluctant to seek outside views. There are peers and others who can help. We have certainly had clients contact us for a reassuring chat and to gain our perspective.

Alastair comments, “I often think that the major strengths of Scotland’s charities are their willingness to work together and resilience. When times are tough, charities can be there for each other.”

In this time of uncertainty where circumstances change daily, one certainty for the third sector is that good governance, sound strategy and expert advice is more important than ever.

The pandemic has undoubtedly placed intense focus on how things can be done better, tempered by the fact that charities do not generally carry a lot of fat financially.

Alastair says, “Shaping the new visions needed starts from the top, of course. For me, that means we must have the best people - those who inspire ideas and innovation - as chairs.

“We need people who are prepared to ask themselves difficult questions in order to put proper plans in place. Has what’s been done right, what should have been done better and where does the organisation go next?.

“Among all of this, though, the lessons we can learn from each other should not be underestimated - and the most human advice I can give is to talk. No good, mentally or professionally, comes from bottling up the issues you or your organisation faces.”

So, positive or otherwise, pick up the phone or drop someone an email and share your experience. There are great people and networks among Scotland’s charities. Chances are that they’re grappling with the same issues, whether digital fundraising or the nuances of movement restrictions or furlough.

In times like these you don’t have to go it alone. Someone’s always there to listen and advise.

Alastair Keatinge is a Partner and Head of Charities at Lindsays 
0131 656 5746

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