SCVS have gathered resources and information to provide support for voluntary organisations during the current Cost of Living crisis.

The crisis is affecting all of us as individuals, as well as the organisations we work for. Many people are struggling to make ends meet and organisations are finding it difficult to cover their rising operational costs. While they are facing these increasing financial pressures, many voluntary sector organisations will also see more people coming to them for support.

Look at the sections below for information on how your organisation can support its staff and volunteers, reduce energy costs, manage its finances and get financial support during the crisis.

We’ll continue to update this section as new resources become available, and as ever, if there is anything you’re particularly concerned about, contact the SCVS Team on [email protected] and we’ll do our best to help.

For information on ways to access support for individuals, click here

Supporting Staff

Volunteer management 

Financial support

Managing finances

Saving energy

Supporting Staff

Ways to support your staff during the Cost of Living crisis include having a wellbeing strategy to support employees’ physical, mental and financial health and introducing different ways of working, such as flexible hours and hybrid working plans.

You may also want to look at setting up channels to share advice and information, and developing employee benefit and transport support schemes.

Useful resources:

Cranfield Trust On Call is a free service for social welfare charities which provides one-off and immediate management support for charity leaders as they face the cost of living crisis.

Manage rising costs in your workforce  CBI highlights some of the areas where businesses are taking action to support their employees through the cost-of-living crisis.

Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of your team NCVO shows how to familiarise yourself with the early signs of mental health problems and create a supportive working environment.

Supporting staff through the cost of living crisis CAF Charity Resource Hub shares six ways to support staff during the cost-of-living crisis.

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Volunteer management 

As volunteer involving organisations, we are already seeing the impact of the Cost of Living crisis on our volunteering programmes and individual volunteers.

Here are our top tips for managing your volunteer involving programme:

Where it is possible, refresh your budgets for your volunteering programmes to make sure that no volunteer will be out of pocket during this really difficult time. Their expenses need to reflect the actual costs associated with their volunteering.

Build relationships with service providers to make arrangements for them to invoice you directly rather than require volunteers to pay up front and wait to be reimbursed.

Think about how you currently reimburse volunteer expenses. Could you arrange for cash in advance or immediate cash reimbursement in place of standard BACS payments or cheques payments.

Whilst this will be difficult for many organisations, discuss with your volunteering team, any actions that your organisation may be able to take to help retain your current volunteer base.

Consider offering information and assistance to your volunteer teams in relation to any additional support they can receive based on their personal circumstance. This may include things like circulating information on sources of support in newsletters, at team meetings etc.

Look at new / adapted roles which may reduce the costs associated with volunteering.

Where organisations are facing the loss of existing volunteers, for example people who may have to take up additional paid work to meet their own needs related to the Cost of Living crisis, consider with the volunteer if there are other roles or other ways of volunteering that they could continue to do, for example reduced hours.

If volunteers are having to reduce or cease their volunteering, consider a ‘keeping in touch’ strategy to maintain the contact with your organisation, circumstances may change and you may benefit from that volunteer’s contribution again in the future.

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Financial support

Several funders have included ‘Cost of Living’ in their application criteria or are prioritising applications for funding to support organisations and communities during the crisis. We will continue to update this section with relevant funds.

Co-op Warm Spaces Funding Boost
Co-op and Crowdfunder have teamed up to help community organisations navigate the cost of living crisis to provide vital services this winter. (This fund has now been fully allocated but you can still crowdfund here to support your community)

The Moondance Foundation are prioritising Cost of Living support for voluntary organisations within their General Funding.

The National Lottery Community Fund have introduced a new set of priorities to National Lottery Awards for All and People & Places funding to help support organisations and communities to address the Cost of Living crisis in Wales.

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Managing finances

As so many organisations face increasing financial pressures at this time, it is really important that your organisation remains financially resilient. Our top tips are a reminder of the things you may want to increasingly focus on at this time.

Update budgets to reflect the higher costs you are facing

Your cash flow- it is more important than ever to have clear oversight of your organisational finances so that you are alert, at the earliest opportunity to any risks you face

Monitor the impact of increased costs on your funding sources / budgets for different areas of your work

Dialogue with your funders- keep your funders updated with any challenges you are facing and the implications for your services

Comparing the costs of utilities and other goods and services you purchase to see if there can be any cost savings by changing or sourcing from other places

Seek help and advice as soon as you identify increased costs as a risk to your organisation or its services

Keep a close eye on any rebates or cost of living related funds available to your organisation

If the very challenging circumstances that we are facing mean that you are unable to continue to operate, seek advice and assistance to ensure that closing your organisation or service is legal, following your constitution and that you consider alternative arrangements for those that use your services / facilities

Make adequate provision for any forecast income shortfalls.

Make adequate provision to maintain services during funding gaps.

Make adequate provision for any planned capital or revenue expenditure where a funding source has not been identified.

Regularly review the risk register to monitor and cost any foreseeable financial risks.

Monitor and ensure you have legal, appropriate, robust arrangements in place for any use of your reserves.

Aim to include an adequate provision to ensure continuity of core operations during any period of difficulty, for a period of 3 to 9 months.

Try to maximise your organisation's income. Do this perhaps by considering developing new income streams, or where possible enhancing existing ones (such as reviewing membership or entrance fees etc), or perhaps by organising events or activities which you feel have successfully generated surpluses in the past. Use free thinking on this, within the realms of keeping things legal and complying with what is in your organisation's governing document, or what your regulatory body allows, including any guidance or laws covering fundraising, and your organisation's own aims and objectives.

Useful resources:

Manage financial difficulties in your charity arising from cost of living pressures
The Charity Commission- Guidance for Trustees about cost of living related financial difficulties in charities.

Strategies for increasing cash flow
The CAF Charity Resource hub gives an overview of strategies to  maximise your organisation’s cash flow.

Priorities for rising operational costs
The CAF Charity Resource hub has also identified the top priorities for coping with rising operational costs and building longer term organisational resilience.

Keep calm and carry on asking: fundraising in the cost-of-living crisis
DSC Directory of Social Change - Fundraising is difficult right now, but keep on going!

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Saving energy

Here are some ideas for reducing energy costs within your organisation.

Useful resources:

The UK Government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme aims to provide help for businesses and other non-domestic customers.

Cutting your charity’s energy costs: what you need to know today  Top ten tips to save energy at your organisation’s property from the CAF Charity Resource Hub.

Utility Aid is the UK's largest energy broker for the not-for-profit sector and have developed their National Charity Tender to help organisations save costs.

Energy saving tips for community buildings  The Centre for Alternative technology shares suggestions for community buildings as well as other more general energy advice.

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Support for individuals

We have created a list of resources which are aimed at helping people to cope with the challenges of the Cost of Living crisis.

Staying Well:

Staying well during the Cost of Living Crisis
Public Health Wales lists sources of support and advice to help you and those around you to stay well.

Keeping warm:

Swansea spaces (Warm hubs)
Places in Swansea that are offering a warm welcome to residents this autumn and winter.

Peoples Library has a warm spaces programme with activities and information

Safe, warm and well guide for winter health and wellbeing from the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS)

Financial support:

The Royal British Legion - Cost of Living Grants
Financial support for members of the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force, veterans and their families

Help with Childcare costs
Many working parents or carers in Swansea are not claiming money they are entitled to towards the cost of childcare.

 Information/support organisations:

Swansea Council - Cost of Living Help
Information on support for individuals

List of Support with Cost of Living Crisis  
The All Wales Forum shares a list of organisations and authorities who are providing advice, grants and possible funding to support people during the Cost of Living crisis.

Advicelink Cymru ‘Claim what’s yours’ helpline
Welsh Government funded Citizens Advice service designed to help people find out what extra support they are eligible for and to claim it. 0808 250 5700

Guidance and advice:

Cost of living crisis – guidance and advice
The Directory of Social Change gives background information alongside a number of practical tips and general guidance for individuals.

Cost of living crisis: help, advice and UK news  
Which gives free advice to help individuals through the cost of living crisis

StepChange 60-second debt test
Complete the StepChange 60-second debt test to help you understand how close you are to having a debt problem. It will then suggest the next steps you should take.

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