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March 26th, 2020ArticlesGeoffrey Hand 0 Comments

Here is some practicaladvice to help your charity survive the Coronavirus crisis.

  1. In times of trouble, think positive.
  2. Above all, look after your beneficiaries and look after your staff.
  3. Remember your charity’s reputation matters – do to others as you would be done by.
  4. If you have fund-raised for an event that is not going to happen, refunds may be necessary. But try asking your individual donors, who may well be happy to stand by their donations.
  5. For cancellations and postponements, talk to your suppliers and customers. “Jaw jaw” not “war war” . Try agreeing a deal. No-one is going to criticise you for an honestly-negotiated compromise.
  6. If you have to fight your corner, look in the small print for “Force Majeure”. Normally these clauses seek “to apportion the risk fairly between the contacting parties”. Always take legal advice if you are unsure and always when the stakes are high.
  7. Confirm all deals in writing. Keep a record of the reasons for your decisions.

Managing meetings

In these times of social distancing, self-isolation and even lock-down, meetings in person can be well-nigh impossible. But there are ways forward.

Charity Board and Trustee meetings should not in fact be too great a problem. Charity trustees and directors are generally free to use video or telephone conferencing. But check your charity’s constitution or articles of association in case of restrictions. Notice and quorum requirements still stand.

AGMs and other meetings of members can be much more tricky, especially if the agenda is contentious. Members almost always have the right to hold trustees and directors to account and this must be respected.  Video or telephone conferencing coupled with postal voting may be feasible but is far from straight-forward. Again, notice and quorum requirements would apply.

I’m here to help

These times are challenging. But I am here to help plot a course through these uncharted waters. Call me for a free initial consultation on keeping going despite COVID-19.

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Geoffrey Hand

Geoffrey Hand is a charity governance consultant, offering governance consultancy and training. He also provides legal services management, helping charities get better value for money from their lawyers. Geoffrey has extensive experience in the charity and legal worlds, and his mission is to help charities deliver good governance.

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