Over the last couple of years we have all been on a journey into the unknown and now we feel like we might have arrived, but…
As the terrible situation in Ukraine continues to escalate, and UK donors and charities continue to do all they can to help, the Charity Commission has issued further guidance to help charities and their trustees navigate the many complex challenges.
Through this new guidance the Commission seeks to answer and provide signposts to some of the most commonly asked questions and they have committed to updating this initial online resource regularly as the situation unfolds.
As we have seen in our local communities and in the press, many charities have already launched emergency appeals. Advice is available to trustees on how to respond in an emergency, how to manage the risks associated with an emergency appeal and how to work collaboratively with other charities.
The Commission has seen an increase in the number of applications for new charity registrations and they are prioritising those associated with the crisis in Ukraine. They are, however, keen to encourage people to first consider whether supporting an established charity with experience in dealing with humanitarian crises would be a better option.
Supporting existing, established charities who already have the skills and networks on the ground is often a far safer and more efficient use of valuable resources than setting up a new charity from scratch. If collaborative and partnership working is the solution you arrive at, then referring to the Commission guidance on knowing your partner will be useful.
It is important that charities take a wide-ranging and long-term look at the implications of a potential change to their objects and consider what the impact may be on their existing beneficiaries
The Disasters Emergency Committee is a collective of 15 leading UK charities working in the region. Their Ukraine appeal is just one of many ways in which the incredibly generous UK public can support those affected by this crisis. The Register of Charities is also available to the public in order to help them identify other established charities working in the relevant areas.
The Commission is also aware that many charities are looking at their existing objects and considering whether they need to change these in order to support those affected by the invasion. It is important that charities take a wide-ranging and long-term look at the implications of a potential change and consider what the impact may be on their existing beneficiaries and whether this would indeed be in the interest of the charity as a whole.
Again, we come back to the point as to whether other charities may actually be better placed to respond. In coming to a decision you may find it helpful to use this guidance on trustee decision making and please also ask for our advice.
If changing the objects is the best outcome, there is guidance available on how to manage the process.
Other matters of vital importance include safeguarding, as the charity must ensure the safety of its beneficiaries, volunteers and staff. This can be particularly complex when operating internationally.
We also need to remind you that complying with financial sanctions is the responsibility of the charity. For charities with operations in Russia, financial sanctions imposed by the UK and other governments may impact on their ability to transfer funds. We would recommend signing up to receive email alerts from HM Treasury to keep up to date with the latest information on sanctions.
Please do not hesitate to contact our experienced team of charities and not-for-profit accountants if you have any questions arising from this or any other matter.