During the current COVID-19 emergency, charity trustees are having to cope with serious financial challenges that will have a major effect on their charities and those who depend on them. Many charities are facing the double challenge of a sudden fall in income with an increase in demand for their services. The Charity Commmision for Northern Ireland has prepared guidance for charity trustees, especially of smaller charities, who may not have access to professional financial advice.
The guidance sets out some practical steps charity trustees can take to manage their charity through these financial difficulties and, if necessary, plan for the uncomfortable possibility that your charity may not survive this crisis. in the guidance you will find information on:
assessing your charity's current financial situation
identifying when your charity is at risk of running out of funds
developing a recovery plan
charity trustee liability
what to do if your charity cannot continue to operate because of the impact of COVID-19
The guidance is available on the COVID-19 guidance page of the Commission's website.
Management committees sometimes express confusion over who should be responsible for financial management. Although staff may be employed, it is the duty of the management committee to ensure that the organisation complies with accepted good practice.
The Management Committee's role is that of ‘guardian' of the organisation's resources. They will be held accountable for any mismanagement.
This obligation requires the management committee to be actively involved in the financial management of the organisation. This includes setting financial plans, monitoring and evaluating the implementation of these plans and ensuring that any necessary adjustments are put in place as soon as possible.
Whatever size of organisation is involved, it is reasonable to expect that the management committee will:
- ensure that assets (property, money, etc) are applied towards the organisation's charitable purpose and aims;
- operate in an accountable and transparent manner;
- make effective and efficient use of available resources; and
- provide financial information on an accurate, relevant and timely basis.
Need to know more?
For further information about financial management, look at the following four sections:
- Segregation Of Duties; and
- Financial Procedures.
Each section contains information and a short Financial Health Check to make it easy for you to either:
- identify procedures and systems your management committee needs to have in place in order to safeguard your organisation; or
- see how well your organisation complies with good practice.
Or check out the following easy reference resources: