The UK is experiencing a cost of living crisis not seen in decades. Inflation hit a 40-year high of 10.1% in July and the Bank of England expects it to reach 13.3% by October.
What’s happening? Between the COVID-19 pandemic, energy and supply chain crises, the Ukraine invasion, and recent increases in household taxes, National Insurance, and Council Tax… the cost of everything is rising. Fuel, electricity, food, household goods, you name it, prices have gone up. Especially energy and food. Some grocery items have so much as doubled in cost this year.
We tend to focus on the bright side of things at ActionFunder but there’s no denying that things are far from bright right now. Through working closely with non-profits, we’re hearing new stories every day that highlight the consequences currently faced by low-income families.
The reality for UK consumers
People are concerned. 89% of adults in Great Britain report their cost of living has gone up. 77% of them are worried about it, with 50% saying they worry about it almost every day. (These stats are from the Office for National Statistics) And the Financial Times says that consumer confidence is at an all-time low.)
Statistics are one thing. But how is this affecting people in everyday life? Grocery, electricity, and fuel bills are getting higher. More than half of people have cut back on their gas and electricity usage. Some are already having to choose between eating or heating their homes.
“As the gap between inflation and wages grows, those people who were just about able to get by no longer can; the gulf between what is needed to survive and what is possible for people seems increasingly insurmountable. With no relief in sight and with further energy increases predicted in Winter, people are very frightened. They will no longer be able to choose between eating and heating their home – they will not be able to afford to do either.
Many people we speak to are already regularly skipping meals. This is a massive health crisis that will have long-lasting consequences into the future – the worst effects of which have yet to be felt. And it’s not just adults skipping meals; it’s children too. This not only affects their standard of living now but has the potential to produce negative outcomes that span this generation’s entire lifetimes.” ~Muireann Meehan Speed, Oxford Mutual Aid
Government efforts to fix the problem are falling short
The government has taken some action to offset the problem. A 6.6% increase to the minimum wage was recently put into effect, plus a £400 energy bill discount. Most households received a £150 council tax refund, with 8 million of the UK’s lowest income households getting an additional £650 payment.
But many believe these efforts are far from enough and are calling for further measures from the government, including more generous and radical action.
“[We] need the government to recognise the depth of the crisis and to start to care about how it’s affecting its citizens – the people that they are supposed to protect. The social contract between society and those who govern it is broken. These issues started long before the cost of living crisis and will take decades to repair.
Society is at breaking point and without a socially conscious government, organisations like ours will be left struggling to pick up the pieces with little to no resources.” ~Lewey Hellewell, Humans MCR
It’s time for businesses to act!
Businesses have a crucial role to play. Now’s the moment for businesses to rally in support of people and local communities.
Ways businesses can help:
- Raise employee wages and benefits to offset inflation
- Launch an internal program to help employees in need
- Participate in food, clothing, and essential drives for local community members
- Set up a pre-tax fund that allows employees to make pre-tax donations to non-profits
- Support local charities that have the capacity to address food insecurity, poverty, and homelessness in your area
“There are so many ways businesses can support community organisations that are on the front line of the cost of living crisis. First, by contributing directly to their core costs through grants or donations or by sponsoring specific projects.
“It’s important to emphasise just how significant the impact of these types of donations can be. What may perhaps be perceived as a relatively small sum to a business may be transformative to a local community group. In terms of ‘bang for your buck’ – the value of a pound and the social impact that even a £3,000 donation can have is often far beyond what one might anticipate. Many local community groups operate on a shoestring budget yet not only do they transform people’s lives, but they are their lifelines.” ~Muireann Meehan Speed, Oxford Mutual Aid
Giving directly to non-profits and community groups is often the most effective way for businesses to affect change. Small-scale organisations embedded in local communities offer unmatched on-the-ground expertise. They understand the immediate community needs. Plus, using nimble and agile operations, they can get a whole lot done on shoestring budgets.
Non-profits need your support
While non-profits may be the frontline solution to keep folks fed and warm this fall and winter, they’re also facing consequences of the current crisis.
“We are working overtime to fundraise for our activities. As it stands, funding opportunities are increasingly limited and decreasing. As the situation becomes increasingly difficult for more and more people – it would be disingenuous for me to suggest that the resources exist within the current infrastructure to provide adequate support to people.
The voluntary and community sector has been pushed to its knees over the last three years with many of us yet to catch our breath.” ~Muireann Meehan Speed, Oxford Mutual Aid
Charities Aid Foundation conducted a survey among non-profit leaders and found:
- More than 80% expect to struggle with increased utility costs for their own buildings
- Two-thirds are worried about higher prices of supplies
- 59% are anticipating lower and fewer donations
- 71% are concerned about managing increased demand for their services
We’ve heard from many of the non-profits in the ActionFunder network that if they are to continue supporting the rising needs of beneficiaries, they need funding—urgently.
“Donations of food have completely dried up and whilst we have some funds available to buy food, we are currently spending around £1000 each week. We won’t be able to do this for much longer. [We need]…food or cash donations.” ~Lewey Hellewell, Humans MCR
“Like every charity, our number one need is financial support! We are currently in temporary accommodation and urgently seeking a more permanent home. However, if businesses can help us by donating interview wear, shoes and warm coats, that will be greatly appreciated.” ~Mike Thomas, The Suited and Booted Centre
“St Luke’s needs to raise additional funds to continue supporting people facing poverty in this manner. None of the crisis support [currently needed] was anticipated at the beginning of the year and sustaining [our services] long-term urgently requires securing financial resources.” ~Keren Wiltshire, St. Luke’s Community Centre
ActionFunder is lucky to be part of the solution by connecting non-profits with businesses that want to fund community action. The platform is home to thousands of non-profits including projects helping people survive the cost of living crisis. Take a look at this snapshot of inspiring work of community groups across the country as they mobilise to address rising rates of food insecurity, poverty, and homelessness.
An easy way for your business to support community action
ActionFunder is a company-to-community giving platform that makes it easy for businesses to support people at risk during this cost of living crisis. You can find, fund, and follow community action in three easy steps.
- Create a free profile for your business on the ActionFunder platform.
- Start your own community fund. You can set where you want to give, the amount you want to give, and any criteria particular to your giving goals. Get inspired by funds other businesses have created.
- Then select and fund projects that you want to support. You can manage the whole application process through your dashboard. Then monitor updates, stories, and impact data from the projects you’ve funded. And celebrate the results!
Companies that use ActionFunder cut the time and cost of local giving by 75%. It’s a great way to help people quickly during the cost of living crisis.
If your business wants to make a difference, get started today.