Marcelle Speller OBE – Founder & Chairman of Brevio
The Covid-19 Emergency is an existential threat to charities with 83% needing emergency funding in next 3-6months to survive. Research by the Institute of Fundraising in April 2020 found that 43% charities reported increased demand for their services, while having to cope with a loss of 48% of voluntary income from major fundraising events. Charity staff numbers have reduced through furlough or sickness and the funding has reduced, yet the need for their services is greater than ever.
The government has pledged £750m to help charities, and many grant-makers and foundations have also set up special Covid-19 funds. At the last count the NCVO list of these grants included about 80 new funds. These are great initiatives, but how are charities going to quickly find out if they are eligible for them, and who is going to spend the time applying for all of them with staff furloughed or sick, and volunteers busy on the ground. Brevio’s solution is needed more than ever.
The original plan
After 18 months of research and development, gaining feedback along the way from major UK funders as well as charities big and small, our original plan was to pilot Brevio with one or two grant makers from March 2020, then launch in the summer.
What is Brevio doing to help in this crisis?
Firstly we have brought Brevio’s launch forward from late summer to 6th May 2020. This has involved an avalanche of testing and tweaking the site to make sure that everything functions perfectly. We have doubled our team to bring in new members of staff to manage communications, customer success and digital product management. We have been in touch with various funders to get them on board as soon as possible.
All this was achieved with the whole Brevio team working remotely during lockdown.
Secondly, although in the future we will have to charge charities and grant-makers to use Brevio, to ensure it is sustainability, for now I have decided to waive the membership fee for charities making it free until May 1st 2021 and for grant-makers until January 1st 2021.
I feel very lucky that I have been able to fund a project that will make a massive difference to hard working charities, and incredibly proud of the amazing Brevio team for achieving it in these troubled times.
I look forward to working with the sector to systematically change the grant applications process for the better.