Recessions don't have a conscience, as 190,000 registered charities in the UK are discovering.
With their investments declining in value and the cost of fundraising going up, the economy looks as tough for the good guys as for anyone else. Corporate donations are on the wane; falling stock and property prices have hit vital donations left in wills; and Joe Public is thinking hard about the tenner he gives away every month to help feed others. The effects have already been felt: both the British Red Cross and Shelter have suffered losses from corporate backers pulling out. So how big is the problem? As the country's charities raised £47bn in 2008, £2.3bn may not sound like a huge amount. But when you think that each pound has a tangible effect on another life, it's not to be sniffed at. Especially when the charities' bean-counters are also reeling over the fall in sterling and rising commodity costs. Martin Birch, finance director at Christian Aid, described 'an Icelandic banking crisis for aid organisations', with the pound now buying up to 30% less in some aid-receiving nations than it would have a year ago.