Managing Appeal Funds – responding to the Covid-19 pandemic

crisis responseThe current global pandemic is having lasing effects in all areas of life

Many charities want to know whether and how they can respond to an emergency or humanitarian crisis such as this current one.  A charity must apply its funds for the aims it was set up to achieve, but this need not mean that they cannot help when an emergency happens. 

Trustees have a legal responsibility to ensure that funds raised are used for the purposes for which they were raised. This means your charity should consider putting in place a range of checks and controls to safeguard its funds and prevent fraud.

In the interests of openness and transparency, your charity should also be able to demonstrate to donors and the general public that funds raised have been, and will be, used for the purposes they were given.

Disaster Action’s Guidance on Management and Distribution of Disaster Trust Funds is a useful source of information.

Finding New Trustees

How to find new trustees

CC903546-E4A0-491B-9E28-17765EEBB663Who to recruit

Recruit trustees who have the experience and skills your charity needs. They need to be interested in the charity’s work and be willing to give their time to help run it.

Being a trustee takes commitment. Don’t appoint trustees because of their status or position in the community alone – these people may be better as patrons.

How many trustees to recruit

Your charity’s governing document may say how many trustees you should have and how they are appointed.

Legal requirement: you must follow your governing document’s rules when recruiting trustees.

Aim for a minimum of three unconnected trustees with a good range of skills. You need enough trustees to govern the charity effectively. It’s also important to keep your board small enough to arrange meetings easily and allow effective discussion and decision making.

How to encourage people to apply

To attract a broader range of trustees – including young people – you could:

  • try recruitment methods other than word of mouth, such as social media, advertising or trustee recruitment websites
  • encourage people who already support your charity, for example as volunteers, to become trustees
  • approach local universities or colleges and their student unions

Remove any barriers that could stop someone from being a trustee, for example by:

  • keeping board papers (particularly financial information) short and easy to understand
  • translating documents or providing accessible formats
  • making it clear that trustees can claim reasonable expenses, including help with travel and childcare
  • holding meetings at venues that are accessible for people with disabilities
  • having meetings at times that don’t exclude people who are working or have caring responsibilities
  • giving everyone a chance to contribute to discussions at meetings

If you ask someone who benefits from the charity to become a trustee, you must manage potential conflicts of interest if they will continue to receive those benefits.

What To Do When An Employee Resigns

resignation letterAn employer can’t refuse to accept someone’s resignation and they must follow certain procedures.

When a member of staff resigns you must:

  • get them to confirm their resignation in writing.  Verbal resignations given in the heat of the moment could lead to claims of unfair dismissal – always ask for resignations to be given in writing.
  • tell them what their notice period is
  • agree when their last day at work will be
  • confirm whether they should work all or part of their notice period

Employee decisions to retire are a form of resignation.

Verbal resignations given in the heat of the moment could lead to claims of unfair dismissal – always ask for resignations to be given in writing.

To make their departure as smooth as possible, you might also:

  • Agree with the employee the terms of an announcement to other staff concerning their departure, if appropriate.
  • Organise a handover period. This allows for a smooth handover to existing staff or the employee’s replacement of key tasks and responsibilities.
  • Arrange an exit interview.  You can then use their response to determine whether there are any underlying issues to be addressed.
  • Retrieve security passes and all other property of your business, eg tools, uniforms, computers and company cars.
  • Organise their final payment including all money owing, eg pay in lieu of working a notice period, money for unused holidays, overtime and bonus payments.
  • Part on good terms. The person leaving may become a client or may be able to refer business to you. Equally, a disgruntled ex-employee can damage the reputation of your business if they leave on poor terms, eg having identified you as their previous employer then writing about their experiences as your employee on a social networking website or blog. This may be the case where the employee has details on their profile which identifies them as having worked for you.
  • Organise a farewell gift or party, if appropriate. Acknowledgement of good service appreciated is valuable for remaining staff morale and the promoting of a positive organisational culture.
  • Make a point of saying goodbye on the actual day the person leaves and thank them again for all their hard work.
  • Be careful about refernces. You should consider carefully the legal implications of providing a reference:
    • make sure that what you say is true, accurate and a fair representation of the person
    • an ex-employee could bring an action against you for libel, discrimination or defamation of character through a court or tribunal, if they consider the reference to be inaccurate


Contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) if you have any questions about handling staff resignations.