Three New Takeaways from SIB’s COVID-19 Data Collection

12 May 2020


As SIB continues to collect data on COVID-19 internally, our Researcher Jenny Smith shares an update and more insights.

A few weeks ago, we shared five takeaways from our internal COVID-19 data collection. We demonstrated how standardisation of questions and the voice of the customer are at the heart of SIB’s research into the impact of COVID-19.

So, what has changed? Since then, the UK has moved into the next stage of COVID-19 emergency support, from announcements of packages to the acceptance of applications and delivery of governmental and non-governmental support. This includes the launch of our own Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund (RRLF). Although the Fund won’t suit the needs of all organisations, it provides an important opportunity to expand our data collection, gathering insights not only from our Relationship Managers and our live portfolio, but also from Fund application forms.

As well as capturing new data about the needs of a wider group of organisations, our evolving approach provides information about what types of organisations are missing out on support. These insights will allow us to adapt our own work, responding to the changing needs of social sector organisations. We have also been sharing our findings so far with Government, as well as our sector partners, to help inform the design and delivery of further support packages for charities and social enterprises.

With the launch of RRLF, alongside the Fund’s initial investor Big Society Capital and our Social Investor Partners Big Issue Invest, Charity Bank and Social and Sustainable Capital, we have now included all our standard COVID-19 questions into the application form. We are also doing the same for the Youth Endowment Fund’s COVID-19 Grant Round.

We are now convening with our sector peers more widely to include these questions in their own data collection platforms, as well as inviting organisations to complete our COVID-19 survey. We believe it is important to combine and analyse anonymised data on a larger scale - beyond just SIB’s customer profile. This contributes to understanding trends across the whole sector in a comparable and standardised way.

The COVID-19 question set has a specific question about an organisation’s application and outcome to governmental support including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Statutory Sick Pay Refund, and any business support grant funding (through either the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund or the Small Business Grant Fund). Combining this with the eligibility for of our own sector support, this helps us identify which organisations are falling through the gaps.

Our internal data collection remains regularly updated by our Relationship Managers, providing a granular picture of what is happening to our customers. We have now included additional quantitative variables into the data set. These include:

  • Financial data pulled from Companies House e.g. Turnover, Reserves, Working Capital
  • Other data held internally e.g. Index of Multiple Deprivation Score and Live Loan Amount.

This has created a much richer picture of how the impact of COVID-19 is affecting organisations differently, as well as identifying which vulnerabilities are creating a more acute impact. As we already held this information, we avoided creating a greater administrative burden for customers.  

Building on these variables and our recent updates, below are 3 new takeaways from our data set:  

  1. Organisations that serve the public are experiencing the biggest impact on their staff - 33% of staff in organisations where the primary revenue is Business 2 Customers are furloughed. This is compared to 9% where the primary revenue for organisations is Business to Government.
  2. Organisations that deliver locally are experiencing higher need for services – 32% of organisations that deliver locally are experiencing a ‘increase in need’ for their services, this compares to 28% of organisations that deliver regional services.
  3. There is a clear correlation between turnover and ability to pay operational costs – The average turnover for organisations who have imminent difficulties paying operational costs is less than £1 million. This compares to over £5 million for organisations who can pay operational costs for the foreseeable. This is demonstrated in the chart below.


N= 65 (Turnover figures matched from latest recorded on Companies House)

Our more detailed analysis can be found on the Social Economy Data Lab (SEDL) website under Project 4. SEDL will be publishing all the analysis that we are producing at SIB. The website also has all our standardised questions and template guidance available to download. We remain in contact with all our Relationship Managers, ensuring that our data captures the changing circumstances of organisations. We aim to be as clear, responsive and transparent as possible in our work.

As the impact of COVID-19 continues across civil society, it is important to expand our data collection to our peers – other social investors, trusts and foundations - to fully understand organisational needs and support gaps. This is critical evidence to bring forward to Government to influence fairer emergency funding structures for the organisations most in need.

<< If your organisation is being directly affected by COVID-19, we’d be grateful if you could spare 5 minutes of your time to complete our COVID-19 organisational survey, to help to provide better support for you.  If you’re looking for a breakdown of the latest Government advice for businesses, and current emergency funding opportunities, visit our COVID-19 Resources and Information page. >>

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Jenny Smith

Learning Lead

Jenny joined SIB in August 2019 as Researcher on the Learning & Influence Team, working on our qualitative research outputs, before developing into the role of Learning Lead in October 2020.

Prior to joining SIB, Jenny worked as a Researcher at nfpSynergy, and completed her PhD in Philosophy, Geography at Newcastle University - where she worked as a Seminar Leader and Tutor and also as a Support Worker (collaborative with her PhD) with Newcastle's West End Refugee Service.

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