Any guidance you can give on holding AGM’s remotely and supporting member involvement? If we can’t hold our AGM what should we do?

  • Refer to Charity Commission guidance on holding AGMs during the pandemic.
  • If you decide to cancel or postpone your AGM, you must record this decision.
  • If you are holding your AGM online, you should check you governing document to see if there is mention of this and how and when this can be done.
  • If there is no mention of holding meetings online or by telephone, the Charity Commission will understand but you must record this decision.
  • All other requirements set out in the charity’s governing document and outlined in Charity Commission guidance still apply.

Some of our trustees don’t have internet connection (or email) and are older people in the shielding category. Although some of us can meet ‘online’ I am concerned about the legalities of leaving them out of discussions. What should we do? 

  • Where the board needs to make a decision, you need to make sure that your board meetings are quorum. Quorum will normally be specified in your organisation’s governing document.
  • Trustees should make decisions collectively/jointly, this involves ensuring that trustees can all participate in decisions. Many online conferencing software tools will also allow some form of telephone dial in and/or you could opt for a conference call solution.
  • You should comply with the procedures for the decision-making process outlined in your organisation’s governing document.
  • If a trustee is absent for a particular meeting/decision, they must understand that they will still share the responsibility for a decision that is made.
  • Refer to Charity Commission guidance: charity trustees and decision making.

Working with your executive

Currently staff are now largely involved in ‘fire-fighting’. At what stage might trustees start having conversations with their staff about the future (beyond dealing with the immediate crisis)?

  • The ‘right’ time will very much depend on your organisation’s operations and context
  • The unprecedented nature of the environment we find ourselves in, means that planning is likely to be for the short (up to three months) and medium term (three to six months).
  • Be mindful that staff may be stretched with managing immediate issues, so it might be helpful to get a sense from the executive about a good time to start having these conversations. Keep in regular communication with your executive
  • You will want to involve your executive team in any scenario planning for the medium term as they will be able to offer new insights; being closer to the day-to-day running of the charity.

How can chief executives ensure they are staying ahead of likely problems?

  • Regular communication with staff, beneficiaries and other stakeholders is key – their insights will alert you to potential issues.
  • Review your risk register in light of the current context.
  • Take time for scenario planning – this will help you prepare for possible future scenarios.


Can trustee or chairs terms of office be extended given the circumstances?

  • You should first check your governing document to see if you have strict dates or timeframes for the appointment of trustees. If there are no such rules, then depending on your governing document you may be able to simply extend the terms.
  • If your governing document is clear that trustees must step down at a particular time, then we advise either following a reappointment process or if the board can still meet quorum and has the required skills and experience then allowing terms to lapse may be the simplest option.
  • If the board cannot meet quorum, or the absence of those trustees would mean the board would be unable to function properly, then the board should minute the reason for extending the trustee terms and define for how long that would be. If this means breaching your governing document, then trustees should also notify the Charity Commission. These decisions should be made without involvement of those being reappointed.

This page explains the relationship between NCVO and NCVO Trading Limited.

NCVO Trading Ltd (NCVOTL) is a private company limited by guarantee (03537225) and is a wholly owned subsidiary company of NCVO.

NCVO is a charity (225922) and company limited by guarantee (198344).

NCVOTL exists to support NCVO’s earned income by developing and monitoring a portfolio of high-quality partnerships, services and products aligning with NCVO’s mission and values and meeting charities’ needs. All profits generated by NCVOTL are donated to NCVO. This income ensures NCVO is financially sustainable and independent, enabling us to deliver the support and guidance our members and the wider sector need.

Our trading activities include:

    • Trustees Unlimited – a partnership with Bates Wells and Russam that provides cost-effective trustee recruitment services which runs Step on Board. This is a programme that links senior staff at major businesses with charities looking for skilled professionals to join their board.
    • Trusted Suppliers – partnering with selected third-party organisations that offer products and services to help people run their voluntary organisation.
    • Conference venue – we operate a central London charity conference venue, hiring meeting rooms and providing catering for delegates.
    • Exhibition stalls and sponsorship – we sell exhibition spaces at our conferences and offer corporate sponsorship of some of our events and services.

NCVOTL is governed by a board of directors that meet quarterly and report annually to NCVO’s trustee board. The current directors of NCVOTL are:

  • Bruce Gordon (independent chair)
  • Paul Breckell (NCVO treasurer)
  • Chris Freed (NCVO trustee)
  • Jenny Field (NCVO trustee)
  • Dominic Fox (independent)
  • Jeremy Rees (independent)
  • Karl Wilding (NCVO chief executive)
  • Susan Cordingley (NCVO deputy chief executive)

Full details of NCVO’s finances and governance are available in our annual reports.

NCVO training

Following latest government advice NCVO has taken the decision to close its building, so we're postponing some of our training. We'll be in touch if you've made a booking or you can email us if you've got any questions.

You can still register for our upcoming webinars and book onto courses that we don't anticipate being affected.

For further information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Annual Conference

We have decided to cancel this year’s Annual Conference rather than reschedule for later in the year. We will be running the conference early next year and are working on securing a date, as well as looking at other ways we can bring the sector together.

For further information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For the latest advice on coronavirus, visit our guidance page.

Here’s how you can volunteer to help and support others during the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic.

Look out for your neighbours

The simplest thing everyone can do right now is look out for their neighbours and offer help with shopping and other errands. If you must stay at home but feel well enough to help, you can volunteer remotely, for example to befriend people who are isolated people or share official information, such as from the government, NHS or Public Health England, by telephone or online. 

It's not just about neighbours who are shielding, self-isolating or physically distancing from others. Other people in the community who might also appreciate help are:

  • stretched medical staff and volunteers
  • staff and volunteers in key worker roles
  • supermarket workers
  • delivery drivers.

Remember it’s a marathon not a sprint – your help will be even more crucial in a few weeks' time. For now, the best thing to do is to check in on neighbours.

Stay safe when supporting others

  1. Only volunteer if you feel well enough and are not shielding, self-isolating or in a high-risk group. 
  2. Keep washing your hands often for 20 seconds.
  3. Stay at least two metres - about three steps - away from people you’re helping.
  4. If you’re trying to help someone with very serious issues – don’t be afraid to flag with appropriate statutory services.
  5. Support family, friends and neighbours by phone or video call.
  6. Offer to run errands for people but stay outside of people’s homes.
  7. Let family and friends know what you’re doing.
  8. Don’t take on too much - it's often better not to offer at all than to let someone down.

Preparing to volunteer

Volunteer with organisations providing support

There’ll be more information on the best opportunities to volunteer in the coming days. Charities are working with the government and local authorities to create ways for people to get involved.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you don’t have a particular charity you want to support in your local area, contact your local Volunteer Centre, CVS or visit the Do-it website. They can help you find out where your help is most urgently needed.
  • You can sign up to NHS Volunteer Responders who are supporting the NHS during the covid-19 outbreak. This is to support the 1.5m people in England at most risk from the virus to stay well. Once you've registered and checks are complete – you'll be provided a log-in to the GoodSAM Responder app. Switch the app to 'on duty' and you'll see live and local volunteer tasks to pick from near you.

Other ways to help charities

All charities are going to be stretched. Lots of fundraising events that would’ve taken place have been cancelled. At the same time, many people who volunteer may not be able to - especially if they’re being advised to stay at home.

The best thing to do is keep supporting the causes you care about. The British public are incredibly generous and we really need their help to keep our work going. Any support you can give them, including as a volunteer or trustee would be incredibly valuable.

How organisations can support charities

There are many ways your organisation can support charities. Whether your furloughed staff want to volunteer or you want to donate to the covid-19 response, take a look at Volunteering Matters, Helpforce Assist, British Red Cross and Business in the Community.

Government funding for charities
Applications for the government’s new coronavirus community support fund opened on Friday 22 May. For more information see the funding section of our coronavirus guidance.

Our guidance and resources to support charities, voluntary organisations and volunteers during the covid-19 pandemic.

If you have any specific questions related to covid-19 please email NCVO at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

If you would like to receive our regular updates and newsletters please sign up here.

Guidance for your organisation

Our Knowhow section on coronavirus contains information to help you decide what steps you and your organisation need to take. It covers the following topics.

Protecting your staff, volunteers and beneficiaries

Contingency planning and financial implications

How charities are helping

Involving volunteers

Further information and resources


We are running a series of webinars to help organisations during the pandemic. You can view recordings of previous webinars on the Knowhow guidance pages.

Upcoming webinars

Previous webinars

Recordings and other resources are available for the following past webinars:

Further support

  • We have removed the paywall from our Knowhow resources to help support charities seeking help and guidance. 
  • The HR consultancy Croner, an NCVO Trusted Supplier, are specialists in HR and employment law. In response to covid-19, they are now offering unlimited access to their HR and Employment Law helpline to all voluntary sector organisations, free of charge.
  • Get in touch with Bates Wells, an NCVO Trusted Supplier, who are offering a free 30 minute legal advice consultation with one of their charity specialists. 


We have published new guidance for people who want to help out during the pandemic. It includes which organisations to approach and tips on staying safe when supporting others.

Latest blog posts

Get email updates from NCVO


NCVO works to to positively influence the external environment on behalf of the voluntary sector. One of the main ways that we do this is through our policy and research work; by developing a strong evidence base on voluntary sector issues, and working with our members to influence government and other decision makers.

We have pulled together all of our evidence and policy work in most of the key themes below. You'll also find pointers to practical support and a reading list of all of our related publications and policy documents.

If you're looking for an introduction to public policy, read our 'what is policy?' guide (opens in a new window).

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