Coronavirus (Covid-19) funding FAQs

1. Can organisations repurpose their investment to carry out new activities, not in their approved project or budget, in response to COVID-19?

Yes. We aim to be as flexible as possible.  Your Investment will continue to be restricted in terms of meeting Comic Relief’s charitable mission. However, it can be used flexibly on new activities in response to Covid-19 within the following parameters:

  • You can use your investment from us flexibly and as you see best in the coming 3 months until the end of June 2020 (or for the life of your investment if it ends before 30th June 2020), for activities, services and outcomes in pursuit of your charitable mission and aligned with Comic Relief’s social change objectives and strategy.

  • You should continue to comply with all your obligations in our conditions of funding (COFs). This includes keeping records of all payments and an asset register for six years, no duplicate funding for the same activities and observing certain restrictions and obligations when it comes to capital expenditure.

  • If you wish to use our investment differently to how you intended to in your agreed project plan and budget between now and the end of June 2020, all changes in activity and use of funds should be communicated to your Comic Relief contact via email for our auditing purposes. Once agreed an email record of the changes will be uploaded as a document to your grant record on our online grant management system, GEM.

  • At the end of June 2020, your Comic Relief contact will review the current status of your organisation and activities with you to see if the current arrangement should be extended. At the 3-month review, your Comic Relief contact will work with you to see if previously agreed outcomes and outputs need to be adjusted. 

  • Comic Relief is supporting partners in the UK and internationally. For now, the period for flexible funding is 3 months, to the end of June 2020. However, we will review this period of flexibility, acknowledging that each country’s response to Covid-19 will differ. 

  • The repurposing of funds should be within the limits of the original agreed amounts for the coming 3-month period as per your COFs. We will continue to pay out against the agreed payment schedule set out in your COFs with reporting due dates and conditions remining the same. For clarity, this period of flexibility is not an agreement for bringing forward monies.

  • We remain committed to paying out against the agreed payment schedule in your COFs. Due to the current Covid-19 situation we accept there will likely be reduced outputs/outcomes achieved within the lifetime of your investment.

2. Can we use Comic Relief funding to pay 100% of staff salaries?

For funded partners based in the UK:

We want to be as supportive as possible and we know that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme offered by the UK Government still has many unanswered questions.

Following the UK Government’s announcement to pay 80% of salaries, Comic Relief are happy for our investment to be used to top up the remaining 20% or cover salaries not covered by the Government scheme (sessional workers for example), as appropriate.

We also recognise that government schemes can take time to implement, so you might need to use your Investment to cover salaries during the interim period.

Please note that payment of salaries falls within our flexible funding approach outlined above and is for an initial period of 3 months until 30th June 2020.

  • We do not want to duplicate payments that the UK Government is making. Therefore, requests to pay salaries will be considered on a case by case basis to help your Comic Relief Contact understand why Comic Relief funds are needed for this purpose.

  • If the request is still deemed necessary for all or part of a team members salary, your Comic Relief contact will ask you for a list of posts to be funded (and at what %).

  • A record of any agreement will be saved by your Comic Relief contact on your record on our online grant management system, GEM.

Funded partners based outside of the UK:

  • Comic Relief supports partners in the UK and 14 countries outside of the UK

  • We are reviewing government responses in each country we invest in. Currently, we are not aware of any other Government scheme to support salaries in the same way as the scheme introduced by the UK Government.

  • You are therefore able to continue using your Comic Relief investment to pay salaries as planned in your agreed budget AND for it to also be repurposed to pay staff salaries whilst activities reduce/pause, as required. For an initial period of 3 months until June 30th 2020, to then be reviewed with your Comic Relief contact.

  • Your Comic Relief contact will ask for a list of posts to be funded (and at what %)

  • A record of any agreement will be saved by your Comic Relief contact on your record on our online grant management system, GEM.

3. Due to activities having to be paused, will you approve a no-cost extension?

  • Requests for No Cost Extensions (NCE) will be reviewed on a case by case basis. The main consideration is that with many funded partners pausing or reducing activity and repurposing their investments, it is unlikely you will have funds remaining to cover an NCE.

  • There may be some incidents where an NCE is appropriate and you are able to demonstrate you have the resources to manage it. These will be reviewed on a case by case basis by your Comic Relief contact.

For partners co-funded by DFID only:

  • Completing an independent end of project evaluation is a condition of your Comic Relief funding. Given this, your Comic Relief contact will work with you to see what is feasible. It may be that we can approve an NCE to allow for a desk-based independent review to take place if a full evaluation is not possible.

4. Will Comic Relief accept late applications for open funding programmes?

Comic Relief is reviewing all upcoming funding calls and timescales to allow for some flexibility in response to the current Covid-19 situation. We would therefore not expect the need for late applications but will review this on a programme by programme basis.

5. Will Comic Relief provide additional emergency funding for COVID-19 response to reach the most vulnerable?

  • Comic Relief is committed to ensuring we support the sector to meet the needs arising from this crisis in the most effective and impactful way we can. We are working with other Funders to ensure a coordinated and sector-wide response in distributing emergency funding.

  • We will update our website and the FAQS with more information over the next few days.

6. Annual / final reporting to Comic Relief.

My annual OR final report is due to Comic Relief – can we delay submission of our report?

My annual OR final report is due to Comic Relief – are we still expected to complete the full report template?

Please contact your Comic Relief contact who can provide further guidance.

Yes, you are able to delay submission of your annual or final report to Comic Relief for up to 3 months.  However, this means the payment related to that report will also be delayed.  For annual reports, you may have the option to complete a simpler report template. 

7. Can I bring forward some of my investment to cover costs during this initial period?

You may be able to do this. However it is dependent on how much you are requesting to bring forward and where you are in your investment cycle. Please speak to your contact at Comic Relief about your specific request and they will be able to advise.

Please note that if your investment from Comic Relief is co-funded by another Funder, there may be additional criteria we have to adhere to before changes to your investment can be agreed. Your contact at Comic Relief will be able to advise you further.