With so many natural disasters and humanitarian relief needs around the world, and so many people, organisations and businesses being called on to help – either financially, skills or an increase in the needs for volunteers; could some charities find themselves in a deficit situation?
It has to be asked, and by deficit – yes, I am saying financially, but there’s so many other ways that a charity could “miss out” – even goods in kinds could become scarce, volunteers may not join as they see other “things” that needs their help.
Are we prepared for this in the charity sector? Can we even prepare for it; in Ongoing Support is Needed I touch on how organisations need to stay in contact with their supporters, and it’s likely to become even more vital now that the attention of world is turning to another natural disaster one that we will all want and need to help with.
How can charities or non-profits prepare for the fall out when attention moves from one ‘cause’ to another?
A few things I see as being necessary to stay ‘afloat’ is in planning, organisations need to sit down and work out how they can do things, where they can make changes and more.
A few things that could be looked at
Educate donors on how they can give
Donors need to know why they give, what the benefits to the recipients are. Organisations, now, more than ever have to talk about what they do, where the money goes and how donors contribution make a difference.
This however needs to be factually rather than pull at the heart strings of donors. Appeals used to seem to pull at the heartstrings of donors, but they’re wary of them now and want facts.
Payroll giving isn’t something new, it has been around a long time. Some countries have only recently enacted legislation to allow it.
Organisations, as part of their campaign process should be speaking with companies and their employees about the benefits of payroll giving.
It will take time, but that time needs to be invested to help ensure the ongoing success of the organisation.
Yes, I do suggest joining forces. There a numerous organisations out there doing identical or very similar things. Aren’t they simply like two clothing stores with similar merchandise and similar markets – competing against each other, whereas a united ‘brand’ would have the potential to do more and potentially better?
How many organisations do we know of in our country, county, borough doing the same thing? Take a look at how many are working in the cancer field, or those offering assistance to at risk youth.
I know of at least three organisations who struggle to deliver what they’re established to do, yet if the joined forces they’d have more chance.
Legislate to put a cap on fees charged by professional fundraisers
In some situations groups working in the community could take up the batten to urge their local government or legislature to enact legislation preventing funding organisations, umbrella organisations from taking too much of the funds collected.
Organisation who raise funds on behalf of other organisations should have to disclose their full accounts and not hide behind vague “commercial sensitivity” as a reason why they can’t, or rather won’t disclose how much they actually collect versus the sum handed over to the organisation they have collected for.
What’s a reasonable amount, I couldn’t personally say; but I do feel that anything more than 40-50% is perhaps exorbitant – or to put it more bluntly a rort. Yes, there are organisations who collect on behalf, or using the name of an organisation “charging” a fee that is way beyond justifiable. I personally know of at least one who for many years were faced with “overheads” that ate into the money collected to the tune of 80%+.
Most areas have an organisation representing it’s interest, Fundraising Institutes, Volunteer organisations – all of these should be approached to push their local governmental (central, local, borough) to introduce legislation to force full disclosure of fund collected v funds distributed.
This will help clean up the sector, and help create confidence in the giving public. With more confidence that funds are being used for what they’re meant to be.
All of these can and should be looked at by community, charity and other groups seeking support from their communities. Times are going to get tough, and the sector needs to look at how they can instil confidence, maintain their donor base and continue to deliver their services.
Image: HELP WRITTEN IN SAND
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