Over the last while I’ve talked about help still being needed by the charities people normally support when natural or human disasters occur and our giving is redirected to an urgent appeal.
As a country New Zealand is 1st equal with Australia in the World Giving Index, we are a nation of givers; if there’s a need, we find a way to help.
But, there can be a downside for organisations; their traditional supporters can start to suffer “charity fatigue” – and are torn between who, what and where to give. They feel that they’re being approached on all fronts to give, give and give some more.
Supporters can’t always be expected to give, we need to realise that their attention will likely be drawn to a disaster and they’ll give to that, perhaps forgoing their usual giving to your organisation. As I said in Ongoing Support is Needed, organisations need to let their supporters know they understand.
We all know that Charities are always struggling to raise money, any disaster is an added challenge they face, and any organisation needs to know how they’ll face that challenge, what contingencies they might need to put in place. They can’t exactly rely on Income Protection Insurance – they must rely on the public and business to be generous, to be able to give what and when they can.
“If history repeats itself, we will return to giving to our usual charities once the urgency of the Christchurch and Japanese earthquakes passes, says Trevor Garrett, chief executive of the Charities Commission. After an emergency such as Christchurch, there is an emotional pull to try to support victims.
“Then over a period of time you perhaps move back to your normal way of doing things,” he says.
What Trevor Garrett says is true, supporters will be drawn to help, and will come back to their usual giving patterns, but organisations should still have plans in place in the eventuality that supporters stay away; a small percentage are likely to.
It’s really a time now to get plan how you’re going to keep your name out there, to ensure you show how your supporters are helping, what other ways people can help – and to look for new avenues of funding.
Get out and about, make yourself seen, talk to business, school and community groups. Engage with your community, it doesn’t matter how you do this, the important thing is that you do it.
When was the last time you approached service organisations to come along and talk to their members about the work you do, the likes of Rotary, Lions, Zonta and many more often welcome guests from local community and charity groups. It’s a great way to meet and talk with people who care about what’s happening, it’s also a great way to potentially tap into another vein of funding.
There’s manner of ways you can look for support to help you through a ‘slow’ period in giving – check Getting your message across and Getting a Younger Generation On-board With Your NPO on SocializeYourCause and 101Fundraising for more ideas.
“Even better, say charities, sign up for payroll giving. This way a regular amount is taken from each pay packet. From the charities’ perspective it’s an intravenous line into your wallet. “
Whatever your plans are, make sure you at least have a plan – get your committee, board or trustees together and have a brainstorm about how you’re going to weather any decline in supporter giving.
As an organisation what are you going to do? Many organisations are in the same position, it doesn’t hurt to offer support and advice to others in your sector – share any ideas you have hear; I’m sure other readers would like to know.