I’ve often said to organisations that they need to give people a reason to give, that they need to have a clear message about why support is needed – and given. And, after reading “The Active Giver” about the process someone has been through in order to ‘select’ a cause to support – I thought it timely to revisit this.

All too often we see an organisation plead for support – often without giving any real reason, simply stating that they do this, that or the next thing, without showing any real reason why potential supporters should give, and should give now – there’s no immediacy, no call to action.

What the author of The Active Giver has had to go through in order to find that elusive organisation to support is quite common, people want to help others in the community, but unless there’s clear reason why they should give, how they can give – then the job is in the hands of the giver to to seek out causes, whereas it should be the causes that should be seeking out supporters.

Not only was their research involved – searching two datasets – Charities Commission and IRD, but they took the time to look through websites, looked to see what work the organisations do – how many others go to this effort to find a cause? If organisations want support they have to lift their game, they need to give a reason why people should support them.

But, there’s more to it than that – there is clearly a need for a process of validation of causes, how some organisations get Charitable tatus is puzzling, there’s organisations registered as charitable trusts that are self serving, have extremely small reach and causes that would appear to be of little benefit to society in general. 

People are often amazed when I say how many nonprofit organisations in there are in New Zealand; we have one of the highest numbers of registered charitiess and donee organisations in the world – and we’re a generous lot, we do give, but in order to give we have to do hunt out the most appropriate.

When you look at the numbers of organisations the author went through to find a cause, it’s clear that we have too many organsations that appear to be ‘self interest’ groups. We also have too many duplicate organisations – there’s something like 63 organisations registered with the Charities Commission with “Cancer” in their names, surely some of these could merge to form a larger, more active and powerful organisation. 

Have a read of The Active Giver  – would you go to this effort to find a cause, as a charity do you think it fair potential supporters have to do all the work to find you?

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