Everyone’s still talking about it being tough in the market place, businesses are still struggling, households are facing increased costs and unemployment is still high.

For charities this makes for even more challenges in raising funds, applications for grants are high, households are being inundated with requests for support, the streets seem to be awash with collectors.

What can be done to ensure charities raises the funds needed to function?

First off – charities need to get their board and current supporters on board … to do more than give time and money, but to also help spread the word and need for support among their own networks.

True, the amount of funds being given hasn’t lessened much, if we look back to 2009 (the height of the ‘recession’) New Zealanders continued to give, they didn’t give up giving time, money or energy into helping causes.

And, it appears that there’s been no change, but there’s still challenges for charities to met their needs, to raise the funds and support needed.

A look at why people give is needed, once there’s an understanding of why – it’s easier to set a path that will help encourage more to give.

People give – because of a various things, personal connection, a need to give, to help someone in need, the list goes on; in 2010 I posted Not-for-profit – Giving Survey Results which showed people give because of –

Personal issue  29%
Family Involvement  23%
Issue close to heart  41%
Other 7%

How they give showed:

Financial  51%
Time (volunteer)  19%
Goods  9%
Services  13%
Other 8%

The reasons people give are likely not to have changed since this data was collated. The important thing is when did you last ask your donors, your supporters, your volunteers why they’re giving to your organization?

Making the decision to a cause involved with cancer for example, could come about from a personal connection, perhaps someone in their family, or a close friend has been touched by cancer. You won’t know unless you ask why people are supporting your cause.

The next time you communicate with your supporters – ask them why they support your cause, select a random selection from your database and give them a call to thank them for their support and, ask them why they are giving you their support.

The same goes for the support you’re receiving from the business community, yes, they are still finding it tough going, people are still watching their expenditure, but despite this they’re still plenty who are giving.

Perhaps it’s not all monetary, there are other ways businesses give.

Some businesses factor donations into their budgets, they see it as a social objective, they’re part of the community and feel a need to give back.

Those that can’t give in monetary terms find other ways they can give, the BNZ has an annual “Closed for Good” campaign, where all branches close for one day and give back to the communities they work in.

Others do pro bono work, creative agencies will give time and resources to causes.

There’s no difference in asking why a business supports what you’re doing than there is to asking why households give.

In asking why you’re being supporting you’re in a better position to style your next campaign so as to attract likeminded people and businesses to support your work.

Stop reading this and start putting together a database of people you’re going to call, thank and ask why they’re supporting you. You’ve nothing to lose from asking, but potentially lots you could miss out on by not asking and only assuming that they way you’re asking for support now will ‘hook’ new support.

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