Thursday, June 26, 2014

Are There Too Many Charities?

You might have already asked yourself Are there too many charities? You might have seen another one pop up and wonder What process did they go through?

I very often hear people spout off that "there are too many charities", but they're usually unable to suggest which ones should go.

Recently an interesting conversation developed on Twitter here and here. It got to the point where I decided to put all my thoughts in one here we go...

  • We don't know how many charities there are, so we can't say if there's too many.
  • There is certainly unnecessary duplication of 'office' space, HR, legal, Direct Debit processing - all the boring stuff.
  • There are some localities with duplication of services, and some areas with none. So rather than 'too many charities' are they simply in the wrong place?
  • To quote "In Norway there are 16 charities for every 1,000 people; in Scotland there are 4.3; in Wales there are 3; and in Ireland there are 1.8"
  • Charities are always formed out of something beautiful: an emotional drive to make the world better, probably because someone has been so profoundly affected by the problem. That's why I love what we do...but we need some head to go with that heart. There are many questions to ask before you decide to form a charity, but the biggest is "What action will have the greatest impact?"
  • I see a lot of 'charities' set up purely to fundraise for another well-established charity. This surely isn't the right move.
  • Before a charity's registration is approved should they have to present some sort of business/fundraising plan? A registered charity is essentially funded by all of us through tax breaks...I don't want to 'invest' in an organisation that doesn't know what it's doing.
  • As Sandra said on Twitter, there is a huge difference between your democratic right to set up charity and expectation that it be funded by anyone.
  • Would you set up a business without knowing where the money is coming from? Would you expect to take any money/profit out of a business for the first 2-3 years?
  • I think Mark Pollock said it: Sympathy carries your funding for the first 3 years. And then it dries up - so you need a decent fundraising strategy way before that happens.
  • Charities are partly to blame - if people had the confidence that you were amazing then they'd fund you instead of setting up their own thing.
  • If you're naming your new charity after a person then think again.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Looking After Your Event Fundraisers

Your charity probably had volunteers running or walking in the The Flora Women's Mini-Marathon over the weekend. They probably raised hundreds or thousands of Euro for you.

And now it's over. If you're responsible for your charity's income then you still have a lot of work to do. For fundraisers like you and me, an event like the Mini-Marathon isn't something that happens once a year...there is something to be done all year round - before, during and after.

Here's some tips to boost your fundraiser's fundraising, keep them coming back, and to make them feel as amazing as they truly are.

  1. Contact your lovely fundraisers before the event
    At least when they register, but more than that if you can. Preferably by phone. If you check in with and encouraging them then they'll raise more.
  2. Teach them how to fundraise
    I saw a lot of friends posting photos and updates on Facebook, without sharing the link to their donation page. Things like that might seem obvious to you but fundraising isn't their priority. Gently remind your fundraisers of the basics: sharing, asking, thanking, etc. Give them a 'how-to'.
  3. Encourage on-line, but cater for the fundraiser
    Using an on-line fundraising page is probably preferable for you: it guarantees you get the money and lets you keep an eye on what's happening. But your fundraiser might prefer a good old fashioned sponsorship card. That's not an age thing - my 25 year old friend refused to fundraise on-line. There's no point trying to force your fundraisers to do something they don't want, so make sure you're catering for everyone.
  4. Follow up immediately...thanking profusely
    It's amazing how many charities don't put the time in to properly thanking their fundraisers. And I don't mean just a generic mail merged letter. Let's face it - you probably haven't got that many fundraisers taking part...surely you have the time to add a handwritten note and an invitation to come in and meet your team? Surely you have the 5 minutes to phone them? with your them the impact and tell them the emotional stories. "You did this!"
    Look at it this way: the way you thank them could mean the difference between them raising €1000 for you next year or not. Isn't that worth making the time?
  5. Follow up next year
    Set a reminder to contact them again next year, earlier than they registered this time. You want them to fundraise for you're probably going to have to ask them before another friend or charity asks them. And remember, phone always beats post...but both is better.
  6. They're not donors...but they might be
    Yeh...your fundraisers possibly aren't donors, so you don't want to necessarily treat them the way you treat your donors. But they might be...if you ask them. Especially if they're too busy to fundraise for you again. When the dust settles...ASK.