Horizon-scanning and why it’s essential

The charity and not-for-profit landscape is constantly changing. How much time do – and should – you invest in staying abreast of these changes? And will this help improve your fundraising performance?

What does the future look like?

https://publications.ncvo.org.uk/road-ahead-2020/ makes a good start at answering this question. For weeks this report has been on my ‘must read’ list. And I finally got round to reading the report late last Friday. But it should have been much higher on my priority list

Why charities must invest time in reviewing the landscape

It’s all too easy to get caught up in a cycle of activity. And, in doing so, we lose sight of what’s happening externally. But understanding the external context we’re working in isn’t an optional extra. It’s a necessity.

Reflective charities are more resilient

Non-profits need to invest more time understanding the context they operate in. The Charities Aid Foundation for example says that one of the hallmarks of a resilient charity is the ability to take time out to reflect https://www.cafonline.org/about-us/blog-home/charities-blog/six-characteristics-of-a-resilient-charity And the link between reflection and resilience is something I’ve seen time and time again in my 20 years in the voluntary sector.

Horizon-scanning will help you raise more funds

Understanding the context you operate in won’t just help your organisation become more effective and resilient; it will also improve your fundraising fortunes.

Donors, funders, commissioners and partners want to see that you understand the local and national context you operate in. For grant-makers this is particularly important. The Garfield Weston Foundation, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and the National Lottery Community Fund, to name but a few.

Showing you understand what’s happening outside of your organisation, is therefore crucial to successful funding applications.

Make time for horizon-scanning

So, whether you’re a sole fundraiser, trustee, fundraising director or volunteer, horizon-scanning isn’t an optional extra. Investing time in looking outside of your organisation will be more than worth it.

If you’re interested in donor retention, have a look at Charity donors and how not to abuse them