Hope on the horizon for charity fundraisers?
Spring has sprung, restrictions are easing, and the sense of hope is almost tangible.
True, Covid 19 has had a brutal impact on charities up and down the country. Increased demand for services, stiff competition for grant funding, loss of income from fundraising events and community fundraising activities.
But there are signs of hope for our sector and for the good causes we fundraisers are so passionate about. Here are three reasons why we might look back on 2021 as the year the charity sector bounced back.
- Fundraising lessons learned
Positive Change: The outcomes of an unprecedented year is well worth a read. Commissioned by legal firm Bates Wells, the report analyses the challenges and pressures the charity sector has faced. It also recognises the resilience of so many charitable organisations in dealing with new ways of working. And we’ve seen this first-hand in the charities we work with.
The pandemic has led to some great examples of innovative approaches to fundraising and many charities embracing digital fundraising – and digital technology more generally. We’ve also seen many fundraisers – along with colleagues in other departments – work harder and smarter on donor retention and stewardship. Perhaps the fundraising lessons learned during these challenging times will help us become more resilient, innovative and donor-centric?
- Charity partnerships and mergers
One of the key positives from Covid-19 is the way the voluntary sector has worked together to tackle issues and make a difference. And I for one am excited about how this increased focus on partnerships will play out over the coming months and years. It has been exciting to see charities, public sector organisations and community groups talking, listening to each other and working together to provide support to those most in need.
Interestingly we haven’t seen the predicted increase in charity mergers because of the pandemic. But there were some. Two dementia charities merged at the end of 2020. Three youth cancer charities recently announced a new partnership. The three charities will share resources and information, and will refer young people to each other’s services and campaign together.
My guess is that we may well still see an increasing number of collaborations, partnerships and mergers as the rest of the year unfolds. And this won’t just be good news for service delivery; with more and more funders seeking evidence of partnership working, it also makes good fundraising sense.
- Fundraisers: Pause and reflect time
We fundraisers all too easily fall into the trap of constant activity. Writing funding applications, meeting with major donors, organising fundraising events, planning the next fundraising appeal. The list goes on.
In the darkest times, we are often forced to reflect more deeply. And for us fundraisers, the same has been true. It’s been heart-warming to see fundraisers up and down the country, pausing from the action to reflect. And our fundraising efforts – and the charities whose work we support – will be all the stronger for it.
Fundraising in 2021 and beyond: what’s ahead?
We have gone through some immense challenges over the past 12 months. And often, the darkest times create the greatest resilience and require us to change the way we think, relate and act. Fundamentally, out of these difficult times, I think that we see the emergence of a stronger, more resilient, resourceful and innovative voluntary sector.
To talk to us further about charity fundraising, please get in touch.