There could never have been any doubt that the government’s immediate post-COVID19 priority would be to deal with its financial consequences. Even so, many charities, especially smaller ones, probably hoped for at least some help from the government. As it is, however, they will largely have to stand on their own two feet. Here are some tips to help.
Work out what you need and want to do
Realistically, most smaller charities are probably going to have to focus on covering the bare minimum of services. It is, however, still advisable to have a plan for what to do if you get additional budget. After all, if you don’t use it this year, it can always form the basis for a future business plan.
Calculate the minimum level of funding you need
When undertaking this exercise, work out the “gross” figure, then see if there are any options for reducing it. Remember that there is still some COVID19-related support available. In particular, furlough will continue until the end of September 2021.
Be realistic about the difference between “needs” and “wants”. For example, you might want all your staff back in the office. If, however, you have working from home infrastructure in place, then it may be more cost-effective to stick with it, at least for the immediate future.
Also, remember the difference between “access” and “ownership”. In other words, always try to look for ways to get access to what you need without having to buy it outright. A lot of places will be willing to help out charities and if you cannot get what you need through goodwill, then renting/leasing could work out a lot more cost-effective than borrowing.
Research funding sources and partners
Regular funding sources, especially local authorities, will almost certainly be facing huge demand. You should definitely still apply for funds if you think there’s even a chance that you’ll qualify. You should also do everything possible to give weight to your application.
Some charities may find that their best, possibly only, option is to form partnerships with other stakeholders. In particular, any charity which wants to access the Levelling Up Fund will need to work with their MP and local council.
This year, it may be particularly advisable to work on developing relationships with local businesses. Realistically, local businesses are most likely to be interested in working with charities which can influence their (potential) customer base. This is another reason why it’s important to build an engaged support base and communicate with it regularly.
Put the fun into fundraising
After a year cooped up in quarantine, many people will be desperate to get out and have some fun. Charities can make use of this for fundraising. Anything which sounds like it could be entertaining and also do good is likely to be an easy sell to the general public as well as supporters.
Try to put on a mixture of “big ticket” and “lower budget” events. This is partly to cater to different groups and partly to avoid people getting bored by repetition. That said, if a specific type of event is particularly successful, you may want to try repeating it. Just be careful with the frequency.
Peter Scully is the Marketing Consultant at Rogers Spencer who are Chartered Accountants in Nottingham who can provide businesses with tailored accountancy services.