Reflecting on the three years since we set up Cause4 on 11 May 2009 and the challenges of growing a start-up, we’re glad still to be standing!
We are proud to have set up a business that is ethical, that supports and develops people and which is profitable all at the same time – our triple bottom line.
Not many involved in the raising of funds for charitable causes will deny that the environment has become a great deal tougher. But through thick and thin we’ve nonetheless managed to generate a total of £9.64m over the past three years across our client portfolio – and we’ve set ourselves the challenge of raising a further £10m in the forthcoming financial year.
Not many working in the third sector fail to recognise that it’s a complex, challenging and rewarding time in which to be working in the fields of charity, social enterprise and philanthropy - and in looking forward to the next three years we’ve identified as a team three areas that we think are the most urgent for the sector:
1.Talent development – One of the biggest challenges facing the charity, social enterprise and philanthropy sector lies in the issues of attracting talent into the fundraising and development sector. Put simply there is little adequate targeted activity to attract and retain top talent into third sector jobs – and particularly to prepare graduates for a career in strategic development and fundraising.
Cause4 launched its Alchemist programme two years ago to attract talented graduates into long-term careers in the charity and social enterprise sector and develop the next generation of entrepreneurial fundraisers. There’s an urgent need to develop young people who will be the leaders of tomorrow, those who understand strategy and innovation and are equipped with the practical know- how to develop projects and raise funds successfully. We now have two graduates from this programme working full-time in our organisation and three current trainees. We have high hopes for their long-term future as Development Directors, CEOs and Directors of Social Enterprises and we are committed to developing six more Alchemists (graduates and school leavers) to undertake training and work alongside client organisations over the coming year.
2.Philanthropy – Philanthropy has never been more important than in these times of austerity. There are many advisors helping individuals in offering expert legal and financial advice. Few offer any expertise in helping philanthropists develop their philanthropy by translating their charitable giving into bespoke projects specifically tailored to their personal concerns and interests.
What’s more, there is little support to enable philanthropists to leverage their investment through additional fundraising. Our philanthropy service is already supporting sportspeople, artists and entrepreneurs to leverage additional support from other philanthropists, corporates, trusts and foundations and Government for their bespoke programmes of activity. We aim for a minimum 1:3 match.
We have also set up the Philanthropy Foundation – a new charity to make giving easier and to provide an alternative to setting up new Foundations for aspiring philanthropists, offering individual ‘ring-fenced’ funds and over-arching management and governance to spare them time and worry. We want to ensure £5m of new investment in the charitable sector through the Philanthropy Foundation in 2012-2013.
3. Entrepreneurial thinking – Whilst some charities are admirably creative, far too many are set in their ways, reluctant to consider new ways of thinking and too embroiled in parochialism to consider how they might work much more collaboratively and imaginatively with others with similar concerns. The sector as a whole needs to think as an entrepreneur does - to be willing to conceive of the impossible, to see an opportunity and to act upon it; to innovate, think creatively and challenge the status quo; to work like a dog, to be courageous, to accept risk but to mitigate against these sensibly; to learn quickly from mistakes when these arise and have the wisdom and humility to refine or change tack when it’s obvious things can be done better.
So this is what the Cause4 team has signed up to.
Thank you to all our clients, to our team and our associates for all their collective help and support since Cause4 launched – here’s to the next three years!