There are more than 145,000 charities registered with the Charity Commission that have an income under £500,000 each year. The annual income of these charities only accounts for about 10% of the income of the sector as a whole, but the impact that they have is phenomenal and punches well above their financial weight.
Small charities are beginning to get the recognition that they deserve, with national events such as Local Charities Day and Small Charity Week, which are a great way to place the spotlight on these great charities, and to galvanise the sector into providing them with the support they need to thrive.
One of the biggest concerns expressed by many leaders of small charities is that they don’t have the capacity to raise funds or stand out against the ‘bigger fish,’ yet often the biggest value of these organisations is actually their size.
Cause4 is a champion of small charities and we use our specialist skills to support them. We’re proud to have helped to raise over £5.8 million for small charities (those that have a turnover under £1m), and we love working with them because of their focus, dedication and enthusiasm.
So how can small charities make the most of their size to ensure they are both impactful and financially sustainable? As today is Fundraising Day, we thought we’d share some of our top tips for small charity fundraising.
Make the most of volunteers
Most of the 165,000 charities in the UK are volunteer-run. From small-scale fundraising support through to running entire programmes and governing a charity as a Trustee, volunteers have an immense ability to keep a small charity running effectively and efficiently.
According to NCVO, the majority of small charities work locally, which means they have the ability to galvanise the local community for support. Whilst this might feel like a restricted idea, the benefits can be huge. Individuals, companies and even local Trusts and Foundations that operate within a community will likely be passionate and committed to improving their area, which means if you get your message out there, you have a substantial support network to tap into.
Make the most of free resources
Another fantastic benefit for smaller charities is the variety of opportunities they can access for support, from discounted training programmes and workshops with organisations such as the Foundation for Social Improvement to free resources shared through NCVO.
If you are looking to upskill your team and help them develop their fundraising skills, these free resources and training sessions are a great way to do that on a minimal budget. Whatever your organisation’s size, there is something out there for everyone.
Make the most of digital
No matter how small your organisation is, your impact and reach can be substantial if you use the right tools. From simple donation platforms to crowdfunding campaigns and social media engagement, there are plenty of options when it comes to combining technology and fundraising.
A local organisation can really make an impact within the community by engaging with them on social media. Sharing updates, news stories and of course saying thank you, are also excellent ways to build a following, which can then be turned into a donor base.
What’s more, as our CEO Michelle Wright mentioned in a guest post for Charity Digital News, a complex donation platform can really turn a donor off. All charities should ensure that a donation button is clearly visible and embedded on their website to make the process for donating as easy as possible.
Think like a business
One of the biggest concerns in the charity sector is wasted resources, and small charities can do a lot more to avoid this issue if they consider the importance of return on investment and start to think like a sustainable business, focusing on 2-3 areas where they are most likely to get a return.
For example, whilst event fundraising can be a great way to galvanise support and raise some funds, it’s important to consider how much money and time is actually being invested compared to what you are getting in return – benchmarking your fundraising against other charities can be helpful in knowing where to invest resources.
By developing a clear fundraising strategy and assessing what resources you have available (people and money) you will be able to identify the most appropriate way of raising additional funds and ensuring financial sustainability.
What are your top tips for small charity fundraising? Tweet us at @OfficialCause4 to let us know.