Thursday, June 26, 2014

Are There Too Many Charities?

You might have already asked yourself Are there too many charities? You might have seen another one pop up and wonder What process did they go through?

I very often hear people spout off that "there are too many charities", but they're usually unable to suggest which ones should go.

Recently an interesting conversation developed on Twitter here and here. It got to the point where I decided to put all my thoughts in one here we go...

  • We don't know how many charities there are, so we can't say if there's too many.
  • There is certainly unnecessary duplication of 'office' space, HR, legal, Direct Debit processing - all the boring stuff.
  • There are some localities with duplication of services, and some areas with none. So rather than 'too many charities' are they simply in the wrong place?
  • To quote "In Norway there are 16 charities for every 1,000 people; in Scotland there are 4.3; in Wales there are 3; and in Ireland there are 1.8"
  • Charities are always formed out of something beautiful: an emotional drive to make the world better, probably because someone has been so profoundly affected by the problem. That's why I love what we do...but we need some head to go with that heart. There are many questions to ask before you decide to form a charity, but the biggest is "What action will have the greatest impact?"
  • I see a lot of 'charities' set up purely to fundraise for another well-established charity. This surely isn't the right move.
  • Before a charity's registration is approved should they have to present some sort of business/fundraising plan? A registered charity is essentially funded by all of us through tax breaks...I don't want to 'invest' in an organisation that doesn't know what it's doing.
  • As Sandra said on Twitter, there is a huge difference between your democratic right to set up charity and expectation that it be funded by anyone.
  • Would you set up a business without knowing where the money is coming from? Would you expect to take any money/profit out of a business for the first 2-3 years?
  • I think Mark Pollock said it: Sympathy carries your funding for the first 3 years. And then it dries up - so you need a decent fundraising strategy way before that happens.
  • Charities are partly to blame - if people had the confidence that you were amazing then they'd fund you instead of setting up their own thing.
  • If you're naming your new charity after a person then think again.

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