The UK has over 190,000 organisations registered as a charity or Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC). Yet, a recent report by TSB bank shows that the vast majority of these organisations are struggling as not many people know who they are. This opened my eyes to a few things….
TSB’s report stated that only one in three British people are able to name a local charity despite the fact that they account for 94% of the not-for-profit organisations. Logically, bigger charities with a large social presence are more memorable than smaller ones. So what implications does this have for smaller charities and CASC’s?
Understandably, the reason why smaller organisations are less memorable or less favoured by the general public is because they are less recognisable. TSB’s research shows that a vast number of individuals felt that local charities were significant, but were unmemorable unless a family member or friend had used a service provided by them. This could be due to the fact local charities tend not to have a household name.
Another area of concern is competition. As mentioned earlier, the UK alone has over 190,000 charities registered, meaning that competition is high. 73% of donors say they have donated to charities with a national presence and 31% have donated to international charities. This shows that donors are aware of charities; however they tend to be more trusting and more aware of those with a significantly larger presence.
Not only is the sector competitive when it comes to donor contributions, but also when applying for government and public funding, such as grants and loans. In some cases, larger charities may be favoured as they pose less of a risk and money is believed to be better spent.
The last major area of concern is the labour force. For smaller organisations, funding the wages of skilled staff is too much of a commitment to take on. With funds scarce enough, smaller charities are unable to grow their organisations, let alone hire a skilled workforce.
So how can I get my small charity recognised?
Getting your organisation’s name out there can be fairly difficult, but there are ways that you can grow. With only a small minority of charities considered large, smaller charities can still compete for donors, by:
- Engaging with their community
For the most part, small charities tend to be part of a local community. Local communities are often more accommodating than they are of businesses and companies. Ensure that you build a rapport with your local community so that they can make people aware of your presence (i.e. through contributing to local events). Word of mouth is extremely effective and is one of the quickest ways you can let people know who you are. Not only this, but your local community has the means of spreading a message to thousands of people that you may not necessarily have access to.
- Invest in marketing
Although marketing may be the least of your priorities, it is imperative in getting your name out there. Marketing may seem quite expensive at first, but there are cost effective ways to easily increase your presence, such as through social media. Furthermore, as a charity, you have more freedom and are more inclined to receive discounts so make sure you utilise this benefit. The only key thing to remember when marketing is not to badger your donors as this can turn them away.
- Merge, Merge, Merge
You could piggy back on the names of bigger charities or businesses. Businesses always want to be seen to be fulfilling their charitable responsibilities, so use this as a way to put your organisation in front of thousands of people. Many businesses sponsor charities for a period of time, organising their own fundraising events and passing any donations made to the charity directly to you, making it one of the most cost effective ways to increase your donations and raise your profile. Alternatively, you could look at partnering up with another charity. This can work particularly well as you can share resources. However, try working with those who work in a different area from you so it does not look like you are trying to steal their contacts.
- Utilise the support available
there are many charitable schemes and programmes, which can provide you with practical support. The Small Charity Coalition and the FSI are two great platforms targeted at small charities to help aid their development.
If you would like further support on how you can develop your charity, please contact Suda Ratnam at firstname.lastname@example.org