Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fundraising Basics: 10 - Non Fundraising Fundraising

Non fundraising fundraising
Traditional fundraising - asking for money with no expectation of return - is not the only way to get funding for NGOs or charities.

We should also consider social enterprises, selling their services, contracting etc.

Basically, it is possible to do good in a way that is not entirely through getting donations.

This is not a new concept, but is a big growth area.

Turning Point in the UK have a turnover of over £60m, less than 1% of which is from traditional fundraising.

The Smith Family in Australia has another great example - check out their Enterprises.

Check out this link for more social enterprise information and links.

The bottom line is that fundraising is really hard, and takes a long time to bear fruit. It is almost certainly worth investigating social enterprise too.

Sean Triner


Anonymous said...

Most of the UK agencies working in this area were funded by the UK government a number of years ago; and the scene there is very, very different from Australia, because of the Blair govt's reforms in the disability sector. Having spent several years as CEO of a social enterprise organisation in Australia (one I founded myself in 2004), I can assure you that social enterprise in Australia is not thriving, despite the best efforts of some very experienced policy-makers. But nor is it flourishing in Britain now. Even enterprises funded by govt (e.g. cats Pyjamas)set up have been unsuccessful, or are struggling to continue. There are some successful international models, such as the Grameen Bank, but having convened a meeting of the major banks to discuss legislative impediments to microfinance initiatives in Australia, there's not much potential there for us, either.

I suggest that people wishing to know more about the experience of social enterprise in Britain try contacting the UK organisations.

Or (if you want a better lead!) google 'fourth sector' and get the latest information from the US, where the conditions (which stem mainly from legislation on available business structures) are different - and where there HAS been success in some areas.

Yes - Smith family is doing well and so are some others, but you need to understand a lot more more than just the concept to get it right.

Anonymous said...

And speaking of bad ideas - the 'database swap' is as old as the hills. Some people tried it last time it was suggested. The result? People gave each other their lapsed donor lists. Many returned mail pieces later (due to old addresses), they gave up, having wisely assumed that competitors will always b competitors. So it is an irony to see this being touted as a new strategy - it's only about a decade since the last time someone else tried to same line. (Mind you, that was BEFORE the Privacy Act, so I guess you could say this IS different!)

Sean, the UK is not that far away - even we colonials know a bit about what happens there and frankly, it isn't up to standard on most occasions. Don't try to teach us to suck eggs.

'Sean is always learning' said...

Assuming these are the same anonymous poster, thanks a lot for both posts.

The first is really useful and a great warning for charities - there is never a quick fix, but this is an international blog and people really need to consider there local situation and it does appear that social enterprises are working in some place. Hapinoy is another great example in the Philippines. ( Australians, come to the FIA Conference in Sydney to learn more about this venture.

Second post I worry about - I hear from Australian clients who did swaps a decade or so ago about the problems, but most say it worked and were happy. The reason the ones I spoke with stopped was usually around privacy.

Provided your trusted third party understands fundraising, then they can ensure charities are swapping like with like. This is not a new thing but has been pretty absent from Australian for a long, long time.

Next week I am publishing a paper with a lot more detail than my recent article, so please look out for it!


Disaster Fundraising Guide download it here