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Charities turn to crowdfunding

peer to peer, Reward, Sean Williams | 12/05/2015 | Sean Williams

Charities_crowdfunding
Sean Williams

Author: Sean Williams

The recession hit everyone in one way or another but for charities it came from both sides. Demand was high for much needed services as families struggled to provide, yet donations fell dramatically as financial priorities took a grip of the nation.

It wasn’t pretty at the time, but now charities are benefiting from the results of the dark financial days. Crowdfunding is part of the answer.

Money makes the world go around

The financial crash of 2008 was devastating for many thousands and millions of people in the UK. Not least for the 8,000 UK charities that were forced to close in the year following the financial crash.

Larger charities were able to adapt and garner support through the wide network but the smaller, local charities struggled. And it has affected the make up of our charities today.

What is clear from looking at official, historical official statistics from Government Charity registration data is that the number of large charities with an annual income of over £10million make up a much higher proportion of today’s charity sector than pre-2009.

In 2003, for example, just 460 of the 164,781 registered charities were lucky enough to be in the higher tier of financial charity. But looking at the 2013 numbers, it has doubled to 1,005 despite slightly fewer registrations (163,709).

The financial drain

It’s clear that donations remain vitally important for charities to operate effectively. And with the economic climate showing signs of improvement, it looks positive for the 164,000 UK charities all vying for your donation. Or is it.

The 2014 UK Giving report published by the Charities Aid Foundation, shows the figure being donated was £200m lower than the year before. What isn’t clear is where crowdfunding fits within all of this, and indeed whether those donating via crowdfunding platforms are even considering it as being a charitable donation.

Crowdfunding has begun to change the lives of many – from a student with a smart idea, to a Mum looking to start her own business, there is a place for crowdfunding. What hasn’t changed much over the years is how donations to charities are made. That annoying row of so-called ‘chuggers’ has made us very astute when it comes to avoiding people on the street. For many, being pestered to donate isn’t going to work, but volunteering your support with cash is something that charities are beginning to adopt with great results.

Crowdfunding is very much all about putting the choice in the hands of the donator. It’s what you’re doing with the funds and how you collect it that will sway the onlooker.

Having been in the sector for many years now, Crowdfunder.co.uk has seen and understands what works and what doesn’t.

Crowdfunding the charity world

Kids Company, a charity that supports vulnerable children with hot meals, clothing and general support, raised more than £100,000. Having successfully made Christmas better for so many kids across the UK, they wanted to expand their work to cover the entire winter period. They sought donations in an innovative, cost effective way. Simple as that. Despite being a great cause with so much good work, their crowdfunding campaign is an excellent example of where rewards fit in to successful campaigns.

Every time someone gives money, there needs to be an option to say thank you. That may be a simple personalised email, to a thank you card or even a small gift.

The Kids Company campaign was for something very specific. Take Warwick Rowing team’s naked calendar campaign as a good example. With the help of 113 donators, they more than doubled their target raise of £5,000 with a staggering £13,330. Everyone loves a naked calendar, it seems.

The list goes on so if you’d like to see other examples of charities using crowdfunding, take a look at AH20, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People  and The Seed, Africa: Educate a girl and change the world.

We’re in a world of financial caution, and this isn’t going to change anytime soon. The way in which charities gain donations has to not change as such, but certainly develop and adapt to how the man on the street feels comfortable and confident about donating. Crowdfunding is a part of this, and we can only see its influence growing for the sector.

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