For most charities, the challenge of fundraising is nothing new. Yet the start of a new year provides a moment to reflect upon one of the most pressing concerns of the sector – the pressure of raising new funds every year. Difficult changes have occurred in the social sector following the recession and the introduction of austerity measures. With mounting challenges in the form of declining public trust, increasing regulation, public scrutiny into fundraising practices, and payment-by-results mechanisms, it is no wonder that most charities are exploring ways to facilitate and grow commercial revenue generation.
Social investment provides a means for charities to increase their income and meet longer-term financial needs. However, whilst many charities see social investment as beneficial to their strategic goals, few feel as if they know enough to pursue this opportunity.
So if you’re a charity who’s thought about giving trading activities a try in 2017 where do you begin? We’ve published a quick 4-step “to do” list to kick start your journey into unlocking your charity’s revenue generating potential.
1. Communicate early with stakeholders
Avoid alienating yourself by including relevant trustees and other relevant stakeholders from the start. Gaining early buy-in from these people is a worthwhile investment to avoid the risk of conflict further down the line. Come ready with an explanation of the proposition, the projected budget, and anticipated risks involved.
2. Take a structured approach to understanding what your viable ventures are
The most successful businesses play to their strengths, so why shouldn’t you? Mapping your assets to market opportunities increases your probability of success. Using the TSIC Charities Unlocked Tool can help process and prioritize revenue generation ideas with the highest potential.
3. Be creative! Don’t be afraid of the alternative business model
Whilst many charities are focused on B2C (“Business-to-Consumer”) model trading activities, we’ve found this often does not play to their true strengths. B2C initiatives frequently overestimate brand power over similar commercially branded goods, and are generally riskier than B2B (“Business-to-Business”) models in the current regulatory environment.
4. Find your ‘intrapreneurs’
These are internal champions within your team who take direct responsibility for turning an idea into an impactful venture using their risk taking capacity and innovative skills. Fostering these contributors on your team allow you to better respond to emerging opportunities.
The Social Investment Consultancy (TSIC) operates at the intersection of the for- and non-profit worlds, dedicated to helping charities and businesses maximise their social impact. The latest models of social enterprise, revenue generation and social investment, and the integration of skills and expertise from across the public, private and third sector form the basis for our work.
TSIC’s research, TSIC Charities Unlocked – Progress and Potential for Charity Revenue Generation which analyses the growth of various models of charity revenue generation will be launched this month.