Thinking outside the funding box
Charities have been delivering crucial
public services long before the term big society was coined.
Often created in response to a social need
that was not being met by the state, these charities now provide national
services that form part of the social safety net people have a right to expect
in a civilised society.
As with most publicly funded services, many
charities are under financial pressure as the economy struggles. Worried about
the vulnerable people they serve, they are having to develop new funding
One way they could do this is by developing
new relationships with their stakeholders. Charities that deliver public
services benefit those beyond their service users, and charities should not miss
an opportunity to leverage the benefits that their broader stakeholders
receive, no doubt value and possibly be willing to pay to protect.
I know that most charities will almost
certainly have considered this before but decided not to because of the
potential impact on their independence.
I do believe that it can be done.
The Consumer Credit Counselling Service
developed the fair share contribution model where creditors voluntarily
donate a contribution they receive from their customers in trouble through the debt
management plans we establish. It has had no impact on our operational
independence nor our ability to be an advocate for struggling debtors.
While I understand that these types of
funding models are not open to every charity, these difficult times mean that
we must break ground on new ways to raise income.
It won’t be easy as there are bound to be
those who will question any move towards the restructuring of relationships with
stakeholders where independence may be an issue and measures will need to be
put in place to protect it.
Ultimately, there are millions of people
throughout the UK who appreciate the services which innovative and caring
charities provide and who will understand that new income models are vital for
Delroy Corinaldi, external affairs director, Consumer Credit