nfpSynergy - research consultancy helping not-for-profits thrive
It has been another full and fulfilling year at nfpSynergy, providing research to support a diverse range of charities with a diverse range of needs. Naturally, many of these needs reflect the ongoing climate of a competitive and relatively austere market place. In light of this, how can charities best respond? Essentially, how can they deliver more with less?
The voluntary sector is facing up to ten years of turbulent times, warns a new report. The New Alchemy, published by research consultancy nfpSynergy, says volunteering is under-valued, under-prioritised and organisations could miss a huge opportunity by not responding to changes in society.
The report, out today, says that “volunteers have too often been seen as cheap ‘service-delivery’ and a slightly unreliable resource’ to be ‘used’ for particular ends” by organisations not engaging with a changing world. It also warns that when baby boomers, those born in the late 1940s and the 1950s, reach retirement, charities will have to compete with a whole range of activities to attract volunteers, who may prioritise hobbies from skiing holidays to cruises and weekend breaks.
As a result, it says the sector will miss out on crucial skills, experience and energy and that charities need to stop viewing volunteers as a means to an end or face a decade of struggle.
It's Christmas time and as per tradition we're giving away 12 more of our reports. They address key issues like lobbying, fundraising and trust, plus a couple of niche ones like Gift Aid and media spending. Enjoy!
1. The Politics of Charities; who thinks they should be allowed to lobby?
We spoke to the general public, journalists and MPs to find out who thinks charities should lobby... and who thinks they should be political.
2. Global Digital Fundraising – a world of opportunity
Technology has changed the world we live in beyond all recognition, so how do charities adapt?
3. A Healthy Audience: is there a link between prevalence and donations?
It's often said that the charities set up to fight the most prevalent conditions raise the most money. But do they?
4. Nine campaign tactics for charities to consider before a General Election
With the election rapidly approaching, it's time to prepare with nine top tips.
5. Thanks For Everything! How charities recognise their key donors
All charities fundraise, but how do they show appreciation to those who made the difference?
For over 20 years, Scope has offered a service called Face 2 Face to provide befriending for parents of disabled children. It is run by professionally trained volunteers who themselves are parents of disabled children and is funded in part by The BIG Lottery Fund. The BIG Lottery Fund put forward the money for Scope to commission an independent evaluation of Face 2 Face. The project aimed to ensure its impact was clearly evidenced and that areas of improvement were identified to enable decisions on further funding.
We conducted in-depth face to face and telephone interviews with parents of disabled children, as well as interviews with Face 2 Face volunteers and staff. Our experience of conducting research on sensitive subjects meant we treated participants with the very same values of care, empathy and non-judgement that underpin Face 2 Face itself. As a result, participants were willing to share personal and private details, thoughts and feelings about family life. This was essential in understanding their needs for such a support service and discovering how Face 2 Face meets those.
Our final report portrayed the lives and needs of the beneficiaries and the way in which Scope’s delivery of Face 2 Face meets those needs more effectively than any other single intervention. We also provided recommendations for ongoing evaluation, including the challenge of gaining hard measures of soft outcomes. Having submitted this report to a key funder with an initially positive response, Scope is now waiting to hear whether funding will be granted.
Gap between consumer and donor confidence widens
The Donor Confidence Index is nfpSynergy's new charity sector equivalent to the consumer confidence index. As consumer confidence does not always predict people’s sentiment towards giving to charity, we have created a new index from our wealth of data to reflect the public’s warmth towards giving at any moment in time.
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My ceramic poppy arrived in the post today – one of the 888,246 made for the “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” at the Tower of London, a poignant commemoration of the centenary of the start of the First World War. It has moved thousands of visitors and was an inspiring fundraising initiative, with the proceeds of each sale benefiting selected service charities.