nfpSynergy - research consultancy helping not-for-profits thrive
Everyone working in a charity is looking for the next big thing that will help them deliver their mission. How can we grow? How can we get more money in? How can we do things more efficiently? Unsurprisingly, charities often look to the commercial sector to learn lessons and see what can be useful. But, but, but… I can’t help thinking that sometimes we look to the commercial sector for an answer when we shouldn’t.
People now prefer to buy from charity shops rather than online marketplaces like eBay, new research shows. The data, released by nfpSynergy, also shows that four in five of us have visited a charity shop in the last year, up from two thirds a decade ago.
The study asked 1,000 people whether they would prefer to buy a range of items from a charity shop or an online marketplace. Charity shops ranked higher for almost every kind of product, including books, clothes, DVDs and jewellery. Researchers also found that on average, 54% of the public would buy the items from charity shops compared to 40% who would turn to online marketplaces.
The data shows that 84% of people would rather buy books from charity shops compared to 53% from online marketplaces. The results are similar for adults’ and children’s clothes (62% and 45% for adults’, and 45% and 35% for children’s), CDs, DVDs and music, (73% and 53%) and jewellery or antiques (41% and 40%). Of the 16 items asked about, only food and toiletries would see more people heading for the online market.
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.
Sympathetic ear of the media throws up new opportunity
With the general election less than three months away, nfpSynergy's Journalists’ Attitudes and Awareness Monitor (JAAM) has seen many journalists expressing serious concern over the impact of government funding cuts on health and disability charities. They’re described as needing help to combat the “extreme difficulties” experienced by disabled people in the face of funding cutbacks.
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Your staff are on the front line of portraying your organisation’s vision, values and messages. To illustrate how important and successful this can be, below are some great examples of how one employee's actions can potentially have a big impact on your brand, highlighted at a great fringe session at IOF Scotland recently (‘The Little Things’ - @rachel_hunny).