The charity world has a conflicted attitude towards companies. There are many charities with large teams dedicated to building corporate partnerships and raising substantial income. There are campaign organisations that will have nothing to do with companies either in terms of income or influence, or that will only work with the most ‘ethical’ of the corporate world. It must be one of the few sources of income where some people believe that publicly lambasting donors is a productive way to increase income. However, some sector leaders have done it.
The nfpSynergy Blog
As summer approaches with the first tantalising signs of sun, now is the time to start planning for summer internships. Despite controversy about pay, charity summer internships can be a brilliant exchange of experience, skills and work between charity and intern. At nfpSynergy, a regular intake of summer interns and research assistants provides both a brilliant environment for gaining experience and, crucially, a culture of innovation and fresh insight within the company.
Our extensive research with the general public gives us a great insight into how people see charities. From within the sector it’s easy to forget that most people have little experience of how charities really work and spend very little time thinking about it! For many of them, views on how charities work are stuck somewhere in the last century, with even large national brands running multi-million pound operations expected to operate out of a church hall with few to no paid staff.
Over the last 20 years, an awful lot of the British public have started give to charity because some fundraiser or other persuaded them to donate a very small monthly amount. It might only be £2 or £3, but it’s fair to say that the widespread promotion of this type of giving has transformed both the fortunes of many charities and the number of people who give regularly.
The charity sector’s relationship with the media has always been something of a mixed bag. On the one hand, media coverage can provide a tremendous boost to a charity’s campaigns and services. On the other, negative attention has the potential to be very detrimental.
nfpSynergy speak to over 30,000 people about charities every year to bring charities the incisive data they need to inform their work. Occasionally, we break some of it down into a handy quiz. And no, we still haven't run out of songs to put the word 'poll' into for a title.
Each year at nfpSynergy we aim to distribute a portion of our profits to our 20 or so staff. We have christened this ‘The Passion Pot’. The idea is that people spend it on something they are passionate about and it appears as a lump sum in November pay packets.
In December last year, several Conservative MPs tried to stop the 0.7% target for the UK’s foreign aid spending becoming law – a goal the United Nations identified more than 30 years ago. David Cameron’s own support helped MPs to move beyond the debates and the Bill has now been passed. As members of the Prime Minister’s own party retreated in defeat, advocates see this moment as a triumphant finale to the first year that the UK reached the 0.7% target in its overseas spending.
Viral social media campaigns were the biggest charity news stories of 2014. nfpSynergy has been monitoring these developments through our Journalists’ Attitudes & Awareness Monitor (JAAM), a survey we run twice a year with journalists who write about the third sector. We have reached three key conclusions about charity social media campaigns:
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.