In the perfect world every charity would be well funded, have plenty of public support and resonate with it’s chosen audience, sadly the reality is that things aren’t quite that simple. While there can be a number of reasons why a charity might not reach its true potential in the blog, we’re going to focus on the most common reasons that charities fail so you can avoid them.
No Solid Business Plans
It’s all well and good having a great idea but without a solid business plan most charities will struggle to get off the ground and start making a difference. A lot of people when starting a charity fail to do their homework by asking some key questions such as: What problem needs solving? Are there any other charities or organisations already doing this? How will this charity be different? What staff and volunteers will be needed? How will the charity operate? What does success look like? How will the charity be funded in the short and longer term?
A business plan will help you focus on the core offering and how you are going to operate as a charity. It will help you understand and break down what you need to be successful as well as forming the basis for how you will achieve your core mission.
Lack Of Funding
This is perhaps the biggest reason for charities to fail. They simply can’t secure enough funding to continue operations. While people love the feeling of being charitable, the reality is that they are unlikely to give to a charity unless it resonates with them. Grants and donors are inevitably the lifeblood of charities and in order to secure funding a charity needs to be able to differentiate itself from other not-for-profit organisations who are in a similar position.
Inexperienced Board Of Trustees
While passion and determination to help those in need are admirable qualities they won’t necessarily lead to success when it comes to running a charity. If the board of trustees that is in charge of running the charity is inexperienced then it has a much higher chance of failure compared to a charity that has appointed experienced trustees. The board needs to be able to oversee the organisation and provide direction, source funding, and provide the right culture.
Failure To Invest
A common reason that charities and other not-for-profit organisation fail is that they do not invest in staff, infrastructure, marketing, and fundraising. This can lead to low efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness. While most charities will use volunteers, it is important that they are provided with the right training as well as access to the things they need to be effective.
Forgetting Small Donors
While many not-for-profits focus on attracting large donors many forget how important smaller donors can be. Using marketing you can actively target smaller donors as well as making your message clear that you don’t need to give a lot of money to make a difference will help donors feel like they are making a difference even if they are only able to make a small contribution.