E166 - Social Issues And Charities With Dan Corry
“I think in our sector… which is full of heart, full of passion, which is what makes it what it is, …we do sometimes find it hard to answer that question – are we really using our resources in the best way possible to achieve our mission? It’s a difficult question to answer in our sector, sometimes it’s not even a questions that charities are asking themselves enough…” - Dan Corry
In this episode, we speak with Dan Corry, CEO of New Philanthropy Capital (NPC).
1. The evolution of fundraising and what we need to remember
Dan talked about how the pandemic has seen grant funders, specifically, changing to more unrestricted funding, and the hope that this will continue to be the case. We have spoken with other contributors about this, including the likes of Alex Blake, and there is a desire from charities to have the flexibility to use funds where they are needed most. This is often only possible with a substantial level of unrestricted funding.
Dan mentioned the challenge that charities have in reporting to multiple grant makers, and many trust fundraisers will know the pain of reporting in multiple ways to meet the requirements of funders. Perhaps now is the time to speak to funders of your charity to see if they will accept a more consistent, time and cost saving report?
Of course, having a diversity of funding streams will help charities to weather fundraising storms, of course this is often easier said than done, especially for small charities with very limited resource.
A fundamental challenge and opportunity for charities is to build relationships with donors, funders, or fundraisers and moving them to becoming more long-term supporters. This takes time, and charities need to weigh meeting the funders funding criteria with delivering effectively for their beneficiaries. It’s a difficult balance, and solid stewardship, openness and an investment of time to understand the donor or funder or fundraiser, and help them to understand your cause is surely the answer. How you do this, especially with limited resource is again a challenge, but well worth the effort. And I would recommend listening back to our podcasts on donor journeys and impact reporting.
2. Charities working with local authorities
Dan has a background in working in and with government and local authorities, and talked about seeing charities and the local authority working more closely together to deliver in the midst of the Covid crisis. He also warned though that there is risk that we might be reverting to working separately again.
So what can charities do to drive engagement with their local authorities more over the coming months and year? How can we demonstrate the value that we bring to so many of the social challenges that the local authority are also seeking to address, albeit with insufficient budgets? There is no one answer to this, but understanding the priorities of our local authority and reaching out may be one fundamental strategy.
3. Charities working with government
There is tension between the government and the charity sector at the moment, which Dan and his team are working on, to bring charity voices into policy decision making at government level.
In terms of the government’s levelling-up agenda, charities that work on employability and prosperity, including involvement in the labour market, need to be ready to be part of this conversation, there are also a lot of people that charities are helping who are excluded currently, such as the homeless.
The notion of creating social capital, and the feeling of civil society - Dan says that charities and social organisations are crucial to creating this. However the current funding and rhetoric of investing in infrastructure isn’t enough, you need social investment too, and who better to assist in advising government on where to best focus this investment than the charities that are daily working with those most vulnerable in our society.
Speaking with Dan, it strikes us that the work that is being done by the government and local authorities to bring society out the other side of the impacts of the pandemic will only be successful at delivering a better society if charities and civil society as a whole are involved in the design and implementation of this.
We can all see the difficulties that we face but we took some solace from the something Dan said, that he had worked in all sectors but that the charity sector is resilient:
“…because people will keep wanting to do good, and they will do their best out there, and they will volunteer, or they’ll work in charities for less money than they can get somewhere else because they’re passionate about it – we will always be there and we will always be doing good.”
This episode is brought to you by our platinum sponsor, fundraising platform Work for Good, who are inviting charities to get in the Christmas spirit by joining the #SmallBusinessStar match funding campaign. This year there is a £50,000 match pot to help charities maximise the impact of sales based festive fundraising. Head to their website workforgood.co.uk to sign-up for free!
We hope you enjoy this week’s episode.
Related episodes that you may be interested in:
E148 - Grant Seekers And Grant Makers With Alex Blake -
E144 - Social Care With Kari Gerstheimer -
E142 - Navigating COVID-19 and Beyond with Sam Butler and Kevin Mounce -