Charities in crisis as fundraising fails
Donations are dropping as the recession hits people's generosity. But you can give without breaking the bank.
Saturday 01 August 2009
Barby Keel's Animal Sanctuary has experienced the best and worst of human nature over the past few weeks. While volunteers were working flat out to prepare the 12-acre site in Sidley, East Sussex, for its annual open day next Sunday, thieves stole raffle prizes and hundreds of pounds in donations from its town centre shop.
The robbery came as a savage blow to the charity, which is already struggling in the downturn to find the £6,000-a-month needed to look after its collection of 600 animals, including cats, pigs, chickens, birds, dogs and horses.
Barby, 73, who set up the sanctuary in 1971 while she was living in a caravan, said the break-in was an aggravation they could have done without considering the amount of effort required to get everything ready for the biggest fundraiser in its calendar.
"A couple of years ago we'd have cheques arriving through the post every day, but that's no longer the case," she said. "We are still well-supported, but it's becoming extremely difficult to get donations these days."
The sanctuary, which cares for unwanted, hungry, abandoned or neglected animals, has established a website (www.barby-keel-animal-sanctuary.btik.com) to raise awareness of its work, and to attract more volunteers and donations.
It will look after many of them for the rest of their lives, meaning it shoulders a particularly heavy burden as far as veterinary fees are concerned. A constant stream of volunteers is also needed to help care for the residents and maintain the grounds.
Its innovative fundraising ideas include offering people the chance to sponsor one of the animals, and providing a free minibus to ferry visitors from nearby towns when it opens its doors to the public on Sunday afternoons from April to October.
But the charity still relies heavily on the success of its open day, which attracts more than 2,000 visitors and features a huge range of stalls and traditional games, as well as an opportunity to meet the animals.
"Our goal is to raise enough money to survive," added Barby. "We have taken in a lot of animals from sanctuaries that have closed down, or have not been able to cope with them, and our aim is simply to attract enough donations to keep going."
The experiences of Barby Keel are not unique. More than half of all causes have been affected by the economic downturn according to figures published earlier this year by the Charity Commission, with a third being forced to dip into reserves, reduce staff or increase fundraising.
"What makes the current climate even more challenging for many charities is that these factors are combined with increases in both costs, as well as a demand for the charity's services but a decrease in income," said a Charity Commission spokesman.
The prospects don't look good either. A depressing 80 per cent expect their income to remain flat or decline, according to a study by the Charity Finance Directors' Group, the Institute of Fundraising and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The impact of the recession is particularly devastating for smaller organisations with limited financial resources, says Patrick Cox, chief executive of the Small Charities Coalition.
"It is incredibly tough out there and we lose 5,000 charities every single year," he said. "We're all fighting for the same pound, but if you have a big fundraising budget and a big marketing budget then you're going to attract more donors."
The problems afflicting the 164,000 small charities in the UK were the reason why the coalition (www.smallcharities.org.uk) was established: to bring small and large organisations together to increase resources, and improve both knowledge and skills.
"There's so much talent and resource in the charity sector that I want it released to help everyone else," said Cox. "We've signed up the likes of Cancer Research UK and Oxfam who allow their workers time off to volunteer for smaller charities."
The expertise they can bring is vital. Whether it's planning a major fundraising event or getting publicity for a particular campaign, the insight provided by an established, major charity can make the difference between success and failure.
There are plenty of ways charities can help themselves, such as developing strategies to manage in the current climate and plan for the future, points out Louise Richards, director of policy and campaigns at the Institute of Fundraising.
"It's all about ensuring charities establish long-lasting relationships with their supporters and engage their donors in what they're doing," she said. "They also need to look at diverse fundraising streams and not be reliant on one source of funding."
Showing people how their donation will be used – and the effect it will have on the lives of those being helped – will illustrate the importance of the charity's work and make the donor feel a crucial part of its future.
Building partnerships with local businesses, working with fellow charities to win corporate support, and coming up with innovative fundraising ideas are other ways they can help to overcome the current downturn.
"At the same time as a number of charities are seeing their incomes fall, the demand for services such as health and housing is on the up," she added. "It's really important to convey how important the money is to keep those essential services going which charities provide and which the Government either can't or won't provide."
So how can you get involved?
Many people decide to give a one-off donation, but if you go down this route – and you're a taxpayer – make sure it benefits from Gift Aid. This is a tax break that increases the value of your donation at no extra cost to you. All it takes is a few minutes to complete and sign a declaration form.
A combination of being able to reclaim tax on the gross equivalent of the donation and the Government giving extra cash (until 5 April 2011) to make up for the recent fall in basic rate tax means every £1 donated will be worth £1.28 to the charity.
Payroll Giving is a flexible scheme that enables donors to make charitable donations straight from their gross salary (before tax has been deducted). Therefore, for a basic rate taxpayer wanting to give a £10.00 donation, it will only cost £8.00, or just £6.00 for higher rate taxpayers. It works by an employee asking their payroll department to deduct regular charitable donations from gross pay before tax. The company then passes that money to their chosen Payroll Giving agency, who sends off the donations to the nominated charities.
Opening up a charity account
You may want to consider opening a Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) Charity Account if you want to regularly give money to a variety of causes. This works in the same way as a normal current account, but only holds funds you have put aside for this purpose. As CAF is a registered charity it reclaims the basic rate tax on all the money you put into your account and adds it to your balance – less a fee to cover its costs – so you won't have to sign separate Gift Aid declarations.
Websites such as Justgiving.com provide links to numerous of good causes to which you can donate. Even auction sites such as eBay enable you to donate a percentage from the sale of goods to the charity of your choice. Gift Aid can also be added to the equation, while eBay fees will be re-credited, depending on the level of donation. More recently, a number of charities have even opened their own online shops.
Donate to a local charity shop
Visit the Association of Charity Shops' website – (www.charityshops.org.uk) to find those near you. Virtually anything can be donated – as long as it's not broken – but taking it in yourself means the charity won't have to pay for its collection.
Leaving money in your will
A legacy allows people to leave something behind for a good cause. Free of inheritance tax, it can either be a gift of money or other assets. There are two main types of legacy: pecuniary and residuary. Pecuniary legacies specify a sum of money or item of value to be donated, while a residuary legacy allows someone to donate a percentage of the net value of their estate or the sum remaining after you have provided for family and friends.
Plastic fantastic: Easier giving boosts donations
It's not all doom and gloom for charities and, despite the impact of the credit crunch, making it easier to donate has encouraged some people to flash the plastic for good causes, even in difficult economic circumstances.
Donations to charitable organisations made on plastic cards hit £1.19bn in 2008 – up 18 per cent on the £1.01bn given in 2007, according to research published by The UK Cards Association.
Sandra Quinn, the association's spokeswoman, said the recent trend of charities offering donors additional ways to pay – particularly with cards, and online – had helped to boost the figures.
"All of them make donating extremely easy, and unquestionably that plays a part in the increase in charity spending on plastic cards," she added.
Hooray, you're going to live longer! But what should you do to celebrate?
Debt in Britain: Numbers seeking help on how to cope with mounting bills goes up by more than half in three years
Bargain Hunter: BT improves its mobile reception with 'incredibly competitive' deals
Questions of Cash: Why was my case ignored by My Civil Service Pension?
Offset your mortgage and save thousands
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 4 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...
£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...
Day In a Page
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms
A two-bedroom detached house with ensuite bathrooms and a sun-drenched decked terrace, £750,000
A modern and spacious two-bedroom, penthouse flat with two bathrooms in a prestigious development
A beautifully renovated five-bedroom terrace with three reception rooms and a courtyard garden, £700,000
A four-bedroom period house which has been extended to provide almost 2,500sq ft of living space, £675,000
A pretty three-bedroom Georgian home with a 22ft drawing room and a master suite with a balcony, £525,000
A substanstial family home with five bedrooms and landscaped gardens in the much sought-after Branksome Park area
A well-presented three-bedroom house with front and rear gardens, close to White City station, £475,000
A handsome five-bedroom house in a sought-after location close to the city centre
A five-bedroom country home with valley views, equestrian stables and 27 acres of land, £725,000
A six-bedroom farm house with separate, detached cottages and 371 acres of land
A two-bedroom cottage with parquet floors, chunky beams and an open fireplace
A three-bedrrom flat with 2,733sq feet of living space, a beautiful private garden and 15 acres of communal grounds
A four-bedroom chalet bungalow with three bathrooms and a spacious garden, £525,000
A two-bedroom flat with an open plan kitchen and two balconies, close to Arsenal station