Written by Jean Roberts-Jones, Chief Executive, One Community
Knowing where you are going is a fundamental requirement of running a charity, but sometimes as well as stopping along the way to smell the roses, you need to be prepared to make a detour to bring in more passengers; to enable more people to get to the destination.
I’ll explain why I raise this. This week I sat in on a presentation by 4 great students from the University of Southampton, Joe Massey, Tom Webb, Dominic Speight and Joe Smith. They had been tasked to work with One Community over 12 weeks as part of a Student Consultancy Programme. We asked the team to look at sustainable ways to help raise funds for our Young Carers Project.
After our team and the students met they agreed to focus on two specific areas; social media and legacy funding. They began by understanding what the aims of the project were, and then arranged meetings to speak to local businesses and the local library, to gauge local option.
Interestingly our team have already been working to put some of the digital marketing elements into practice; so we felt proud that we are on the right track. What was particularly useful about the session was having an outsider’s perspective on the work we do. We are all so close to it in house, and so passionate about the project, that it was extremely interesting to get a fresh outlook. I think this should be something all organisations consider.
The journey got us to a good place. Yet as Chief Executive I was particularly interested in the legacy funding aspect of their work, which could open up new opportunities for the whole organisation. One Community has been operating for nearly 40 years and hopefully will continue for many more. As with all charities we need to continually fundraise, and legacy funding could be one of many answers. A simple calculation says that if 10% of all the clients we work with in a year left us just £100, we would, over the next 20 to 30 years, raise over £450k.
It was exciting to work with enthusiastic young people who challenge us to think outside the box. It was reassuring that young people we were interested in what we do, and to know we are on the right track. I have lots of ideas now about how to raise such a sensitive issue. At the moment however, people can look on our website for how to make a donation, but we will be working on expanding the ways this can be done.
Their research produced various ideas on changes we could make to our website, and how we work. Many of the ideas came from looking at other successful charity business models, and looked at how we could be more active digitally to promote our services and also raise funds. It is clear that in this day and age, all organisations need to look to expand into the unknown (for my generation anyway!) world of online. To infinity…. and beyond!