A global pandemic…what next for the charity sector?

May 19, 2022
John Baguley

As lockdown lifts, IFCo Chair and Founder, John Baguley gives his thoughts on what the charity sector can expect next…

Well, here in the UK, fundraisers have shown they are not immune to rather immoral practice, a lack of diversity and sexual shenanigans.  However, the Chartered Institute of Fundraising has also shown it can rise to the occasion, get to the heart of the matter and begin to address the problems which, whilst not perfect, is a helluva lot better than our government's.

Let us hope that post-lockdown we can move forward with a lot less of all that, though I am too pessimistic to hope for a complete cessation and human nature does tend towards backsliding as soon as opportunity presents itself.

Where the sector is heading

Looking at other current trends that we will all need to keep up with, I would select three:

  1. If you listen carefully, there is a huge sucking sound as the very wealthy continue to hoover up ever more obscene amounts of money from our pockets. Our duty now lies in making Robin Hood proud of us – need I say more?
  2. Online fundraising: bringing crowds together, gamification, Tik Tok its all such fun for our supporters on their various journeys - isn’t it? Perhaps if your answer is no you are in the wrong game, and even if you retreat back into say, events post-lockdown, there will always be an internet enhancement or three available to your fundraising to help you maximise income.
  3. Borders are dissolving, which is great as I never learnt to love flags, passports or checkpoints anyway, though I have been through a fair few in my time. The point here being that it is ever easier for fundraising to cross borders and reach right round the globe to give people unique opportunities to help those they care about.

Adapting in changing times

So to the charity sector itself, and the same things apply almost right down the line. Adaptability in these rapidly changing conditions is the watchword which will continue to see us survive. Safeguarding, not just via policy, but practicality in facing up to issues. On President Obama's desk was a sign which read, ‘Hard Things Are Hard’ and he had to face up to quite a few as we too must now. One of these hard things is the proliferating choice of social media platforms and ways of delivering our messages and services on the internet.

Whilst it is important to check the cutting edge it is rarely important to dive into everything going and usually better to select a variety of mechanisms that you know well, your supporters and  / or beneficiaries learn to appreciate and which serve the organisations purposes best. Building a secure base first then moving into new areas when we are ready is becoming an essential part of our skill set in the 2020s.

Remember these words of wisdom

Lastly, let’s remember the famous quote in Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s The Leopard: ‘Everything must change so that everything can remain the same’.  We all remain human and the fundamentals still apply for fundraising, service to our beneficiaries and life itself.      

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