Many years ago, whilst working for the YMCA, we created a very successful donor recruitment and development campaign. The only trouble was that we didn’t have enough cash to realise it’s full potential.

Rather than just sighing and waiting for the next financial year, my boss at the time, Charles Donington, decided to speak to one of the more forward thinking trusts that regularly supported our work.

The result was a six figure grant to help fund our fledgling direct mail programme, thousands of new donors and, within a relatively short space of time, a level of income that put the original grant into the shade.

It’s always frustrated me that I’ve not seen much evidence of this sort of innovative thinking being repeated.
Picture 32But a recent report from The Social Investment Consultancy shows that such an approach might be more welcome amongst funders than many charities might realise.

Financing Revenue Generation in the Third Sector, investigates attitudes amongst high net worth individuals to funding revenue generating activities.

44% of the 476 people polled said they would be more likely to give to a charity that would use funding for revenue generating activities that would make it financially self-sufficient.

At the YMCA, this approach enabled us to significantly speed up our supporter recruitment programme, but this report suggests than any charity involved in independent revenue generation should consider asking donors to help expand this area of work.

Many entrepreneurs are excited by creative approaches to charitible activities and would welcome working more closely with the third sector. It’s perhaps best summed up by Sir Richard Branson…

“It’s so exciting to see the growing opportunity for charities and donors to work together to create new entrepreneurial approaches to help drive the scale of change we need in the world.”

The full report can be downloaded here.