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Posted by Bob Brown on 01 Jun '12

Tools to help charities survive the recession

Sarah Brown from inspire2aspire has worked with charities facing funding crises since the early 1990s and has developed a set of unique tools to help identify ways that charities can attract more money but chasing money while ignoring values will lead to failure she warns.

inspire2aspire has created its unique Charity Survival Toolkit© to help charities as they face a mix of challenges from declining grant income to pressure to merge or collaborate more. Sarah Brown who heads the charity work in the consultancy recognises this is the most difficult period yet.

As Sarah says “I really worry for charities of all sizes but particularly those in the middle. Reductions from the public sector plus the increase in VAT will squeeze charities in every direction - less funding, higher costs and more demand. I have used my business experience developed in a recession to work with charities since 1991 but I think creativity and new ways of thinking will now be more critical than ever and our “Charity Survival Toolkit©” will add even more value because it is designed to help with the tension between mission and money”

Inspire2aspire uses a process that builds on the resources and mission of an organisation rather than just looking for any opportunities to make money or attract funding. As Sarah explains “experience has shown that any organisation will be more successful if it builds on its strengths rather than chasing apparently good opportunities, which are not particularly related to it and will not motivate its staff. New ideas often fail because they do not fit with the values of the charity – it’s no good taking the attitude we’ll do anything for money!”

The toolkit has had a good response at senior management level and with fundraisers, even one session can really help as Louise Danielczuk, Appeals Manager of Overgate Hospice explained after her session with one tool The Growth Inspirer©

“My session with Sarah was a huge help to me. As fundraisers we all rush around, trying to make sense of where the money has come from in the past, is coming from now and where on earth we will get it from in the future.

Sarah helped me to slow down, take stock, re-assess and look more strategically and creatively at the future which has been a huge help to me.

I would recommend every fundraiser uses Sarah to help them plan for their future and to help them just make sense of things.”

Inspire2aspire can work with charities in a number of ways from strategic workshops with senior staff and trustees to full strategy development projects. Smaller charities or CVS could also organise joint sessions.