Financially sustainable donation portals & other weekly stories
The story of the week
Looks like there are two occasions each year when many of us start thinking big. New Year´s Eve (oh those wonderful resolutions!)… and summertime. Sun is bright, energy is flowing and everything seems possible.
In past month, already two unrelated persons have contacted me, asking for pro bono consultancy concerning establishing a new online donation environment to help children / families in need. Both persons have been high on motivation… and low on experience / research in the field.
In 2008-2013, I helped to kick off and maintain Swedbank online donation environment, the first of its kind in the Baltic States. It is still going strong. In those years, I´ve seen a number of fancy launches and… deaths / comas of quite some other donation portals. There have also been remarkable success stories. Thus I was able to give following advice to those two enthusiastic persons.
Get to know your target group whom you would like to help. Do they actually need money… or there are better ways to empower them? Should they be helped directly… or does it make more sense to support the sustainability of organisations who work directly with the target group?
Find a solution for financial sustainability and test it out. Most of donation environments are started as voluntary initiatives. Unfortunately, such initiatives do not last. They just do not (and the probability of being the exception that proves the rule is just too low to count on). Currently, there seem to be at least three good practices out there.
- TIP 1. A certain percentage of donations is collected for covering the overheads of the organisation that runs the donation environment.
- TIP 2. A large private company is running the donation environment as a long-term commitment in the frame of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy.
- TIP 3. The donation environment is integrated as one of the marketing tools into activities of a large charity / social enterprise that has enough of resources to run it.
Advocacy activities of changemakers are notoriously difficult to finance
One of the reasons: such activities are not attractive for individual donors to support
Well, the social economic alliance is proving that collecting money for strategic advocacy can be possible after all!
Some good examples how joint efforts help to scale social enterprises and their impact
Burn-out is the most common occupational illness of changemakers
The first step of preventing it is to recognize the threat
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