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How To Grow A Charity

Before you even begin to grow your charity, you need to ask yourself some questions.

For a start, unlike commercial businesses, most charities depend on the goodwill and time of volunteers, with only a handful – if any – paid roles.

One of the most common traps faced by businesses is over trading; where they expand at a speed they can’t keep up with. This can lead to staff shortages and a buckling infrastructure – a case of running before they can walk.

So, it is vital when you are planning a strategy for growth that you stage your expansion – moving on to the next stage only when the first one has been achieved and maintained.

Unlike commercial concerns which have to factor in all sorts of external elements such as stock variety and availability, for example, charities, by their very nature, have two main barriers to growth.

Those are staffing and income – and both rely on goodwill. So, now you’ve identified what you need in order to grow, you need to identify how you will obtain it.

So, how do you grow a non-profit organisation, such as a charity?

Because you are not providing a service in the way a commercial concern – such as a shop, garage or hairdresser might – the most effective form of advertising, word of mouth, does not necessarily apply.

Instead, you will have to be prepared to undertake some pretty pro-active marketing, to persuade volunteers to lend you a hand and to convince donors that yours is a worthy charity in which to invest.

A professional approach is key and you need to get all your ducks in a row before embarking on a growth strategy.

This means deciding on your charity’s name – and keep this simple and clear so it leaves no one in any doubt about what you do.

Take your inspiration from some of the nationally known charities such as Macmillan Cancer Care and British Heart Foundation – you can see from their names what they money they raise is used for.

Then register and create a website – a simple one is all that is needed but ideally configured to accept online donations and one that you are easily able to monitor and update.

Now you need to create your marketing collateral – your leaflets, your business cards, your flyers for door-to-door delivery, branded collecting tins and lanyards for your volunteers so they can easily identify themselves to the wider public.

Smaller not for profit organisations often wonder, how can social media grow a charity? Well, the answer is, very effectively.

Social media enables you to showcase your work through words and pictures and to put out appeals for funds and volunteers.

It enables you to engage with the public in an immediate and informal way and to build relationships not just with them but with other like-minded organisations.

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