Louise Wilce - Marketing Communications Manager

Now is ‘do or die’ for charities

Ok, that might sound dramatic, but that is the message for charities landed by Paul Amadi, Chief Supporting Officer at The British Red Cross in his opening keynote at Fundraising Live 2019 in February.

Paul was referring to the fact that fundraising is evolving at a pace it hasn’t before. As a result, millennials will soon overtake the age 50+ demographic as the largest fundraising channel for charities. So charities must find new ways of engaging with the younger generation, rather than having a purely transactional relationship.

By engaging people at a younger time in their lives, charities can avoid the perils that the future may bring, and seize market share by disrupting.

I agree with this of course. But I also believe that charities should be careful not to confuse channel of engagement with the channel of transaction. There’s lots of noise about charities ‘embracing digital’ via storytelling and social media. Yes, this is important for relationship building and their brand, but if we are talking about charitable income, then we need to go deeper.

We know that in a future where there will be less jobs, more people without a purpose, an ageing population dependent on services (which may have had cuts to funding), the requirement for charities to engage younger people in, for example, a career in fundraising or volunteering, is more important than ever. This future is what we call the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

By engaging people at a younger time in their lives, charities can avoid the perils that the future may bring. They can seize market share by disrupting:

  • Through volunteering, provide purpose and deliver a positive impact on citizen health and UK GDP
  • Better demonstrate their impact by utilising the advance of technology

My personal objective for the last few months has been to get under the skin of the charity sector. I’m really loving it. I am keen to understand the common issues and challenges, including the themes of:

  • “Digital transformation” (that term needs a sledgehammer!)
  • The barrier of influencing the Board of Trustees to…
  • …gain investment into ‘risky’ projects

The charity sector needs to be fit for the future in order to support humankind.

At Novacroft, we are creating a task force for change, so that charities can be not only disruptive, but sustainable in a world where the future is uncertain.

On 22 March, Novacroft CEO and Founder Debra Charles got charity leaders and trustees together to talk about what needs to be done. The focus was addressing themes outlined above and creating an action plan. If you would like to find out and be a part of the movement in the future, visit and register your interest at https://charity.novacroft.com/forum

Further reading:

The Future of Jobs report, World Economic Forum

The Status of UK Fundraising, Blackbaud

Read Louise’s February 2019 blog: For happy and engaged volunteers 1. Stay young 2. Bring back the fun