I get concerned when I hear read things like this:
During March 2008, 364 charities were registered. Of these 357 were “main” charities and 7 were subsidiaries. This brings the total of charities registered for 2008 to 1289. (Source Charity Commission)
Currently in the UK alone there are 190, 387 charities on the Register. Ok so 83% of these are raising below 100,000 and of course they are needed but I wonder on the level of the larger charities who are operating in the same space is there not a case for more of these charities to merge, achieve more together.
Look at your Mission
Surely the mission of all our organisations is really to cease to exist. If we are charged with ending poverty in the third world or finding a cure to a certain disease well then should we not look at how we can best achieve that goal. If there is an organisation in the same space as us, would we be more effective if we were to work together? Could we cease to exist if we did this. Ok again being realistic this may not be possible, but wont it show our donors that we truly want to try.
Try and remove the Politicis
Of course each organisation has its own politics and there will be resistance, thats not what we do, or my old favourite…we have never done that before! They arent good enough reasons not to take a more strategic look at your mission and what you are supposed to be doing. We need to step away from our own personal objectives and if we are truly passionate about solving the issue our organisation faces then mergers should always be on the table. Look at your organisation and why it was set up when it was set up? Then ask yourself, if you were to set it up today what would you do?
Test it, form an Alliance
So it’s risky business, of course it is. It wont happen over night and it wont always make sense. So why not test it, form an alliance. Begin working with organisations with similar missions and goals as you have. Form a joint fundraising campaign, try it. Fundraising is fiercely competitive, we dont really like telling each other what we are doing. I recently was told by someone that they were offended when another fundraiser asked them what they had raised so far this year! Why is that a bad thing?
I was encouraged today when I read on Fundraising UK that Help the Aged and Age Concern are starting an extensive consultation process to look at a merger.
Is this the future?