Recent focus on negative news stories and the introduction of GDPR is seeing charities having to navigate a complex and challenging landscape. On top of the everyday pressures of raising enough money to support the growing demand for services, charities are faced with changing regulation and funding cuts. For the many good people involved in the Third Sector, it can feel like an attack from all sides.

However, the reality is a real opportunity to transform the sector. Progressive charities can lead the way in improving standards and building more open relationships with supporters.

Through our work with many local and national charities, it’s clear that many are taking a proactive approach by adopting more business-like practices, improving governance and ensuring greater transparency.

So what measures can charities put in place to ensure they are adapting effectively?

Operating more like a business can help charities to thrive. From having an effective business plan and robust governance in place, to proactively managing cashflow, there are processes which can improve the overall management of the charity, and help to spot any warning signs early so that action can be taken if required.

As well as keeping up to date with the latest codes of practice, it’s important to share your commitment to those standards with your supporters, to build confidence and trust. Although voluntary for some charities, registering with the new Fundraising Regulator shows support for improvement of the sector as a whole and demonstrates a progressive approach.  It is increasingly likely that donors, including individuals, corporate and government funders, will check that charities are compliant before making funding decisions in the future.

Having a formal, up-to-date, gift acceptance policy in place helps to manage risks associated with accepting or rejecting certain donations, and may mitigate against a situation such as seen with the Presidents Club Dinner. It also gives clarity about your charity’s values and can show a commitment to ethical fundraising.

Diversifying and focusing on long terms income streams

Diversifying income streams is even more important with cutbacks to traditional funding sources. Exploring new opportunities, such as collaborating with other organisations, may help open new doors but traditional methods managed well could be the key.

The growth of digital technology has had a major influence on how people raise and give money to good causes. Exploring new innovations will enable charities to embrace the opportunities that technology can offer, both in working more efficiently and expanding fundraising opportunities.

Lotteries bring more than you might think

Lotteries are designed to support charities with many raising thousands of pounds per week. Prize Provision Services is licensed as an External Lottery Manager with the Gambling Commission and exists to support charities in Great Britain who want to raise funds from a lottery but lack the internal management resource. The company administers The Weather Lottery and Sports Club Lottery which helps hundreds of societies succeed.

Teaming up with PPS offers societies of all sizes a real opportunity to focus on raising money with the daily administration taken care of. And it’s not just funds which a lottery brings. Lotteries reach a new demographic of supporters who often aren’t captured anywhere else and with GDPR swinging into action, registering new people in a compliant manner is definitely a benefit which many may have missed.