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Collective fundraising: a charity leader’s case study

Jessie Joe Jacobs

I am Jessie Joe Jacobs the Director of Northern Inclusion Consortium.

I joined the consortium in 2018 to help shape its future and navigate towards a collective vision around how we can work together for the good of our service users.  We have only just begun to imagine the possibilities of what we can do together, but one area we have investigated is in collective fundraising.

What does it really mean?

We all know, fundraising and fundraisers cost money. It can be a big risk but we also know that there can be big returns — when done well and right. 

Interestingly, there are some very successful fundraising examples which focus on raising funds for multiple projects. The two biggest fundraising days of the year are Children In Need and Comic Relief. This is a collective campaign raising funds for hundreds of charities.

So, I present an idea. Should charities be thinking more about how they come together and pool fundraising efforts for one big day, one big event, or even one collective campaign, like a local Children In Need or Comic Relief?

Businesses and people often feel torn between various charities and it is usually the most vocal and most experienced fundraising teams that cut through.  But, imagine this. If a collective campaign – say for children in Teesside, Luton, or Yorkshire made up of three or four young people’s charities – approached businesses, it would be much harder to turn down. Their offer would include supporting higher numbers, covering a greater area, and fundamentally, making a bigger impact. It would also allow a business to increase their CSR (corporate social responsibility) offer to more charities with the same effort. This can only be a benefit to them.

Imagine the marketing budgets you would save on, the cost of event management, the PR… Yes, the returns would be shared but the risks and costs are shared too.

A good example of this is Child Concern Consortium, a group of three children’s charities – Action for Sick Children, The Fostering Network and Working Families – which have been raising funds together for more than 20 years.  Each member charity work in a different way to help vulnerable children but they collectively raise funds raising thousands together every year.

There are three clear, simple positives in this approach:

  • Shared learning and support
  • Increased brand reach with three organisations and their networks pushing the core brand
  • Increased funding for each individual organisation

It’s probably quite daunting to jump right into starting a consortium in your area, but why not reach out to organisations around you an collaborate on one event or campaign? Test this model and see if you could be stronger through a collective approach.

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