Share

Marketing focused on low overheads is counter-productive, says Dame Suzi

Dame Suzi Leather , Charity Commission chair delivers speech at breakfast briefing
News

Marketing focused on low overheads is counter-productive, says Dame Suzi1

Fundraising | Niki May Young | 25 Jan 2012

Dame Suzi Leather has urged charities not to run marketing campaigns that focus on minimal overheads and says it is charities’ collective responsibility to educate donors on the necessity of running costs.

Speaking to an audience of UK charity leaders at a breakfast briefing held by Russam GMS last week, the Charity Commission chair said many donors don’t understand the true investment needs of charities, such as the need for back-office as well as front-line investment, and that it was the sector’s role to “put them straight”.

Marketing messages that “trumpet low or minimal overheads” can be “counter-productive”, she said. While donors often demand quick wins and an immediate return on investment, ‘slow charity’, or long-term investment, should be promoted, she said.

Ian Joseph, managing director of charities and not-for-profit at Russam GMS, said the concept of ‘slow charity’ represents a "paradigm shift in the way most donors think about investment".

Speaking to civilsociety.co.uk he added that charitable foundations and other funders are often keen to see impact at an early stage, but advised that impact measurement should be implemented at both short and long-term.

“Funders should ask the question 'where do we want to be in ten years time?',” he said, adding that longer-term investments may need greater infrastructure, such as IT systems, to implement an effective long-term strategy. “It’s quite difficult to get people to invest in such things,” he said. “The question is, how do you change people’s views on giving?”

Dame Suzi pointed to the Commission’s latest investment guidance, published in October 2011, which outlines good practice for investment by charities, asserting that it is acceptable for charities to invest their assets both to achieve objectives and to gain financial return. She also highlighted the benefits of charity-to-charity social investment and a need for charities to work closer with the corporate sector for both investment and goods-in-kind.

Last year Oxfam ran two marketing campaigns that highlighted the fact that its administrative costs were covered by PayPal. The '100 per cent giving' campaigns ran in both February and September, effectively as a match-funding scheme where 19p on each £1 of individuals' donations - the amount Oxfam determines is spent on running costs - was paid by PayPal. The campaigns aimed to assure donors that every penny of their donations would go straight to 'the cause'. 

 

G
Cap Builder Survival Officer
LCVS Bah United Way
25 Jan 2012

Hear hear

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

Peer calls on government to give 5 per cent of Northern Rock Asset Management sale to charity

1 Apr 2015

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Shipley has called on the government to donate 5 per cent of the profit of...

Top charities take an average of just over 7 months to file accounts with the Charity Commission

1 Apr 2015

The average amount of time it takes the top 100 largest charities in the UK file their accounts with the...

Museum of London announces plan to relocate to Smithfield General Market

31 Mar 2015

The Museum of London has revealed plans to relocate to Smithfield General Market from its current home...

Homelessness charity unveils fundraising app that helps the charity locate rough sleepers

31 Mar 2015

A London-based homelessness charity has launched an app that uses geolocation technology to let people...

Charity Tax Group calls for further postponement of 20 per cent tax on direct mail fundraising

31 Mar 2015

The Charity Tax Group and the Direct Marketing Association have jointly called on the government to again...

Save the Children and RB launch programme to reduce child deaths from diarrhoea

30 Mar 2015

Save the Children and health and hygiene company RB have launched a programme as part of their ongoing...

Homelessness charity unveils fundraising app that helps the charity locate rough sleepers

31 Mar 2015

A London-based homelessness charity has launched an app that uses geolocation technology to let people...

Social media 'slacktivism' encourages people to donate, finds JustGiving report

18 Mar 2015

People who share a fundraising page on social media are four times more likely to donate than those who...

Samaritans closes Twitter monitoring app permanently

11 Mar 2015

Samaritans has confirmed that it has permanently closed its app that was designed to monitor people’s...

Join the discussion

Twitter
 
Training

Attending our one day courses is a highly effective way of ensuring new and existing trustees fully understand their role, responsibilities and liabilities.

>> Find out more <<