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Tristan Blythe: Looking to the future - can brand help charities rebuild after lockdown?

01 Jun 2020 Voices

Despite the government’s shift to encourage those that cannot work from home to return to work, lockdown life remains unchanged for the majority of people.

For the charity sector specifically, the situation continues to be a worrying one. As we highlight in this edition, there has been some flexibility offered by the government which might help some charities. However, despite this limited help, there has not been the much-hoped-for increase to the government’s financial support package, and there has been criticism over the length of time it is taking to distribute the promised funds to charities.

Although we now know the tentative steps the government wants to take to ease the restrictions, social distancing will remain with us for some considerable time. The sector is resilient, but once lockdown can finally come to an end, many charities will find themselves in a financially vulnerable situation, if indeed they have survived.

It seems likely that the sector will look very different and need to think differently in the so-called “new normal”. It may seem too early to start considering that, but the earlier we start to do so the better.

Charities that have a loyal supporter base or a high profile will perhaps find it easiest to recover. So, it is timely that in this edition we also look at brand value.

This may seem to some readers as something more linked to marketing than finance. It may seem more nebulous than the hard facts that go into accounts. However, a strong brand is one element that can help to build strong finances.

Even on a local level, small charities can have a strong brand in their community. On a national level, many of the biggest charities are held in high regard. But this doesn’t happen by accident. A unified message and strategy, both of which are crucial elements of a brand, need to be designed and implemented. All of senior management need to have a say in this process. The whole organisation then needs to recognise and support this.

Of course, this is a simplification of the process and even that is easier said than done, but it something that is worth spending time considering and revisiting to ensure it remains up relevant and up-to-date.

The general public can be very generous and supportive of charities and good causes, but if they don’t know of your cause or buy into in your story, then how can they be expected to help?

Tristan Blythe editor, Charity Finance 

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