Freedom from Torture reduced £1m fundraising shortfall through innovation

08 Sep 2020 News

Sam Afhim, director of fundraising and communications at Freedom from Torture

Freedom from Torture was set to see its net fundraising income fall by more than £1m this year, but has significantly reduced the shortfall by innovating its fundraising.

In an interview with Civil Society Media's Fundraising Magazine, Sam Afhim, director of fundraising and communications at Freedom from Torture, said the charity’s fundraising has been hit quite hard by the pandemic, especially when it comes to legacies. 

However, the charity made up for a significant part of the lost funds by promoting its emergency appeal, pivoting activities towards digital and saving on costs. Afhim said he expects the final reduction in net fundraising income to be around £340,000.

He said: "Across the board, we expected to be down more than £1m, but this has been offset by opening new channels and new types of fundraising. We have tried to see this as an opportunity as much as possible." 

Freedom from Torture had a total gross income of £9.5m in 2018, some £8.3m of which came from donations and legacies.

Afhim talked about how he planned the charity’s coronavirus campaign, which raised around £600,000, by both telling the stories of torture survivors and being honest about the situation the charity was facing.

He also discussed the need for more diversity in fundraising and in the wider charity sector.

"We have a real problem with diversity. There are not enough people of colour, or even people from different socio-economic backgrounds, working in the charity sector, and that makes us a monoculture.

"I don’t think that a monoculture is the best place for innovation. It’s also not fair," he said.

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