The Zhoosh! Brighton Blog
Recently I completed my University assignment that assessed the strengths and weaknesses of social media use for not-for-profits (NPOs). One of the key reasons for non-profits using social media is to raise vital funds from individuals using social media platforms such as Facebook.
As we’ve seen within our own Brighton & Hove LGBT community, many charities have struggled to keep going with increased competition for grant and statutory funding. ThirdSector estimated that charities will lose £2.8 billion in public funding between 2011 and 2016. I personally think this will be particularly noticeable within the LGBT community – just ask any of your friends who they are running, abseiling, swimming for, or some other fundraising challenge and you’re unlikely to hear it’s for an LGBT organisation.
We’ve already experienced in the last 12 months MindOut’s cashflow crisis whilst they waited on the outcome of grant applications and restructuring away from Mind, thankfully getting a lifeline with Big Lottery Funding. Pride in Brighton & Hove collapsed unable to sustain rising event costs against donations, Sussex Beacon launched an appeal to raise £150,000 to keep its Inpatient Unit open and Switchboard were also on the verge of collapse needing £20,000 for survival. I’m sure there will be others to follow who are currently quietly keeping their fingers crossed for that grant application to be successful.
The Guardian reported that statistics show that for every £1 spent by a charity in online fundraising, £10 is donated by individuals. And while the average offline donation in 2010 was £15, online that jumps to £30. The internet is an incredibly efficient donation tool and social media has a huge role to play in that.
But what particularly caught my interest during research was the following paragraph in a journal article:
‘To survive and thrive in this competitive environment, theorists purpose that NPOs should concentrate on maintaining and developing relationships with existing funders… Selecting a group that provides most value to an NPO is therefore crucial.
Many NPOs rely on donations from both individuals and organisations. While both sources of funding are important, the average value of each organisational funder is often suggested to be higher than that of the individual.’
It made me think about local LGBTQ groups in Brighton & Hove who are doing amazing activities to help fund and support our charities, helping them to secure their positions when as individuals we seem to be choosing non-LGBT charities to support – may be because as individuals we have not had direct experience of the services provided by LGBT charities, and do not know those who have. Whilst we may know of someone who has died of cancer or suffered from a condition that we now want to raise funds for research.
When Switchboard announced their funding crisis, groups such as the Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus were quick to offer money from ticket sales from their Fringe show ‘Guilty Treasures’. Allsorts Youth Project has been supported this year from The Honeybee’s Hockey Team with their theatre production ‘Honeybee’s: The Musical’ and the upcoming show this Friday from Actually Gay Women’s Chorus are donating ticket sales to Brighton Women’s Centre as their chosen charity to support.
Pride has been resurrected through a Brighton LGBT business alliance and a number of groups have nominated a specific chosen charity to raise funds for, such as Brighton Lesbian & Gay Sports Society (BLAGSS) have Switchboard as their nominated charity whilst Sussex Beacon are supported exclusively by the Bear-Patrol Community Group who have raised close to £30,000 for them.
I guess in conclusion, I wanted to draw attention to and applaud the many groups that raise sums of cash that charities could not achieve from asking individuals alone, that help sustain our LGBT charities, often expelling huge amounts of energy voluntarily. I want to encourage local LGBT charities to reach out to groups and focus on strengthening their relationships with them and I want to encourage individuals to remember when they next agree to a fundraising challenge, that LGBT charities will be needing their help more than ever.
*Journal mentioned: Macmillan, K., Money, K., Money, A., Downing, S. (2005) Relationship marketing in the not-for-profit sector: an extension and application of the commitment-trust theory, Journal of Business Research. Vol 58 p806.
** The Guardian article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/voluntary-sector-network/2012/may/24/charities-online-donation