Small Charity Week is a key annual event for any small UK charity. Run by the FSI, the event celebrates small charities. The week includes advice, awards, engaging with policymakers and fundraising opportunities.
A Small Charity Definition
There are different definitions of what it is to be a small charity. Yet, those wishing to take part in Small Charities Week need to have an income of less than £1.5m. This is because the FSI categorise small charity organisations as having this level of income.
How Can Charities and Non-Profits Utilise Small Charity Week?
There are many ways you can make the most of Small Charity Week. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Use the week to get noticed. Local charities can use it to get coverage in the local press. By taking part, the press has a reason to run articles highlighting your organisation. Notify your local newspaper that you are taking part. Explain what you want them to inform the public about. Raise awareness of your latest campaign. Bring to light an issue you are tackling. Small Charities Week is a great opportunity to stand out from other worthy charities.
- Influence Policy. The event often includes an opportunity to engage with authorities and policymakers. Get involved to have your say about key issues.
- Get Ideas. From fundraising ideas to charity advertising ideas, the event can provide inspiration. Network with other organisations to find out how they tackle issues. Use this to help improve your organisation.
- Get Advice. The FSI run a “Big Advice Day” during the week. It provides access to experts for free, with tailored support. Yet, you could also use the week as a springboard to finding other advice. If you have another organisation you wish to speak to, consider contacting them. Let them know it is Small Charity Week and how they could make a difference to you. This could give you a way into gaining their help.
- Fundraise. The event has opportunities to raise money for your charity. Take part as well as run your own fundraising campaigns.
There are other annual charity events your non-profit or charity can utilise. Remember a Charity Week and National Volunteers Week are both good for English charities to focus on.
Why is it Important to Recognise Small Charities
Small Charities Week focuses on the importance of small charities. But why are they so important? Here are some key reasons they deserve recognition:
- They do important work others cannot. Small charities can reach the hard to reach. This is because they are able to tailor their efforts to the needs of individuals. Larger charities often need to adopt broader approaches due to their size.
- Small local charities understand their community in-depth because they are local. This knowledge can enable them to work with the isolated and vulnerable. They can build bridges between services and the community.
- Small charities often do not get recognised by mainstream media. This is because the scale of the work they do can go unnoticed. They are thus at a disadvantage when it comes to their charity marketing strategy. Small charity marketing is a different beast to that of larger charities. It cannot match their budgets or scale. When thinking about which charity to support, many pick the most popular charities. This is because they are better known and have a larger media presence.
- Being small means that they often operate with less support. Charity management can be harder for small charities as they have less staff. Less staff means less resources to undertake work. Without a large profile, it can be hard to find the support they need.
- Yet, being small allows them to devote all their focus to a particular cause. They can build tailored responses to a problem in a way that larger organisations cannot. Small charities can sometimes be the most efficient charities. This is because their spending tends to be far more focussed. This enables them to have an impact with less cost.
- Being so tightly focussed enables small charities to gain specialist knowledge. They can adapt and innovate. Small organisations can be the most effective charities at tackling complex needs. They are able to try new approaches. This also makes them some of the most interesting charities types of non-profits I work with.
Yet, despite their importance, small charities are being hit hard by lack of funding. This is for many reasons, including:
- Research shows funding for small charities is far less than for large ones. The Charity Commission published a report giving facts about charities in the UK. This showed that 1.3% of charities, who were larger, received 72.2% of all the charity income raised.
- The Government’s policy seems to prefer larger charities. NCVO’s report “Navigating Change” looked at income changes to charities 2008/9 to 2012/13. It found that “the smaller the organisation, the greater the proportional loss of income from government”.
- Grants for small charities are increasingly hard to come by. In May 2018, the Small Charities Coalition responded to the Civil Society Strategy. It found that the Government’s shift to large tenders excluded small charities. It explained that the scope, scale and systems in place for these blocked them.
- There is increasing demand for small charities. Lloyd’s Bank Foundation found 88% of small charities are experiencing increasing demand. More people, with more complex needs, are now requiring help. This could be due to Government cutbacks and changes in policy. The Independent reported that emergency meals from food banks had increased by 13% in 2017/18. This appeared to be due to cuts and benefits sanctions. Yet, there is no increased funding to support small charities.
Small charities are best placed to serve many good causes. Yet, with increasing demand and less funding, they are struggling. Events, such as Small Charities Week, raise awareness of the issues faced. They give support to and lobby for small charities. This is important in helping them survive in today’s climate.
Are you a small charity? Would you like some advice on how to make the most of Small Charities Week for your marketing? I can help. Please get in touch for your free consultation.