Charities across the board have had to furlough staff, but with the end of the furlough scheme coming up in just a few short weeks, many charities will have to make the tough call whether or not to keep their talented fundraisers on the payroll.
At present, the government has been paying 60%, with employers paying 20% of staff wages. However, charity news platform Civil Society has estimated that around 24,000 staff members are on furlough at the UK’s largest 20 charities alone, shining a light on just how tough the past seven months has been on the sector.
Many charities have reported that the lack of fundraising events has been a real contributing factor to their current situation, research from DONATE™ shows that half of the charities surveyed predict a loss of income of over 50%. Small charities and charitable venues are also being hit particularly hard by the financial impact of the pandemic.
These various situations are leading many skilled fundraisers to take their talent elsewhere, and for many, to consider freelancing. Freelancing as a fundraiser presents many opportunities provided you are clear on what you are offering. Freelancing could be a whole new you; providing you with the choice of what to work on, working on projects you are passionate about and seeing real improvements from your advice and input. To be successful consider the following tips and advice.
1.Be clear about your offer – are you offering specialist skills, such as digital fundraising, social media, legacy fundraising or will you be a generalist. What is your USP (unique selling point)?
2.Whilst freelancing gives you the flexibility to work on your own schedule, make sure you are up to speed on online productivity tools. Look at time management tools (eg Toggl), diary management (eg Calendly); accounting systems (eg Xero) and project management tools such as Jira, Slack and others.
3.Digital fundraising platforms, such as DONATE™, are a fantastic tool in your armoury. 83% of charities said that their fundraising strategy had changed and that 85% said that the growth in digital fundraising is here to stay. Therefore understanding how digital fundraising works, what the benefits are and how it can provide real time statistics to demonstrate ROI will be a huge asset to you. Get to grips with the new technologies available and learn the new language of digital fundraising. There are many resources to help with this, including our blog and The Fundraiser.
4.Consider spreading your experience across multiple charities to ensure you keep your diary full. This will also help you show smaller charities how valuable digital fundraising can be. Be clear with what you are offering and to whom and in turn you will be able to demonstrate your value in the results you deliver, whether its corporate fundraising, legacy fundraising or digital fundraising.
5. Suggest to your freelance clients that a part-commission payment might be a good way to balance costs. This means you are able to increase your hourly rate through commission on the amount you have raised. Typically this is how sales people are remunerated, however in this new world we need to think creatively about the more traditional salary packages.
Above all remember to try and stay positive and know that you are not alone in your new position. The Covid crisis has caused a huge amount of financial pressure on businesses and, in particular, charities. However there are many tools available to help charities get back on their feet, using digital and text fundraising methods, so it makes sense to get ahead of the game and become fluent in the options.
National Funding Scheme, Donate