Happy New Year? The 2013 charity hangover…

hangoverWe getting closer to that most fabled of Scottish festivals, Hogmanay.

New Year’s Eve.

A night of celebration, reflection, and anticipation.

But this New Year might not be quite as happy for charities as we would like.  A recent survey for the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), out this week, discovered some difficult truths as 2013 approaches.  Among the findings:

  • one in six charities fear closure in the 2013;
  • nearly half of charities may need to dip into reserves;
  • one in three fear being forced to cut services or jobs;
  • nine out of 10 believe raising funding will be the greatest challenge;
  • nearly half believe their charity may have to scale back its work.

Sobering reading.

But what can your charity do to prepare for another challenging year?

Firstly, make sure that you know your financial position clearly.

Review your management accounts, and check whether there are any downward trends in individual giving, any trust funding that might not be renewed, any major donor relationships that may be cooling.

Consider what are the main risks for the year ahead and think about what you can do to counteract them. Have a look at my recent article on Banking Help for Charities as a useful starting point.

Forewarned is forearmed, as the cliché goes.

Secondly, make sure that you have fundraising calendar in place for 2013. Think about how to get the balance between maximizing the opportunities to fundraise without risking donor fatigue.

Consider whether your fundraising activities are as varied as they could be.  Visit the Institute of Fundraising for some ideas and guidance, or think about ways to engage your online donors.

Thirdly, hope for the best but plan for the worst. Make sure you have a positive, stretching budget to help deal with any successful fundraising, but don’t forget to also have austerity options.  How would your charity cope with a 20% fall in income?  Or 30%?

The more you plan at this stage, the better you will be prepared to deal with the coming year, whatever it brings.

So remember to enjoy your Hogmanay, but watch out for the nasty 2013 hangover round the corner.

A little planning can save a lot of grief…


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