A vote for fundraising!
With the General Election finally upon us, we’ve been looking at the main parties’ manifesto commitments and what that could mean for the charity sector and fundraising. Whoever forms the next Government, some things seem certain; the demand for charities’ services is increasing, and public spending will reduce. So what are the plans that parties have?
The Conservatives have pledged to innovate the delivery of public services through getting the voluntary sector more involved and increasing the proportion of government contracts held by small and medium-sized enterprises to a third. They have also promised to expand the National Citizen Service and make paid volunteering leave (for three days a year) a workplace entitlement for people working in large companies and the public sector.
Labour plan to make government contracts more accessible and promote the use of the Living Wage within them. They promised to encourage young people to take part in volunteering and social action, and they want to give support for charities and social enterprises in creating social value.
The Liberal Democrats have pledged to support social investment for charities and social enterprises, open public procurement to the voluntary sector and encourage the growth of crowd-funding and alternative finance models. They also plan to promote social action and volunteering at school, college and university.
And while these things are hugely important, it was a shame not to see an explicit reference to fundraising in any of the manifestos. Reforming commissioning and accessibility to government contracts, or alternative finance models, may help some charities – but probably the best that the sector can hope for as a whole is a slightly bigger share of a decreasing pot as public spending reduces. The only thing that can deliver the scale of sustainable income to the charity sector, through the next Parliament and beyond, is fundraising.
That’s why we’ll be working with whoever forms the next Government to implement the changes we’ve called for in the IoF’s manifesto for fundraising - ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’ - endorsed by our members last summer, which called on all political parties to create the best environment for fundraising, build the capacity of charities to fundraise and develop the tax system to best encourage giving and support fundraising.
We’ve made encouraging progress, with commitments from the last Government in the 2015 budget to deliver subsidised fundraising training for small charities and increase the maximum donation amount which can be claimed through the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) from £5,000 to £8,000.
But of course we want to do more, and charities are saying the same – the results from our latest Managing in the New Normal research (with PwC and CFG) show that the top priority from charities for the next government is to create the right conditions for the sustainability of the sector.
We’ll be working to open up a pragmatic and sensible debate with the next government on how we can achieve a wider strategic approach to the charity sector and create the right conditions for the sector to grow and raise the income they need to deliver more for their beneficiaries and causes over the years to come.
Stephanie Siddall, Policy Officer, Institute of Fundraising