Starting positive

Photo by Edu Lauton on Unsplash

The charity sector can feel a bit gloomy at times. Shrinking budgets and ever more competition for funding, tighter regulations, and more time spent reporting than doing.

And yet what draws many people (including me) to the sector in the first place is an optimistic streak, a belief in human power to change things for the better.

So it was refreshing to look on the brighter side again for a recent article — and nope, it wasn’t too difficult to come up with five reasons charities can be cheerful this year.

What’s the good news, then? In brief: people still want to donate (Brits gave nearly £10 billion to charity in 2016); innovations in technology are opening up new ways to fundraise; public trust in charities — badly damaged after some high-profile cases of mismanagement and poor ethics — seems to be returning; and citizens are more politically active and socially conscious than ever. The final point we make in the article, that charities and social enterprises are needed more than ever (one study finds that 80% of people in the UK have used a charitable service in the past year) is arguably not completely positive. After all, charities may be in demand because of reduced government support (Populus reports a big increase in the number of single parents regularly using charities, for example), or because problems like homelessness or mental health are in some areas getting worse.

But the creative, practical responses organisations are bringing, and the backing they get from communities around them, suggests there’s still plenty of positive stuff to focus on. Two sides to every story, as nfpSynergy blogger Joe Saxton makes clear in his two-part piece looking at the future of fundraising (‘Is fundraising f**ked?‘ and ‘The future for fundraising is rich with opportunity‘). Let’s make sure we’re not ignoring part two.

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