Not just about money
With over 200,000 registered charities in our fine country that all vie for a limited amount of funding, these days it is a lot harder to keep heads above water.
When businesses are finding it tough to stay afloat, philanthropic giving and sponsorship are often first off the ranks into the slaughterhouse of austerity.
Many big firms are following the trend of offering their staff volunteer days as a way of keeping morale high and ticking boxes on corporate social responsibility. This rise in volunteerism is absolutely fantastic, but sometimes groups don't realise that it takes a lot of time and resources to manage volunteers, make sure they are safe and that projects run smoothly, putting more pressure on already strained organisations.
I am aware of several organisations that have closed their doors and shut down because of the ongoing tightening of the purse strings. Environmental charities are often the hardest hit because our deliverables aren't as poignant as those fighting child cancer or heart disease. And nor should they be - there is no competition.
We have to get creative in order to survive.
Survival isn't just about bringing in the money, it's about delivering the charitable purpose.
Oxfam sends people out on the very popular Trailwalker event each year. This has raised over $6.5 million since 2006 and dramatically increased the charity's profile in a positive way because they make it fun.
Another example of creative fundraising efforts is the fantastic One Percent Collective. Members donate one percent of their paychecks and added to the satisfaction are special discounts and concerts put on by musician that support the cause. The musicians that support the collective want to help the charities and while they may not have much money to give, when they volunteer to play for the cause, it keeps supporters engaged and they continue to donate - a very clever idea indeed.
By utilising volunteers for what they are best at doing professionally (as opposed to the generalised volunteer days), they get more satisfaction out of giving you their time for what they are really good at, we get better outcomes, and the organisation is able to pull funds together more effectively.
For example, when well known DJ and all round good guy Murry Sweetpants approached us to say he would like to help us run our charity ball, it made it possible for us to raise crucial funds that will enable us to continue to educate thousands of school children and offenders.
So here I am throwing down a shameless plug for our fundraiser, but not just for that - for supporting the causes that mean the most to you. I don't just mean supporting them through handing out your hard-earned cash, but by offering your services in a way that could assist. You never know, you might have the exact skill-set a non-profit is desperately searching for.
You know what, you will probably enjoy it.
If you are looking for opportunities to volunteer - please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org