Charities must work closer together and “broaden alliances and collaboration” to get in shape for the modern world because the market is far too crowded and there are simply “too many charities” fighting for the same donors.
That is according to British Red Cross chief executive Mike Adamson, who delivered his verdict on the current state of the charity sector during a panel session at the think tank NPC’s annual conference in London.
He also insisted that charities were failing to make proper use of the amount of quality data at their disposal and many charities were “data-heavy and insight-light”.
The British Red Cross was one of four leading charities – which also included Macmillan, NSPCC and Oxfam – which were battered by the charity regulator for breaching the fundraising code following a 10-month investigation into their relationships with telemarketing agency GoGen.
According to a report in Third Sector magazine, Adamson now believes “the word charity is very unhelpful”. He said: “I think we have a problem with terminology, because the problem is that when the Daily Mail attacks it uses the word charity, but the future is about values-led organisations, both small and large.
“There are far too many of us charities, in my view, but we do need to create movements and make a difference through getting organised, and sometimes you do need organisations to do that.”
He said the challenge was to find ways to “broaden alliances and collaboration to achieve as much impact as we possibly can”.
“It becomes counterproductive where you have too many chief executives and too many back-office functions, and when we end up with pathways for service users that are complicated because they need to move from one organisation to another to put together a package of help,” he added.
“We have a responsibility to work in ways that are designed around the people we are trying to help, and if that is not happening we should really take a look at ourselves and the value for money in the way we are working.”
When it comes to fundraising, Adamson claimed the Red Cross was losing out on income to build “longer, deeper and more trusting relationships with donors”, which he insisted would ultimately benefit the charity in the long-term.
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