Free labour = survive the recession?

In the charitable sector we to tend to be a little more aware than other sectors of the power of working with volunteers. This week the commercial sector seem to have taken it in a a whole new direction, with BA aksing their staff to work for free. Not quite the same thing chaps…

As reported in the Third Sector this week, skilled professional volunteers could be a vital tool in supporting organisations struggling in the current financial climate. This point was raised by the presenter Jon Snow, at the Charity Trustee Networks annual lecture. As fantastic as it sounds, he did manage to clearly and concisely explain:

He [Snow] said people in his newsroom would not be receptive to charity appeals for volunteers to hand out soup, but would be willing to lend help with web design and communications.

How are you tapping into this unclaimed resource? Please do share your experiences.

Boost your individual giving!

It’s going to be some time before the economic situation is stable once more, and as reported by the Arts and Business Market Trends 2009 report, 43% have seen levels of individual giving drop.

So how can you increase individual giving without throwing expensive galas and member events?

  •  Explore new online platforms. Matthew Little writes for the Third Sector website this month that Ebay’s charity partner MissionFish reports that online giving has tripled over the past year. A new feature on eBay that allows buyers to make a donation to charity when they pay for an item has raised an additional £700,000 since it was launched in November.
  • Optimise your landing pages on your website to make donating quick and easy. This Landing On Gold report at gives some tips on this (the link will request some contact details to download the report, but it’s free).
  • Utilise Social Media platforms. Facebook Causes allows you to set up details of your charitable case for example, but please remember that facebook users are individuals and when they come together to support a cause it’s because they have a reason to invest. It is a 2 way conversation, not a sales pitch! This article has some good points but I think it misses the community aspect of social media, tread carefully!

And for more ideas, here’s a free presentation I found which collates fundraising trends for 2008 from some expert types. Have you taken advantage of them all in the last 18 months?

From recession… to recovery…

So, the rhetoric is shifting… it’s not about surviving the recession now, but planning for the recovery.  The top tips are probably the same… but here they are from that slightly different perspective!

Happily sharing (work) space…

Sharing Spaces is a savvy little report for NCVO about co-location.   Supported by the Baring Foundation, this NCVYS project was designed to enable a number of national and regional voluntary youth service organisations to happily share premises in London.  The findings and guidance would be useful for cultural organisations looking at the same issue.

Maximising the impact of the arts during the recession…

Maybe we’ve heard enough about this, but this conference (by the CPPS and sponsored by ACE) came on the day of the announcement of funds being made available by ACE to support organsiations through the recession (see previous post…)… So, a concrete acknowledgement of practical help being required… and I think a first outing speach-wise for the new ACE Chair Liz Forgan.

Otherwise the general zeitgeist of the day was about how we could be working as arts organisations to provide evidence and make a better case for the arts being integral to society – through a new kind of narrative of value – (and an integral part of the way out of a recession) – about we should be shouting louder and encouraging our audiences to be more vociferous!

Several speakers talked about how we should also be working more effectively across sectors, across regions and across organisations to collaborate, connect, network share etc. etc.

There were also suggestions that if we know that we need to change, restructure or develop our organisations in any way – now is the time – we can’t put it off any longer.  New business models may be required…

And finally… we should not compromise in artistic programming, creativity or in support of our artists or staff – it is not the time to limit our ambitions as this will weaken our case and bore audiences!

There’s more, but that’s the general gist!

Arts Council England’s response to the recession

Follow these links for information about funds which Arts Council England are launching to support arts organisations of all types through the recession… should they need it…

They also offer further recession advice at

After the Crunch

A bleak budget just announced and with the only certainty that cuts to public spending will be made – what do those working in the creative economies really think?

‘After The Crunch, is a collaborative response to the global recession from those operating in the creative economy featuring contributions from prominent UK and international creative leaders and economists including Charles Leadbeater, Richard Florida, Iwona Blazwick, Edna dos Santos-Duisenberg, Stuart Cunningham, Will Hutton, Martin Bright and many more…’

You can download it free from Creative Choices website and also blog your responses too.