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strategy and fundraising
Amidst all the recent political, economic, social and tech changes that impact fundraising (think Brexit, Covid, AI, energy crisis, Ukraine etc), one issue that has escaped a lot of attention is the increasing trend towards outsourcing in the charity sector.
Rather than simply employing a fixed in-house team, a lot of charities now have a mixed model of full-time and part-time staff supported by freelancers and consultants in specific areas. So why is this and what are the advantages of this model?
Firstly, having greater flexibility allows a charity to respond quicker to changes, whether these relate to new fundraising opportunities, staff changes, skill shortages or economic shocks.
Secondly, having a mixed model enables a charity to overcome the challenge of skills shortages (how often have you struggled to find people with the right experience recently?).
Thirdly, there are often cost savings to be made. By not having everyone on the payroll, a charity can save tax, pension contributions, administration costs etc.
Fourthly, outsourcing some functions means a charity can turn the support it needs on and off as required, only bringing in the skills at peak times or to cover skill shortages, thus reducing costs and increasing the ROI on fundraising.
Finally, the mixed model allows you to experiment and innovate without the commitment and liabilities attached to employing everyone inhouse. If things don’t work as planned, you can easily change the model and try something different.
For all these reasons, the mixed model has now become mainstream, offering fundraising managers a lot more flexibility in how they deliver work and achieve their targets.
While this trend is not as obvious as, for example, the switch to digital, it is every bit as seismic and is delivering huge benefits for the sector. It has been a quiet revolution, generating a large pool of freelance fundraisers and consultants ready and willing to support the fundraising of thousands of charities around the UK. It is clearly a trend that is here to stay.
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