Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Charity funding crisis

The BBC reports today that small charities are fighting for survival due to the loss of funding from local government.

I've worked for and with several local charities over the last twelve years on a voluntary basis and I know this is true. Many of the services they have offered in the past have been partially or wholly funded by grants from the local authority from various pots of money. Funding from central government to local government has been drastically reduced with the inevitable knock-on effect.

There are of course other sources of funding such as the Lottery, the big media-promoted annual fundraisers such as Children in Need and various trusts. Each one requires a not only a stringent project proposal and budget but also a carefully worded form. Many charities will need to apply for pots of money from several different funders to keep a service afloat.

It all takes time and many small charities don't have a member of staff dedicated to such fundraising. Charities are struggling and some are merging with another compatible local organisation to reduce core costs (admin expenses, rent etc). Valuable community services are closing down due to lack of funding, staff are losing their jobs and it looks as though things will be much worse in the next financial year. So much for the Big Society.

I'm currently starting to work on funding bids with one local charity I know well. It's a side of business writing I hope to do more of in my future as a freelance writer, because it draws on both my writing knowledge, my Open University studies and my previous career as an accountant. I've served my time as a charity volunteer, now I hope I can sometimes use my skills to help others as part of my work.

Of course I'm not giving up the fiction, just broadening my writing horizons.

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