Action not words

Last month the Funding Commission for the National Council for Voluntary Organisation (NCVO) released Funding the Future, its framework to ensure the financial sustainability of charities over the next decade.

It outlined the ambitious objective of increasing individual giving to £20bn by 2020, an increase of almost 100% from the current level of £11.3bn. The report suggests that this target can be achieved through ‘increased donor engagement,’ increased use of social media, digital initiatives and ‘better fundraising approaches.’

This report coincides with the Government’s green paper on giving. This ‘sets out wide-ranging ideas, including the use of online and social media, for making giving and voluntary action in the UK “as easy and attractive as possible”’.

However, rather than merely repeating ad nauseam what has already been written by countless different commentators, Cause4 offers this simple thought.  It’s time to cast aside the theorising, the debating and the discussions about how best to increase philanthropy.  Instead it’s time to start doing more to make it happen.  More practical measures – fewer words.  Fewer frameworks  and Green Papers – more concerted action.  Government must incentivise the wealthy by giving them attractive tax breaks (however challenging that might be in current times), make Gift Aid workable, give VAT-exemption to all charities and, above all, use its funding to match-fund private donations.  As for the rest of us, we must roll up our sleeves, work hard, think differently, act creatively  – and expend time and energy other than in bellyaching.

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