Grassroots charities face a bleak future, says foundation

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More than 300 small grassroots charities face imminent closure without a radical overhaul in the way that people give, according to charitable foundation Miller Philanthropy.

The Miller team are urging people to ‘give smarter, not just give more’, as they launches the Goodwill Exchange to provide smaller charitable organisations access to a skills bank of professional volunteers.

The Goodwill Exchange (www.goodwillexchange.co.uk) is the UK’s first not-for-profit forum where professionals, such as accountants, lawyers, marketing specialists, business leaders and other skilled professionals can register in their area of expertise to provide small charities support on a project basis.

Despite the fact the UK currently gives around £11 billion a year in individual charitable donations, just 901 of the UK’s 161,649 charities generate 56 per cent of the sector’s income, leaving many smaller charities struggling to attract the money they need to undertake their vital work.

This lack of funding also limits their access to a wide range of other resources necessary for their sustainability and to allow them to concentrate on their charitable works, according to Miller Philanthropy.

Founder Gina Miller believes individual and corporate charitable donors, and Philanthropists need to explore ways of giving differently to charities if smaller charities are to continue to survive. In the present debate over charitable giving, Miller says that we need to go back to basics and remember that philanthropy is about more than donating money, it is about giving skills, time and other resources.

She said: “There is an army of people, particularly women who have stepped out of their careers, along with an increasing number of skilled, educated and unemployed people who are rich in skills, experience and training and who all have time they could give to charities. It is my belief that connecting this untapped skills resource with small charities will prove a win/win situation for all parties, which is why we have established the Goodwill Exchange”.

“People are incredibly generous; the £11 billion a year given in this country is a huge amount, yet many smaller charities are under greater pressure than ever before and many will not survive. The issue isn’t just that we need to give more, we need to give smarter and in many cases that doesn’t just mean giving money, skills can be just as transformational to small charities.”

“Many big firms will release staff to spend a day helping clear a playground or paint an old people’s home, vital work but not always the best use of their professional skills. We are asking professionals to give their expertise and experienceso smaller, grassroots charities can use this to help them cut their administration cost so more of their money goes to the invaluable charitable work they undertake.”