The role of profit in Big Society Britain
In 2010 UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, launched his concept for The Big Society.
The objective was “to create a climate that empowers local people and communities, building a big society that will take power away from politicians and give it to people.” As would be expected, some read this to equal one thing: cuts, whilst others saw as an opportunity to explore new models for business.
Social ventures have been growing and developing in the UK for many years, but the launch of The Big Society highlighted the need for charities to look away from models of funding that were heavily reliant upon Government support and move towards alternative models.
The bridge between dramatic funding cuts and self-sufficiency is inevitably a long one to cross, fraught with many difficulties. However, many organisations have taken advantage of the Transition Funding available, designed to help charities in need navigate this new age of funding.
Transition Funding was designed to “help civil society organisations which deliver high quality public services adapt to a different funding environment during a period when they are at risk from reductions in taxpayer funded income.”
One Junxion client, Sound It Out, has used Transition Funding to develop a social venture to help fund their charitable operations. A community music charity, Sound It Out will soon be offering corporate packages to develop team building through music and offering a booking system for local musicians.
Another client, Bede House, have used their Transition Funding to update their messaging and positioning to appeal to new audiences. This and a fresh marketing strategy can allow a charity to appeal to donors who had not considered them, and broaden their funding sources.
Yet discovering new avenues to fill potentially large gaps in income is a hugely intimidating reality for many charities. To help navigate this new playing field, at the end of 2010 the government launched a Giving Green Paper highlighting ways individuals can donate time and money more easily and in a more cost effective manner.
Everyclick, a Junxion client, was highlighted both as an example of a successful UK social venture and as a way for individuals and corporations to give to charity easily and, most compellingly, for free.
Everyclick, an online fundraising technology company, creates fundraising products that can be used by both charities and supporters at no cost.
Everyclick Search generates money for charity with every search made through their Yahoo powered search engine. And, the more recently launched, Give as you Live takes advantage of affiliate marketing programmes and redirects a percentage of the commissions generated with every sale made online at thousands of retailers to charity.
Whilst it was highlighted in the more recent Giving White Paper that these models do require an investment of time from charity, the development cost, both ongoing and to date, has been entirely supported by Everyclick.
The funding landscape for UK charities has changed forever. Smart charities are open to exploring new funding models and are willing to invest time and energy in uncovering the potential of social ventures. It is only then that the first step on the bridge between government dependency and self-sufficiency will ever be taken.
Here are some linked to help you understand The Big Society better.
Junxion’s Erin Barrett leads the London office and specialises in fundraising and development, and engagement strategy for NGOs. Erin’s clients are dealing with the pressures and opportunities of the UK’s new shift in social policy.