Why I love Small Charities

Posted in: Blog | June 17, 2016

Small charities can – and often do – achieve impressively big things. This Small Charity Week I’ve been celebrating, along with my colleagues at Kidscan, all the great work done by the little teams of dedicated charity workers across the country, and I’ve had time to think about what it is that makes these teams so great.

As Kidscan’s Director of Development, my official role is fairly far removed from the groundwork, but a small charity doesn’t work in quite the same way as a bigger organisation. Although roles are clearly defined, and whilst individual responsibilities are important, all small charity workers operate much closer to the cause. At Kidscan, whilst I can be in a board meeting one minute, the next I can take a quick stroll over to the lab where I can see first-hand the research that our work is funding and talk to the people who are doing it.

Likewise, we are all much closer to our supporters. When somebody calls the office, there’s no receptionist or call centre to go through – supporters speak directly to the fundraisers, and most of the time we’ll know who they are too. Over time, many of our dedicated supporters become good friends of the charity, and we interact with them in a naturally friendly way.

Having such a direct link to our supporters and the work they are helping to fund makes processes a lot quicker. Small charities don’t have to deal with the red tape and processes that larger ones have to – there is no need to run everything through a committee or several layers of management, waiting for emails and responses from people who don’t have the time to send them. When one of Kidscan’s fundraisers wants to try out a new event, we discuss it as a team, check the costs, and if the charity can afford it then we give it a go.

The ability to make decisions so much more quickly makes small charities generally much more flexible. It’s far easier for us adapt to unexpected change, and to react to news and social media trends as they arise, getting important messages out to the people we need to speak to.

This flexibility is just one of the positives of working for a small charity. Where a small group of people works towards a shared goal, an ethos of ‘chipping in’ naturally develops. The first charity I worked for had only seven staff, and I still keep in contact with them all today through postcards and Christmas cards. We grew to be a family, and that’s a lovely atmosphere to work in.

Most importantly, small charities can spend their money where and when it’s needed. We generally have much lower overhead costs, so more of the funds donated to Kidscan and other small charities go directly to the cause that the donors care about. From top to bottom, small charities are connected to their supporters, workers, and beneficiaries in ways that it would be almost impossible for other organisations to achieve.

So, a heartfelt thank you from me to everyone who’s supported Kidscan this Small Charity Week! You help make small charities special.

Lowri Turner
Kidscan Director of Development

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