THINKPIECE: Charity means helping other charities too

With management buyouts and takeovers on the rise, charities too are starting to recognise the benefits and cost savings behind such initiatives.

Indeed, the whole notion of "charity" is reliant upon helping each other, but collaboration has been a slow developing trend within the sector.

At the latest headcount by the Charity Commission, there were more than 160,000 registered charities at the end of June, many of which are delivering similar messages or can collaborate with other organisations to maximise impact while minimising costs. Perhaps the most high-profile example of charity collaboration was the launch of Cancer Research UK earlier this year - a result of the merger of the Cancer Research Campaign and Imperial Cancer Research Fund. Similarly, although the homelessness charities Shelter and Crisis decided against merging, the two charities continue to work in close partnership, collaborating on projects such as Millennium Plus.

There are a growing number of charity consortiums, such as our own organisation, the Legacy Promotion Campaign, which has more than 80 members. Currently, we are co-ordinating an advertising push the size and scale of which has not been seen in legacy promotion before. This would not be possible without all our members clubbing together to deliver a louder message and achieve our common goal - to increase legacy income to the whole sector. Another generic campaign is Pell & Bales' brainchild. The Gift Aid Consortium aims to increase donors' awareness of Gift Aid, while working together to identify and service "multiple

supporters with one simple unified Gift Aid declaration.

At the Legacy Promotion Campaign, we also collaborate with other generic organisations, such as The Giving Campaign. With our combined capabilities, we are able to duplicate our asset base, liaising on core projects where we can piggyback off each other's expertise and target a broader audience.

The good news is clearly that collaboration is on the increase. Whether this is attributable to the growth of "professionalism

in the sector or other factors, this is undoubtedly a positive step forward for the sector - a trend that we hope to see further accelerated.

THERESA DAUNCEY, director of the Legacy Promotion Campaign

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