If we ask you to name ten charities off the top of your head, you can probably come up with quite a list.

Give it a go (… without reading the next bit!)

So who is on your list? More than likely the easy ones to recall will be the larger charities with the big marketing campaigns – some operate nationally or even globally, and few may be big players but with a local base. How many did you name that were small and local?

Totally Stoked would also like you to consider supporting the little guys.

These organisations don’t have the marketing budget, many don’t have any salaried staff or a large enough team of volunteers with the time and skills to spend dedicated time on social media campaigns, television adverts or even simple website development.

If we could just give a little more money to those hyper-local organisations, it could have a tangible possibly richer impact on the local community.

Local and often very small charities, food banks, voluntary groups have a very deep-rooted connections with local families and individuals and they are often supporting them personally on a day-to-day basis. They are operating on very small funds, and often with no marketing budget to gain your attention.

£1000 of donations raised by running the London Marathon or 100 laps around the park or money given from a local business to a local community project could make big changes to local lives. Financially supporting a little charity on the verge of closing could help pay the overheads (the electricity and rent, salaries, phone line, internet, volunteer expenses) These are often funds that are harder to find grants for. Al ot of funders prefer to pay for project materials and capital assets (computers, furniture, sports kit or craft materials etc )

Your money could keep that project alive for a few months longer while the project coordinators and volunteers host more support meetings, run fundraising events, and write more funding bids.

Did you know that all charities are really struggling to survive whilst they are helping people to literally survive every day? This is quite perverse because the demand for charitable services has greatly increased during the ongoing pandemic.

In the recent November 2020 Barometer report by Nottingham University / Sheffield Hallam University/ NCVO/ Economic and Social Research Council it was found that

  • 1 in 7 (14%) voluntary organisations are anticipating closure within the next year 
  • Almost 2 in 5 (38%) expect their financial position to deteriorate over the next month
  • At the same time, over half (57%) of voluntary organisations are reporting an increase in demand for their services

(Possibly due to situations like making safety changes to venues, PPE, online video call subscriptions, new demand for supplies and new services all due to the COVID pandemic)

An article from the BBC, highlights that between March and August 2020, JustGiving saw donations to charities concerning education and disability drop by 46% and Virgin Money Giving saw that sponsorship of existing charities (formed before 2020) went down £25 million compared to the previous year.

BBC analysists took of a sample of more than 1,600 fundraising pages on the Virgin Money Giving site and found that the average amount of donations raised on each campaign page had dropped from a high of £657 a month in February 2020 to a low of £236 in June 2020.

Even though organisations have tried their hardest to adapt and move their flagship fundraising events online it’s not filled the donation gap completely.

At VAST we have also delivered an impact report which you can read in full here:

So please do have a think about the little guys in 2021.

If you already make monthly donations to charity maybe add a new local charity – one that works very local to your community. These small charities can’t afford to grab your attention so easily, but they are helping local people, possibly people living in your street, local families with children at your own child’s schools and isolated elderly neighbours, and those living through very dark times.

If you want to find out more about the impact of recent events on our locally based charities, you can read the VAST Impact report. The Response of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector in Stoke on Trent to the COVID-19 Pandemic March – Sept 2020 “

Here is one small section from the report which mentions that whilst charities have been encouraged to move towards trading and income generation more and more over recent years, to ease their reliance on ‘grants’  – the drop of income expected from trading actually created a problem and increased the funding gap when the pandemic began.

“Trading income generation for VCSE sector organisations stopped overnight along with traditional fund-raising events. It is worth noting that these are the very forms of income that the sector has been hard-pressed by the government to expand in recent years as they were seen as being more sustainable than traditional grants and public funding. Income from regular sources dropped significantly for many of our organisations with almost 40% having to draw on reserves to cover costs.”

To help you decide on which local charities and groups to support you could ask people you know for recommendations  – and you will be able to use the new Community Directory in Spring 2021 – it will be launched via the VAST and Stoke on Trent City Council websites and across social media. We will also put links in our newsletters.