about Charisma Consulting and founder Ann Bown


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  • Feb 2015 - Mind your P's, Q's and protect your R's in 2015
  • Jul 2014 - Non-Profit Sustainability is the responsibility of Leadership
  • Mar 2014 - The NPO Act - who is non-compliant?
  • Jan 2014 - Upholding the legacy of Mandela
  • Dec 2013 - RIP Nelson Mandela
  • Jan 2013 - No time for complacency in 2013


articles from 2008-2013




P O Box 326

Ann Bown - Founder

Noeleen Mullett - Associate




23 February 2016

2016 - Time to Recalibrate, Think!

The non-profit sector is claiming it is entering another funding crisis yet not defining the root cause or coming up with a plan B or C!? A business term for defining a crisis is: “A critical event or point of decision that, if not handled in an appropriate manner (or if not handled at all) may turn into a disaster or catastrophe.”

Management of non-profit organisations are quick to blame economic downturns and cut backs in grants and individual donations when in-truth ‘good causes’? often attract inexperienced, well-meaning people who don’t understand fundraising yet they are running the show.

Planning and interpreting trends in the market are not viewed as boardmember duties, yet this should be a priority for inclusion in a fundraising plan. Fundraisers are often given unattainable yearly targets without full agreement to a fundraising plan or attention to sufficient resources, which creates panic and a tendency to jump at the next big thing without regard for a strategy or a review of what worked in the past…. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Behaviour has to change; leaders must take responsibility for their organisations fundraising activities and ensure that sufficient income is raised to run programmes and function efficiently — otherwise expect a disaster or catastrophe.

Think Philanthropy rather than fundraising. Smart NPO leaders will invest in building relations with current donors and potential supporters by carefully measuring levels of interest and communicating messages of appreciation.? It is much more cost efficient to retain existing donors than to bring in new ones. Think Retention, retention, retention.

If you haven’t introduced a Donor Sustainer Programme (also known as stewardship) start immediately as it takes years to gain traction and build a pool of loyal donors.Take time to analyse each donor and your audience — adapt your approach and embrace technology and communication tools where it is easier to tailor messages via social media and texting.

A sad decline in postal deliveries has affected direct mail campaigns for many charities; this creative approach, ideally used for keeping in-touch with loyal donors will more than likely grind to a halt unless SAPO gets on track. We estimated that charities collectively lost around R60 million in donations during the lengthy strike.? Let’s hope that the new CEO, Mark Barnes will not only focus on getting e-commerce operational and digitisation implemented but revive ‘letter box’ delivery, even consider drones for parcel and post delivery!

Now is the time to consider mobile devices and the next generation of Smartphones and tablets for reaching not only the millennial generation but also seniors. Silver-surfers (fifty plus) to ninety-nine year olds are online and connected. AgeUK has introduced its own tablet known as the Breezie in a bid to help seniors enjoy the internet and retain connected and “ mobile-enabled”, which also assists fundraising efforts.

Other strategies that are working well and growing in popularity include Crowdfunding and other online campaigns but the question is how do you sustain these relationships?

International donor agencies are reconsidering their role in the development process of South Africa, this rebooting of strategies may affect a number of organisations. Established funders such as the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers, Kresge Foundation are to focus more on impact investing producing a double-bottom line that will build durable institutions and networks, platforms that will accelerate and sustain social change. The Ford Foundation intends to reduce the number of grants they make each year by 20 percent.?

More effort has to be made in sharing outcomes that will demonstrate clear results turning annual reports into ‘impact’ reports, making real change. For instance, consider alignment with the National Development Plan (NDP)?? What about the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — have you incorporated these aspects in your work going forward and are you part of the movement?


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Ann Bown T/A Charisma Consulting

Management and Advisory Services to the Non-Profit Sector


Last modified: 23/02/16

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