The majority of charities are small organisations.
In Australia the official earnings threshold to be classed as a “small” charity is less than $250,000 revenue per year. About two thirds of our registered charities are in this group – and of that, about a third are classed as “very small” and earn less than $50,000. Only 19% of charities earn over one million per year. This information becomes even more interesting when you consider that Australia’s top fundraisers are earning into the tens, even hundreds of millions.
It’s not really surprising that a few large organisations are earning the majority of donation dollars. Big charities have big resources, and big missions that inspire the generous people who want to grow good in the world. But as we enter this years’ Giving Season, you might want to consider some of these big reasons for supporting small charities.
Most people who donate or volunteer to charity do so because they want to make a difference. So it makes sense then that you would want to maximize the impact that your individual donation can have. How to do that? Give your support to a small charity.
Now I should say upfront that I absolutely do support and understand the need for large, multinational organisations to tackle big scale issues like poverty, human rights, and responding to large scale crises. But small charities are often working in areas that are desperately under supported, and the effect they can have on their communities is vast. There is something very unique and special that comes with knowing the impact you have had, individually, by supporting a smaller organisation.
For example, let’s say your community fundraiser has raised $10,000. Donate this to a small organisation and you could be setting them up with enough funds to cover their program costs for an entire year. For larger organisations with respectively higher costs, this same amount might cover a single day of expenses – or less. That’s not a bad thing – but it does mean your donation has a proportionally a much larger impact to a smaller charity.
You already donate to many major charities
I mentioned earlier that big charities have big resources. For many that includes government support, which we all contribute to through our taxation system.
Government support for the non-profit sector has definitely declined in the last few years and the Department of Social Services Discretionary Grants Program was dramatically decreased in the last federal budget. However of the approx. $800 million was provided in the latest round of grants, the vast majority of funds has still been allocated to large charities. (You can find the full report here, if you feel like reading over 500 pages).
Don’t get me wrong, plenty of small groups were helped by small grants schemes, and that is fantastic. But the million dollar grants, paid for by public taxes? Those weren’t going to struggling small charities. So those small charities really do need your help.
Real People, Real Causes
The major benefit of supporting small charities will always be the personal touch.
Get to know who you’re helping. Get to know the people with their feet on the ground doing the work that you are supporting. Championing small charities and local, close to home causes helps to grow support in areas that desperately need it, but more than this it invites you in to a vibrant and passionate community you may never have even known existed. Small charities are in many ways the solution to the age old problem for non-profit donors – not knowing if your support matters.
To small charities, it does. To small charities, your generous donations – contributions of funds, or skills, or your time – are absolutely vital to being able to continue our work. In a very literal sense, we cannot operate without it.
If you would like to support the work of the Australia Alopecia Areata Foundation this Giving Season, please visit our website.