News & Views - Savantor

Card initiatives a boost for charities

Friday, 30 January 2009

The current recession is obviously causing concern for many sectors of the economy and there are signs that the card industry is waking up to some of its responsibilities. APACS members have committed to share more data to help identify who may be starting to experience financial difficulties. Whilst this is a step in the right direction and although the finance industry is particularly hard hit we should not forget those sectors who are suffering even more. A recent report from the Charities Commission found that one in four charities have seen a drop in donations in 2008 while one in 12 is experiencing severe financial trouble. The latest figures show that one in three is laying off staff and half are unable to meet increasing demands. In the current climate it is easy to see why this is happening where companies are cutting costs and households are similarly under pressure and therefore cutting spending in all areas.

Spending on the maintenance of a charity organisation is usually as low as possible in an industry that is hyper-sensitive to falling consumer spending. As with the private sector, the recession could well see the end of many charities. We all have to play our part in supporting charities who are working with those who are really suffering but there also needs to be a more creative approach from charities and from companies who do or could support them. The more ways that charities can drive extra donations and provide new opportunities for support, the better chance they have of survival. One particular organisation - the Woking and Sam Beare Hospices (www.wsbhospices.co.uk) in Surrey – are looking to card payments to help by using Nectar cards to raise funds in a system which allows for supporters to take out a card and collect points on behalf of the charity.

Maybe there is also an opportunity here for companies who are cutting back on large sponsorships and marketing budgets to regain some consumer credibility and support by switching their support to more local charities.

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