Me2 Club: Perspectives on fundraising from a small charity
Established in 2003, Me2 Club is an award-winning inclusion charity which aims to tackle the isolation and exclusion of children and young people with additional needs by enabling them to be involved in mainstream activities.
Like small charities across the UK, Me2 Club is still responding to the various ways Covid has affected the non-profit sector. Even before the pandemic, small charities faced specific challenges; and with the repercussions of the coronavirus still unfolding, there are now even more moving parts to consider.
The recent and growing cost of living crisis added an additional complication, with 58% of people (and 69% of 25-34 year olds) planning to reduce their discretionary spending. According to a Charities Aid Foundation survey2 million fewer people donated to associations in February than usual (25% of respondents, instead of 29%).
Meanwhile, for many charities, these factors come against a backdrop of increased demand; for Me2 Club, this means doubling the size of our team, helping 60% more children year on year and expanding into the neighboring borough of Reading.
While the challenges are undeniable, as a charity we continue to meet them. But what does that actually look like? As a small charity, how do we “make it work”?
We have amazing staff
Unlike large charities with large fundraising resources, Me2 Club has a small staff with a single fundraiser who is (luckily for us) incredibly good at multitasking and leans on the different skills needed to juggle funding offers, community fundraising and corporate funding. Experience shows that building relationships, storytelling, and giving plenty of thanks is the name of the game.
We know that small is beautiful
There are advantages to being a smaller charity. For starters, successful fundraising relies on proactively seeking out opportunities, and as a smaller charity, we can move quickly to capitalize on opportunities as they arise. Our supporters also know that as a smaller charity, more of their money goes directly to our cause and, furthermore, they have a better insight into the difference it makes (in some cases even by meeting the people they have helped).
Alexander Barfield, chief executive of the David Brownlow Charitable Foundation, said:
“I know that when I donate money to the Me2 Club, every penny is used to achieve life-changing results for young people, their families, and to raise awareness of the additional needs of the wider community. For me , the impact of Me2 Club per pound is significant, and I’m thrilled to be a continued supporter.
We leverage resources
We take full advantage of amazing free resources to inspire us, keep us up to date with news, tips and opportunities to raise more funds.
We count the beans
The pandemic has had an impact on our finances and to cover the shortfall we used the unallocated surplus accumulated over the previous two years. Our cautious approach to financial management has helped us end 2021/22 in a much healthier position.
We rely on a variety of funding streams and have built relationships with a growing number of local and regional trusts and foundations that re-fund our work where we can demonstrate good value for money in delivering services to young people.
We move with the times
Over the past two years, we’ve responded to restrictions that have impacted event fundraising by embracing virtual events like last year’s Virtual London Marathon.
Eleanor Towsey, KJ Smith Solicitors said:
“It was a real privilege to be part of the London Marathon and to participate on behalf of the Me2 Club. The experience was inspiring, overwhelming, emotional and very challenging for the last few miles, but the brilliant work of the Me2 Club propelled me to the finish line.
We are clear about the positive results
A common theme for successful grant applications is to demonstrate that we are effectively addressing a defined need with clear results and benefits, good leadership, sound business plans, and a commitment to excellence.
Katherine King, Grants Administrator for the KPMG Foundation, said:
“I have always been impressed with my interactions with Me2 Club. They have been very keen to share their good work with their colleagues in our Reading office. I encourage anyone to volunteer or fundraise for them. It’s a small charity that has a big local impact with the children and families it supports. »
We stay on mission
Me2 Club engages directly with young people living in poverty. In Wokingham there are economically deprived areas and our expansion in Reading started with our work in areas where over 30% of young people are at risk of living in poverty. We are proud to have been able to keep our service free for parents and in case of financial hardship, we have a fee assistance policy.
And we always get up
Like many small charities, Me2 Club faces ongoing challenges balancing demand and funding. We make it work because we believe passionately in the value of our mission, the opportunities that come from supporting the Me2 Club, and the strong, demonstrable personal relationships that are formed.
We always reach out; please visit our website for learn more about Me2 Clubfor help raise fundsto give business support or become a volunteer – and if you would like to represent us at this year’s Virtual London Marathon, please do so Email us.
We would also like you to follow our social networks for all our latest updates:
Follow us on Twitter: @me2club
Like us on Facebook: @me2clubcharity
Follow us on Instagram: @me2club