Why We Sometimes Have To Say No... And How Our Members Are Behind Every Decision We Make

2022-07-07

Sophie from our Supporter Team explains...

The Importance of our Supporters

When we look back at our journey so far, we’ve followed the steps all charities take when building from the ground up. Often, charities are born out of an unaddressed need where no framework already exists and therefore you are already starting with a brand-new idea and thought process that needs to capture the imagination of potential supporters. However, no matter the cause, the building of support follows an almost identical pattern - get out there and raise awareness, inspire people to raise money, attend events, say thank you in person wherever possible… you get the idea.

This approach leads charities to build a loyal supporter base, they can see the growth of the organisation they care so much about before their very eyes, they can see the charity achieving amazing things and growing which brings a sense of pride and satisfaction. But then there is a really critical point in the charity’s growth, as supporter numbers grow, they have to adapt the way they work to make more efficient use of resource and the perception of that charity can change in an instant.

If you are a supporter of Scotty’s, you will know that we never take our eye off the ball regarding our purpose, we have a goal of supporting 1000+ bereaved British Forces children and young people annually by 2030. We are not a charity that is looking to grow for the sake of it, we know that there are hundreds more children and young people out there who could benefit from our support, and we are determined to find them, it’s what we were set up to do.

Maximum Impact

Occasionally we will hear supporters say they stopped fundraising for a particular charity because they ‘got too big’. Scotty’s Little Soldiers is an open and transparent organisation, and we know some supporters are starting to feel like we are getting ‘too big' so we wanted to provide a bit of context to our different way of working.  

Sometimes the perception of a charity becoming too big comes from the way they are supporting those who raise money.  Having to shift away from attending events, cheque presentations, delivering talks to local groups etc instead, doing things differently.   

We are confident in saying that anyone who donates to Scotty’s has a desire for their contribution to be spent on the services and support that has most benefit to our Members and Springboarders.  Ideally, they’d prefer it not to go on certain staff salaries, utility bills and stationery. So, our approach is to have key roles filled in the charity and aim to keep our team as small as possible whilst focused on delivering the most value.  This means the funds we do receive have maximum impact on those we support.

Small Team, Big Reach

We are afraid we are that charity who don’t send our team to events not because we don’t want to but because we don’t have anyone to send! Every member of our team is working hard with a specific focus. ‘Why not send volunteers?’ we hear you cry, well we don’t have any of those either and if we did, we’d have to employ someone to manage, co-ordinate and train them and that moves us further away from what we’ve just been telling you about.  Can you see our predicament?  

Scotty’s stands by the fact that our primary focus of expenditure is our members and Springboarders, we will always support our supporters but not to the detriment of ensuring that bereaved military children can benefit from your donations.     

We’ve developed smarter ways of working and are using our existing resource to continue aiming to provide the best experience for our supporters whilst not compromising on our 2030 goal.  Technology combined with our creative team has enabled us to develop a range of materials and videos that we can use to support those raising funds for us and thank them following their donation.  We even have a giant cheque that we can use to celebrate your fundraising total and a member of our team is always willing to step in front of a camera for our supporters 

We know that a personal thank you means a lot, we couldn’t possibly achieve what we are without our supporters, they are the reason hundreds of bereaved military children are able to access long term support.  Whilst our interaction with supporters looks a little different to what it used to; it does mean donations are being directed to where they should be to have the maximum benefit for bereaved British Forces children.  

Making a Difference

Now, if you’ve got to the end of this blog post you are either thinking ‘Good for them on being so focussed on their mission’ or perhaps you are thinking ‘I totally disagree with how you operate!’.  Either view is valid, we all have our own personal opinions of how a charity should operate and we know that as a public funded organisation we will be consistently under scrutiny, but we are OK with that. We truly believe in what we are doing and the difference we can make.   

If you feel compelled to reach out to us after reading this, please do.  We are an open, honest and friendly bunch and always happy to talk through our thought processes.  

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