This is, and will continue to be, a tricky time for all of us in the charity sector particularly those agencies that depend on public generosity to continue to deliver services to vulnerable and needy people.
Itís important not to despair; we will get through it. However, the trick is not just to survive but to thrive in the turmoil that will be the immediate future. Times are tough and probably will get tougher. But there is hope and there is opportunity.
Having led several national charities and raising funds, over Ä4 million a year, mainly from the Irish public, the essential key for Declan was always the willingness to change, to be flexible, creative and adapt to an unpredictable environment. Organisations communicating their real needs and reaching out for new support will be ahead of those that hold back.
Leadership and astute management are required. Missions have to be re-examined and new strategies developed. Relations with long term supporters and donors must be deepened. New sources of revenue need to be identified and cultivated. Charities have got to examine new ways to cut costs. Only by being leaner, highly motivated, disciplined and taking a good look at new possibilities we will be able to thrive.
The vulnerable and socially excluded still need our assistance: unfortunately today more than ever. Charities will, in many cases, be the front line response as central government has diminishing resources to meet the escalating needs of a society riddled with debt and high unemployment. If charities try to consolidate rather than embrace this new reality then little or no progress will occur.