"Because of their size, many grassroots organisations are rarely known to the masses and usually only become known by an individual when they find themselves in need of support."
Donating regularly to charities is not only great for the charity that you’re supporting, but it's rewarding for yourself too. With millions of people donating to good causes each year, I wanted to talk about which kinds of organisations can make the biggest difference to your community. Let’s take a look at why you might want to consider supporting grassroots movements and lesser-known charitable organisations the next time that you’re in a position to give back.
Common Challenges Grassroots Organisations Face
To fully understand the benefits of supporting smaller charities and grassroots initiatives, we need to first understand the challenges they face.
We live in a digital era, but in a 2020 report carried out by CAF, just 18% of charity leaders said that they knew how to manage online fundraising. The report also mentioned that the most common challenge charities face is generating more income as a whole. This knowledge gap when it comes to embracing tech to enable funding could be seriously detrimental to community groups.
Raising finance is increasingly difficult for smaller organisations as they just don’t have access to the resources that larger charities have; fundraisers out on the streets, advertising budgets and funding from larger trusts and foundations that could help them spread the word of their cause.
Because of their size, many grassroots organisations are rarely known to the masses and usually only become known by an individual when they find themselves in need of support. Another study carried out by CAF found that 41% of survey respondents couldn’t think of a small charity when they were asked.
Similarly, many less ‘glamorous’ causes find it hard to raise money. One example is fundamental mathematics research, which Dr Ewan Kirk, founder of the Turner Kirk Trust, notes that it is uniquely hard to raise money for. Similarly, while we have come a long way in terms of the perception of mental health, charities that assist those with stigmatised conditions still may find it more difficult to find endorsement.
This, teamed with the fact that many grassroots organisations start as a bit of a one-man-band endeavour, and struggle with registering as a charitable organization due to complex forms and application procedures ultimately limits their access to funds.
Types of Work Grassroots Organisations Support
Despite the challenges that these grassroots organisations face, the work they do is incredibly impactful in the local communities that they support.
Grassroots organisations are made up of local people who are familiar with the area and they're all too familiar with the challenges that their community faces. Grassroots organisations can support many things, from football to music, to helping local people find shelter and food; the possibilities are endless.
Sometimes, grassroots initiatives even help to support and fund larger, nationwide charitable endeavours to help those in need across the country.
Benefits of Supporting Grassroots Organisations
So what are the benefits of supporting these organisations?
Well first and foremost, because grassroots movements and smaller charitable organisations are made up of local people, you’ll likely be helping out a neighbour, friend, or even colleague and will directly see the positive impact that it's having on their lives.
With smaller charities, small donation amounts go a long way. Overheads are kept as low as possible to ensure the money's going where it's needed and it’s surprising what can be achieved with as little as a couple of pounds. Another benefit of grassroots is that for those of you who don’t have money to spare, you can often donate your time instead and offer to help out.
For smaller charities and organisations too, things like word of mouth can be more impactful than you'd think. We mentioned at the beginning of the post that many people can't even name a small charity in their area, yet this is something that's easily changed nowadays thanks to the likes of social media.
Sharing a Facebook or Instagram post is completely free and helps to get much-needed eyes on your local grassroots community organisation. Because larger charities have the budgets for ads etc, they don’t necessarily need your shares as much as these smaller community groups. You never know, either, you might be helping out a friend in need who you never knew needed help as they've not spoken up. By sharing the work of the local charity work in your community, you could be indirectly positively impacting the lives of those you've grown up with.
How to Find Out More About Grassroots Movements in Your Area
So, if after reading this article, you want to find out more about how you can support grassroots movements and smaller charity organisations in your area, we'd recommend starting by doing a quick Google search or posting in local community Facebook groups to see how and where you can help.
Also, websites like Charity Choice list all registered charities in the UK and you can filter them by location, size, and what kind of things they’re supporting/working on, so you can find something that’ll align with you.
Remember, over the last few years we’ve really been encouraged to do things like shop local, so how about we now support local too and get involved in charity initiatives closer to home!