Nov 16, 2022
Financial sustainability for voluntary organisations – a relationship between money and striving
The Academy’s first voluntary organisation workshop. Focusing on financial literacy for voluntary organisations (VOs)
The 16th of November saw the first of a series of workshops for voluntary organisations organised by the Academy of Givers. Having teamed up with JA Malta Foundation and HSBC Malta Foundation, the workshop tackled the topic of financial literacy for voluntary organisations,covering the positive impact of financial literacy on NGOs within the current financial landscape and the role of NGOs in financial literacy. Petra Ellul from JA Malta Foundation gave a great workshop on this topic and Glenn Bugeja from HSBC Foundation shared a few words on the work HSBC Foundation does, the support and opportunities for Voluntary Organisations.
It was mentioned how there tends to be a lack of understanding about and around the topic of money, with many facing a number of challenges due to this;although, people tend not to talk about this.
We never really talk about our relationship with money. Is it good or bad? How did it start? Why is it this way? What influenced this relationship? Did you talk about money at home? Were you encouraged to save?
Your relationship with money and the decisions you make are heavily influenced by a number of factors. It is important to realise this and identify these factors, as knowing what drives your financial decision can help you reach smart money goals. How does this relate to running a VO? Your relationship to money could also affect the way you manage finances within your organisations.
Just as one must think about their relationship with their finances and question themselves, voluntary organisations must do the same. Ask yourselves: Do I have enough finances to carry out my plans? How will you split your budget? Do I look at how I’m going to make additional income? Or how I am going to save? It’s also important to understand that at times, not having sufficient finances could do more harm than good, keeping in mind that there are people who are depending on you and on the support and services you provide them with.
The room consisted of a number of voluntary organisations all having a different focus area, from human rights to environment, domestic violence, mental health and animal rights, amongst others. Those in the room were asked whether or not they think that donors in Malta see them more as a charity rather than an independent entity helping society. The most common answer to this was ‘yes’. The organisations felt that at times corporates think of them as being at their mercy, rather than independent entities that have objectives, costs and provide support or services to people, their own ‘clients’, while trying to solve pressing societal and environmental issues.
Running an organisation is like running a business, from thinking ahead and planning out your year and budget, to logistics in relation to events and internal workings, to the costs that come with running the organisation. Being a voluntary organisation doesn’t mean that these things don’t exist.
The conversation shifted to the different types of corporate giving, what works and what doesn’t, and what more can be done? When discussing the concept of giving, the reality is that mindsets need to change to be looking at how we can give effectively to ensure long-term change and impact and ensuring that our giving really makes a difference and isn’t just a nice thing to do. It was mentioned how there seems to be a shift when it comes to companies and how they support voluntary organisations, with these now moving more towards getting their employees involved in the good that they are doing rather than just giving monetary support. Financial support is very important and mustn’t be forgotten,but there are in fact a number of other ways in which companies can support the social sector, such as providing expertise in specific areas, to providing hands-on help, to creating a long-term partnership and working hand in hand to bring about a positive change.
“Knowledge is power. We cannot have all the tools and skills, which is why at times we need professional help” – Participant
Up until a few years ago, the mentality was of voluntary organisations competing against each other. This is slowly beginning to change and it was agreed that there shouldn’t be a monopoly between the different organisations. ‘We are all digging in the same pot’, so we need to work on identifying our strengths and weaknesses, identifying that I may do something good but you may do it better,and pushing towards collaborating, working together, and thing of the common end goal.
Are you a Voluntary Organisation? What do you think about this? Share your thoughts with us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow the VO section on the website to keep up to date on opportunities for VOs.