By giving an unrestricted gift, your generosity can be multiplied to have greater impact on children in conflict. By investing in us, we can transform your donation into something extremely powerful, and grow the charity to help thousands more vulnerable children.
But the unrestricted nature of that income is crucial to our sustainability because it enables us to be more responsive, helping children who are affected by conflicts that never hit the headlines and where UK grants don’t reach. We can re-invest it back into the charity’s growth and make your gift go further, and in turn build our capacity to reach even more children. We can even use it to employ another grant-funding proposal writer who could bring in another million pounds.
The below graph demonstrates the growth we’ve experienced over the past 6 years thanks to unrestricted support. Although an overall increase in restricted funding over the past 5 years has enabled us to expand our country programmes, our overall income has grown by 240% between 2011 and 2016 largely due to the unrestricted income we’ve received. Unrestricted income has had a significant compounding effect on future years: thanks to the investments we’ve made across War Child we’ve been able to increase our growth, and therefore the children we’ve reached, year on year. This growth is projected to continue over the next three years.
Did you know…?
It’s significantly more valuable to give an unrestricted donation.
By giving a restricted donation, whilst this will go straight to the projects in our countries of operation, there’s no potential to re-invest this money into generating more funds for children. Once it’s spent, it’s gone.
An unrestricted donation gives us the freedom to use our expertise to direct funds according to where the greatest impact will be generated, and ensure that in turn, the funds are invested to secure further returns through fundraising activity.
Committed to the cause: spotlight on our people
We wouldn’t raise a penny of unrestricted income without our fantastic fundraising team, whom donors put their trust in, and build their relationships with.
My job is to get more people to donate or fundraise for War Child, growing our donor base of regular supporters so that we can financially plan for the future and react quickly in emergencies to reach the most vulnerable children as soon as they need us – this year my team of six fundraisers are on track to raise £1,122,000.
What keeps me motivated every day at War Child is the amazing people I work with and meet. I remember the first time I met one of our young fundraisers, Oscar. He’s a refugee from Democratic Republic of Congo and he cycled 80 miles to raise money for our work. Now he talks in schools and even to our government, on behalf of all children in conflict.
For me, fundraising is all about empowering people to make a difference. Because everyone can.Katie Johnson – Head of Individual Giving
Our commitment to you
We’re committed to spending every penny of every donation in the best possible way in order to most benefit children affected by war. So we have to be 100% sure that every pound ploughed back into our head office rather than our field work, is a pound that will yield impressive results.
We don’t spend money on our fundraising, we invest in it. The difference is that we don’t put the money in without having clear expectations about what it will generate in return. In our case, we won’t invest a pound in our unrestricted income fundraising unless we are confident that it will generate at least £3.30 within one year. We use this ratio when budgeting for the year ahead, and our 2017-2019 Strategy uses financial projections based on this return. We commit to this ratio to ensure we achieve our ambitious targets for growth, and reach as many children as we possibly can. Each member of the fundraising team has targets based upon this ratio, and we know from our experience and expertise that our existing activities will achieve it. Furthermore, we rigorously assess any new fundraising opportunity before committing to it to ensure we’ll reach this ratio and maximize the return of each investment.
In 2016, our unrestricted fundraising activity actually produced an overall average return of £4.90 for every £1 we spent. So we know that £3.30 is achievable.
An example of our fundraising economics: War Child Winter Wassail 2016
£138,000 On the event itself
£36,000 Paying our fundraisers who put on the event*
£1,500,000 Raised by the event
*The fundraisers used their expertise to secure the majority of our supplies for free saving over £37k
Within a year we made back the money we spent and raised an additional £1,326,000 net income.
That gives us an excellent return of 7.6:1, over double the ratio we absolutely won’t go under of 3.3:1.
We think that’s an amazing investment.
Your generosity. Multiplied.
When you make an unrestricted donation to War Child between 2017-2019 we will invest an average of 28% of it into our unrestricted fundraising.
You can see how we invest the full donation across the organisation in the pie chart below.
As the pie chart demonstrates, from each unrestricted gift we receive, 16% will go directly to our programmes supporting children affected by conflict. Furthermore, 15% will go towards designing high quality programmes which will result in more restricted funding, in other words, funding which again will go directly towards supporting children in our countries of operation. With the additional 12% which goes directly towards the running of these programmes, and the 8% to giving children a voice through our advocacy and campaigning work, 51% in total of each unrestricted gift will go directly to our charitable mission.
The remaining 21% of an unrestricted gift will go towards supporting our overall operations, keeping the charity running effectively and efficiently.
We invest in both restricted and unrestricted fundraising to ensure we’re maximising the return of our investment. Restricted fundraising will generate income that goes directly to supporting children in the countries we operate in, and as our ROI for this type of fundraising is on average 9.6:1, it’s important to invest in this in part to ensure we maintain the baseline needed to support our projects in their respective countries.
To make this calculation, we estimate the time spent raising restricted funds using our knowledge of previous projects, work plans and job descriptions. The cost of each person’s salary while working on a restricted funding opportunity is also accounted for in this amount.
Whilst this is a high return for the time spent on generating these funds, as the money is restricted we can only spend it on the specific activities it was given for. Therefore, it’s not a sustainable form of funding as it won’t produce a return to be re-invested, we can’t be flexible, and once it has been spent in our countries of operation, it’s gone. It also takes much longer to bring this type of funding in, so we can’t react quickly to emergencies.
However, the cost of raising unrestricted funds is considerably higher, so a balance between the two forms of funds is critical to ensure that we can run as an organisation effectively and efficiently, whilst safeguarding the direct work we’re carrying out with vulnerable children.
The 28% invested in unrestricted fundraising is multiplied because of our excellent ROI, and then those returns are re-invested into the organisation the following year, to be distributed across all areas of our work in order to maximise our reach. This creates a compounding effect, as each year we re-invest the additional income we leverage back into the organisation.
You’ve seen how we spend some of your unrestricted gift on Fundraising, to leverage even more income for children affected by conflict. Let’s now look in detail at five different areas of the charity to see how we spend this unrestricted income to maximise our impact.