Two weeks after launching my small charity, I was invited to meet the chief executive of the largest and oldest charity in my space. “You’re doing the wrong thing,” I was told, “you’re fragmenting the charitable space. You should just raise money for us as we know best how to spend it. You don’t know what you’re doing.”
My response? “If I truly thought you were doing a good enough job, I wouldn’t be doing this.”
Many small charities are born out of a desire to have some element of control over a situation with little hope. In my case, my young son has an incurable disease that will get progressively worse. When I set up my charity, I needed to take control of our lives and help to focus research that could potentially save his life and the lives of so many children like him. For me, small charities can operate and access places that the larger ones can’t. They are often more effective.
Many bigger charities are bogged down in their own organisation. They are often slow and bureaucratic, and hold a belief that because they are big they need to control the message. They are not fleet of foot and they are not entrepreneurs but – in my opinion – professional politicians. As a small organisation, we are beholden to history. We are not scared for our jobs. We’re neither worried about our major donors nor bothered by politics.