An independent view of Comic Relief & Red Nose Day
What are their goals?
Well, notice first that they have goals. They’re not in the business of raising money to give to charities: they’re in the business of solving problems.
The overall goal is “a just world free from poverty”. They operate in the UK and less developed countries, notably Africa but also in Asia and Latin America. Focus areas include mental health, climate change, street children, HIV/AIDS, older people, sexually exploited trafficked people. Notice that those are not all the easy, fluffy causes – they’ve chosen some tricky areas which really need work.
Second, they publish a vision and strategy for both their UK and non-UK giving 🙂 It shows goals for each programme (eg, “Ensure that people with mental health problems are at the heart of decisions that affect their lives, whilst supporting recovery and reducing stigma and discrimination”).
Third, they stay fresh. They review their main areas of funding every four years, ie, check pretty frequently that they are addressing the priorities. They involve experts in each field to advise on their strategy and operations.
Where does the money go?
They publish their criteria for assessing charities 🙂 – if you’re going to raise funds from other people, you really should tell them how you decide where to put it, it seems to me.
Yes, they report on how much they raise (the input), but they also report on what they achieve (the output) – which after all is the aim of the game. This indicates that they’re more interested in results than process (sometimes donors’ processes takes over, which is a bit of a disaster). For example, this table below is from the results section of their website:
The activity is spread across organisations which directly support individuals and also ones which change government policy, public awareness and system-wide change. An example if the latter is them co-funding a major campaign to change attitudes in the UK to people with mental health problems, ending the discrimination they face.
What else do they do?
They add value to your money. They use their brand, their contacts (eg, getting Sainsbury’s to stock more Fairtrade; getting Alesha Dixon and Chris Moyles et al to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness of malaria; and working with the BBC to make programming highlighting abuse of older people) and their influence with other funders.
And lastly, isn’t their fundraising this year just brilliantly innovative? I just love the way they’ve gone out of their way to appeal to people / budgets which might not otherwise be available for charity – win the chance to conduct the BBC Singers (good news for aspiring musicians), get on a comedy flight, win being the cover-face of BA’s inflight magazine (good news for self-publicists).
Donate to Comic Relief: https://www.comicrelief.com/donate