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Top 10 Admin Challenges Facing Charities


Charities and third sector organisations have a daily struggle of making a positive impact on the world around them while battling against rising costs, a lack of time and more people in need and more worthy causes than ever before.

COVID has put a particular strain on the third sector as when times get tough, one of the first things the general public puts a stop to is extra spending, like donations to charities. 

Cancer Research UK, one of the most known charities in the country, has projected a £300m drop in fundraising across the next three years, demonstrating how vitally these organisations need support and educating where they can cut costs and streamline processes in order to maximise their fundraising efforts and good works across the world. Read on to see some of the top challenges they face while trying to make a difference:

1. Donations

For those charities that are still receiving donations, managing and tracking the incoming gifts isn’t as simple as it seems. Every penny that gets dropped into a bucket, every donation from a charity bike ride and every bank transfer needs accounting for and attributing somewhere. This is a nice task to do, supervising good will, but it’s still a time investment and an oh-so-important one.

2. Organising Fundraisers

While black tie events are hard to come by in the current climate, you can still organise fundraising activities and mobilise the public to get out there and bike, read and sit-in-baked-beans to the max. What you need here is a super organised event manager, who can get all the right people the right information at the right time, and therefore ensure that fundraising for your charity is fun as well as fruitful!

3. Finding Volunteers

Charities across the world rely on the hard work of their volunteers. Whether it’s delivering food parcels to the housebound or manning the phones on a free helpline, manpower can be a gift to those in need. Difficulties here include wrangling volunteers to be in the right place at the right time or manning the phones to ensure consistent coverage. Both equally important, as having the right dedicated people means that more individuals get the help they need!

4. Social Media Marketing

Whether you’re social media savvy or not, in all likelihood your supporters are, and using platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are fantastic ways to reach your existing community and potential new members with updates, opportunities and all important ways to reach out for help. This is all about having a clear plan and some clear messages to communicate, then taking the time to curate and design your feed. Needs a bit of creativity and lots of thought.

Download your free social media content calendar template.

5. Email Campaign Marketing

Email marketing is a way to stay in your community’s mind. Regular updates, similar to content shared on social media, is a great way to jog someone’s mind into making a donation or volunteering some of their time. The secret to great email marketing is two fold; timing and your subject line. Get someone at the right time with an engaging, impossible-to-resist subject line and your engagement will shoot through the roof. Very important for not only capturing, but maintaining your database’s attention.

6. Accounting

Whether it’s payroll, keeping the books or considering new financial investments, accounting is incredibly important and can be expensive for a full-time member of staff. Expertise in this field means you spend only as much as you need to and get the maximum return for every penny.

7. HR

As we’ve said, charities rely on the goodwill and hardwork of their people, but people need managing, listening to, developing and rewarding. An expert HR professional combined with a quality platform will mean your people feel nurtured, respected and included, and team retention has never been more important, especially when difficult decisions are having to be made daily.

8. Legal Support

There is red tape in any organisation, none more so than certain charity areas. If you’re dealing with international support or liaising with government departments and local authorities, you need someone who understands the hoops to jump through and who can empower your organisation to operate as freely as the law allows. You don’t want to get stuck being legal bureaucracy and be prevented from helping those that need you.

9. CRM Management

Data has become one of the most precious commodities in recent years, and thanks to the introduction of GDPR, needs guarding and managing incredibly carefully. The right CRM can avoid multiple headaches around data protection, customer care and general database analysis. Whether you need support implementing a new one or managing your existing software, getting this right will help you maximise your database’s potential.

10. Handing Phone Calls

Answering the phone takes time. It isn’t as simple as picking up the call, it’s the follow up, it’s the email that needs sending and any other ensuing actions; all of which takes up time that could be spent courting a big donor or simply getting your hands dirty and being helpful. Having a dedicated call handler means your attention goes where it’s needed.


The good news is, an organisation like SmartPA can handle the management of all the above, and do so for multiple charity and third sector clients. Something really important to note, if you’re in the market for some business support, is to pick an organisation that shares your values. We pride ourselves on our values and our culture; the reason our service is so impactful is that we focus on happy people, because happy people provide better support. Simple. 

To find out more, watch this short video from one of our SmartPAs, Bailey, as she talks you through how we support Beauty Banks in their endeavours to support those in hygiene poverty across the UK.