Fundraising

EMERGENCY can pursue its humanitarian objectives thanks to the support of those who share our vision of healthcare and the principles that drive it. Numerous individuals, companies, foundations, entities and institutions commit to working alongside our doctors, nurses, and professionals worldwide to ensure that we can continue to provide free and high-quality medical and surgical treatment to the victims of war, landmines, poverty, and exploitation.
For EMERGENCY they are not only supporters, but companions. They are integral to our work: enabling us to pursue our projects independently and impartially, but above all to constantly improve the services for patients at our hospitals, healthcare centres, outpatient clinics and rehabilitation centres.

Total funds raised in 2019 amounted to €53,877,340[1], an increase on the previous year, mainly due to increased donations and contributions earmarked for specific projects. €9,006,644 went on building and opening the hospital in Uganda. The building costs for the hospital were listed under fixed assets in progress and the revenue was included in the income statement to cover amortisation of the building costs once the hospital is up and running. Deferred revenue also includes other donations earmarked for covering costs that will materialise in 2020, totalling €1,031,793.

Historically, EMERGENCY has always received funds following communications campaigns. Descriptions of our work, stories from our doctors, information on the countries we work in, have for many years been the stimulus for our support amongst members of the public who contribute to our work. The growing needs of the organisation and the change in backdrop have increased the need for an effective structure in this field of our work. Stabilising, increasing and diversifying the organisation’s revenues are three priorities for EMERGENCY, as decided by the Board of Directors in their strategic plan in 2017. The nature of the organisation’s projects, all of them long-term, requires a consolidation of its sources of income and a constant increase in fundraising.

In terms of private donors particularly, the organisation felt it necessary to increase and consolidate revenue from regular donors to ensure that projects were sustainable. Diversifying fundraising sources means being able to absorb any crises in fundraising. For private giving, donation levels may be affected by economic crisis. In terms of institutional donors, the availability of their donations may vary depending on their financial capacities, their priorities and – as with private donors – potential new humanitarian crises[2].

To meet the needs we identified and the goals we set in 2017, we have spent the last two years developing our fundraising office, adding new people for certain activities: direct dialogue, retention, major donors, managing the donor database and supporting donor care.
We began a project of acquiring donors through direct dialogue, starting a new collaboration with two companies that worked in close contact with our network of volunteers. After a preliminary testing phase in 2017, over the following two years we have had very encouraging results, both in terms of the goals we have set ourselves and the welcome our interlocutors have got from the public, who have always shown their support and appreciation for our work.

The results have been very positive, with an impressive increase in donors, as this table shows:

To meet the needs we identified and the goals we set in 2017, we have spent the last two years developing our fundraising office, adding new people for certain activities: direct dialogue, retention, major donors, managing the donor database and supporting donor care.
We began a project of acquiring donors through direct dialogue, starting a new collaboration with two companies that worked in close contact with our network of volunteers. After a preliminary testing phase in 2017, over the following two years we have had very encouraging results, both in terms of the goals we have set ourselves and the welcome our interlocutors have got from the public, who have always shown their support and appreciation for our work.

The results have been very positive, with an impressive increase in donors, as this table shows:

Direct dialogue is not our only means of acquisition. In the last year particularly, we saw a big increase in direct debit payments from our digital channel. Acquisition costs were slightly higher but this is a sector worth developing given its returns and the chance of starting continuous dialogue with donors.

Out of a total of 1,803 new regular donors in 2017, the main acquisition channels were digital (753 donors), events (591) and the quarterly journal (245), with just 48 new donors from face-to-face. In 2019, out of a total of 6,847 new regular donors, the main acquisition channels were face-to-face (5,101 donors), digital (1,281) and events (309).

In 2018, we created a new role in retention, in charge of attracting loyal donors with specific communication plans, in close collaboration with our database marketing manager. In 2019, this person’s work let us make another step forward in managing relationships with donors, planning calls for fundraising on certain dates throughout the year for specific projects, with the help of an external call centre.

Communication still plays a very important part in the organisation’s fundraising, as it always has. Broad visibility in the media, having our charismatic founder Gino Strada as a figurehead, projects by local volunteer groups and constant dialogue with sympathisers through our digital channels are indispensable to this process.

The visibility of the organisation and the reputation it enjoys are the reasons for the ever better results of the annual 5×1000 campaign.
In each of the last three years the organisation has received the highest number of subscriptions in the voluntary sector, and the second-highest number in any sector in Italy with 300,000 subscriptions. The number of subscriptions has fallen over the last three years as a result of a political and social upheaval, linked in particular to the criminalisation of charities. The data shows comparable downturns for other organisations with similar aims and programmes.

THE PRINCIPLES OF FUNDRAISING

The three key principles that drive the EMERGENCY’s fundraising are INDEPENDENCE, EFFICACY and TRANSPARENCY[3].

INDIPENDENCE

EMERGENCY has always been independent and neutral. Independence is necessary to maintain neutrality, which in turn is fundamental to guarantee the safety of our staff and the efficacy of our projects. Due to this, EMERGENCY has always prioritised fundraising from private donors, considering the possibility of benefiting from institutional funding only when the donor’s intervention strategies do not compromise the projects.

EFFICACY

EMERGENCY plans all activities carefully to minimise management costs and allocate as much funding as possible to institutional activities and seeking healthcare outcomes. In 2018, 86% of our funds were spent on our activities – 80% on humanitarian projects and approximately 6% on promoting a culture of peace – and 8% on running costs. The other 6% was invested in fundraising for projects.

TRANSPARENCY

EMERGENCY communicates and reports the use of funds raised to its donors. We inform them periodically about who we are, what we do, and especially about how and why we do it, so that donors are confident that their generosity translates into tangible benefits for our patients. Every year, we publish our financial statements on the en.emergency.it website, as well as in an Italian daily newspaper.

PRIVATE FUNDRAISING

Private donors, individuals and companies represent 65.43% of our fundraising

Among these, the people who choose to support the organisation with small and large sums, regular or one-off donations, 5×1000 tax returns, EMERGENCY membership, the purchase of gadgets or products for Christmas, anniversaries, or as a legacy, all play an extremely important role.

The contribution of individual donors is essential to ensure the independence of our choices, and enables our priorities to be directed by the health needs we encounter and not dictated by governments or institutional actors. Furthermore, the ongoing nature of our work and the need to plan long-term hospital activities require us to be able to count on regular and predictable sources of funding.

[span]12,728,342 Euros[/span]<em>FROM 5X1000</em>

5×1000 allows Italian citizens to donate a certain proportion of their income tax to the organisation without incurring any cost, simply by entering our tax code and signing under the heading ‘Voluntary Support’ on the form.

In 2019, EMERGENCY was the number one beneficiary in the voluntary sector and received an amount of 12,728,342 Euros from a total of 356,672 supporters, 23,001 less than in the previous year.

[span]14,349,259 Euros[/span]<em>FROM INDIVIDUAL</em>

In 2019 we raised 14,349,259 Euros from individual donations. There were 59,890 one-off donors and 17,431 regular donors. A legacy is a very important gesture, one that represents an individual’s desire to continue to act in accordance with their values by supporting EMERGENCY’s work.

Contributions are allocated to our projects in Italy and worldwide according to the wishes of the testators. In 2019 legacy donations totalled 3,766,754 Euros.

[span]1,863,695 Euros[/span]<em>FROM COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY</em>

Commercial activity, carried out on an ongoing basis, has historically developed along two lines: the production and sale of gadgets/merchandise, and Christmas shops in the months building up to the holiday season.

In 2019 revenues from the sale of goods and services amounted to 1,863,695 Euros, 64% of which came from the information and awareness-raising zones established during the Christmas period in 14 Italian cities: Milan, Rome, Bologna, Brescia, Cagliari, Florence, Genoa, L’Aquila, Naples, Padua, Perugia, Pisa, Turin and Trento. For 30 days 600 volunteers dedicated their time and energy to carrying out sales, awarenessraising, and fundraising activities, leading to a total of 1,219,385 Euros (22,618 euros of it donations).

Another commercial development in 2019 was that origin, supply chain, environmental, and social impact were considered when assessing both products’ and suppliers’ ethics. For Christmas 2019, 650 businesses chose to support us by donating their products.

[span]1,190,868 Euros[/span]<em>FROM COMPANIES</em>

In 2019 companies who chose to support EMERGENCY donated 1,190,868 Euros. Most of the funds received went on building the Centre of Excellence in Paediatric Surgery in Entebbe, in Uganda.

In 2019, in collaboration with the company Galbusera and the historic brand of sweets for special occasions Tre Marie, we made a special panettone. Thanks to our volunteer groups, Christmas markets and company office, we sold 13,668 panettones and generated a total of 119,788 Euros.

In the choice of partners and business supporters, EMERGENCY acts in compliance with a Code of Ethics available on the corporate website.

INSTITUTIONAL FUNDRAISING

In 2019, EMERGENCY was one of the winners of the ‘global citizenship education’ tender by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS). In partnership with Fondazione ISMU – Initiatives and Studies on Multi-ethnicity, Istituto Universitario Salesiano di Venezia (IUSVE) and the publishing house Tunué, we launched the project ‘No to war. For a peaceful society that accepts human rights and diversity between peoples’.

By education, raising awareness and getting people involved, the project aims to teach people more about solidarity and social inclusivity, encouraging citizens, particularly teachers, pupils and young people, to get actively involved in spreading a culture of peace and non violence in their everyday lives, at work and in their communities.

For launching new projects and expanding work we had already begun, in 2019 we went on relying on contributions from institutional donors, including: the European Union’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) and Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)[*] and the World Health Organization (WHO)[4].

FOCUS ON FOUNDATIONS

In 2019, EMERGENCY decided to strengthen its income channels and invest in an office for fundraising from foundations. This was a strategic choice to meet the organisation’s need to diversify its revenue and make the most of the channel in question. Also, the distinct characteristics of our organisation, like training, long-term commitment and the high quality of the services we provide, ensure we have
the credibility needed for long-term collaborations and commitments with foundations. The work we have done in this first year has seen us cement several partnerships and bolster our relationships, besides starting dialogues with new foundations.
The office also has the double goal of maximising collaboration with our affiliates in the UK, the USA, Switzerland and Belgium, and giving the organisation a louder voice across international institutions. In 2019, EMERGENCY became a member of the European Foundation Centre (EFC) and a partner of the Qatar Foundation’s World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH).

LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONTRIBUTIONS

In all our projects, we collaborate with local authorities to define activities and training programmes for local staff. Our aim is to contribute to the growth and sustainability of national health systems, not to replace them. It is essential that governments not only share the objectives of but also support hospitals, including financially, to ensure effective hand-over in future.

Collaboration with governments and local authorities does not imply that we share their policies, but rather assumes that they will take responsibility for the treatment and health services of their citizens and, with a view to the long term, allow and facilitate future hand-over, once EMERGENCY is no longer required.

Over the years, we have intensified dialogue with local authorities, which has led to official commitments to provide appropriations in their budgets. In 2019, EMERGENCY received €2,226,165 from Sudan, €2,149,292 from Afghanistan, €221,723 from Sierra Leone and €998,712 from Uganda.

HOW WE USED OUR FUNDS IN 2019

TOTAL: 53,716,991 Euros

 

86%
86%
COSTS INVESTED IN AIMS IN THE STATUTE (HUMANITARIAN PROJECTS AND CULTURE OF PEACE)
14%
14%
COSTS OF SUPPORT ACTIVITIES AND FUNDRAISING
80%
80%
HUMANITARIAN PROJECTS
6%
6%
PROMOTING A CULTURE OF PEACE
8%
8%
MANAGEMENT COSTS
6%
6%
FUNDRAISING COSTS

SUPPLIERS AND TRANSPARENCY[5]

To set up our Christmas markets, we get in touch with several companies, small and medium, linked to the local areas where they produce their goods. We ask them to donate traditional products that rely on local skills or represent industries with a positive social impact. These are excellent, regional, traditional and niche products, mostly food, not made for large-scale distribution. We have about 650 companies all over Italy that choose to donate us their products.

The companies we get our products from are chosen because they are useful and sustainable and because of the products they sell; some, like biscuits, chocolates, herbal tea, nougat and crackers, are made by prisoners or come from charitable supply chains, and some, like old T-shirts and EMERGENCY branded gadgets, are reused or recycled.