Big Issue founder calls for marketers’ expertise…

Big Issue founder John Bird is calling for an “Academy of Marketers” to help transform charities from donation-dependent bodies into self-sufficient businesses.

Bird, whose six-year-old Big Issue magazine has a 12m turnover, is calling for top marketers to donate their time and guide charities in the transition from handout dependent causes to self-funding companies.

The Big Issue is a tax-paying organisation, which uses its profit to help the homeless. It survives because its magazine is a viable product, says Bird.

He says other charities must seek to copy this business model, and break their reliance on public handouts, which he warns will dry up as Britain undergoes “giving fatigue”.

Bird is calling on major corporations to help steer that change. Instead of handing over large cheques to charities in exchange for a newspaper or TV plug, companies should be donating their marketing expertise, he says.

“I’ve got plenty of large cheques but I keep telling these people I don’t need your money, I need your expertise.”

Bird fears that the National Lottery handouts, which have enabled new charities to be set up, will cause long-term damage as more charities make demands on the public to fill coffers when Lottery money runs out. Unless vital marketing experience is sought, he says charities will be left stranded as funds, and compassion, are exhausted.

“There is not a charity in the country that could not be run as a social business. But marketing and business expertise is needed,” he adds.

Latest from Marketing Week

PLEASE SIGN IN OR REGISTER. IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here