Blog: How we spend your money - a question of choice

Should donors and fundraisers have more choice over where their money is spent? It's an ongoing debate among charities not just in the UK, but all over the world.

At The Brain Tumour Charity, our Supporter Groups are able to select an area of work to fund after they have raised £10,000. Some choose to put their money towards research into a particular tumour type, while they can also opt for our HeadSmart early diagnosis campaign or our support services. Many other groups leave it to us to allocate funds where they are most needed.

Set up in memory of a loved one of inspired by someone living with a brain tumour, most Supporter Groups fundraise over a period of many years and provide us with the long-term, sustainable funding we need to secure the future of our ambitious plans. We offer them a choice as a way of saying thank you and to keep them inspired on their fundraising journey.

The question is – can charities achieve their goals faster if they offer more of their supporters more choice?

Some experts in the sector argue that allowing donors and fundraisers the chance to select a specific project leads to passionate supporters and increased revenues. They suggest that not offering choice prevents charities from talking to people about what really matters to them, limiting the potential of what might have been long and fruitful relationships.

Others say that funds which are completely unrestricted are vital to charities, giving them the flexibility to make the maximum impact for people affected by the cause. It is argued that having too much money tied down can hamper innovative approaches that could lead to the next big breakthrough or discovery.

Perhaps a more pressing concern for most supporters is how effectively their money is being used. At The Brain Tumour Charity, we are proud that 80p in every £1 we are given is directly invested in our charitable work, with the rest being used to help us increase our fundraising income so we can find a cure as fast as possible.

Following the recent launch of A Cure Can't Wait: Our Research Strategy, our supporters can also be confident that we are committed to driving forward new treatments and improvements in quality of life for everyone with a brain tumour, no matter what their tumour type. With a minimum investment of £20million in the highest possible quality research over the next five years, we are dedicated to creating a world where all types of brain tumour are defeated.

Should supporters have more choice so they can help fund something that is close to their heart? Is it better for fundraisers and donors to give where the money is most needed? Or is it more important for us to be concerned about the impact and potential of the charity's work?