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Business Daily - Charities under pressure

Business Daily looks at the strains and competitive pressures on charities as people cut back on donations - and how some rich philanthropists are deciding to go it alone.

Business Daily looks at the strains and competitive pressures on charities as people cut back on donations - and how some rich philanthropists are deciding to go it alone.

Across the world, charities and other non-profit organisations have had to adapt from the old models. Many have been hit hard by the global economic downturn. They're having to become more selective, more hard-headed, and more efficient with the resources they have.

For a view from the United States on the effects of the economic downturn, Lesley Curwen spoke to Daniel Borochoff, the president of the American Institute of Philanthropy.

In the midst of this competitive and difficult period for charities and non-profitmaking bodies, some very rich people are deciding to - simply set up their own. And some visionary entrepreneurs are taking a more creative approach - using their own finely-honed business skills. Take Jorn Lyseggen, the extremely successful Norwegian founder of the Meltwater group, which sells software to businesses; it's based in Silicon Valley in California. He decided to pursue his own vision - to pass on the skills he and his team have - to a new generation of entrepreneurs, in West Africa. Last year, in 2008, he set up MEST, the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of techology in Accra, the capital of Ghana, and he runs it like a business.

Charities need to use a whole range of business skills, including slick marketing, to survive. And increasingly, people from the cut-and-thrust world of business are being drawn to work for good causes. Caroline Yates is chief executive of the Mayhew Animal Home, a charity based in Kensal Green, north London.

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