News Column

Call for Evidence Launched on Financial Sustainability of Voluntary Sector

July 28, 2014



LONDON, July 28 -- The National Council for Voluntary Organisations issued the following news release:

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has today launched a call for evidence as part of a review into the voluntary sector's finances, alongside its partners Charity Finance Group, the Institute of Fundraising, Navca and Small Charities Coalition.

The call for evidence, which is open to all voluntary organisations, provides the opportunity for respondents to tell their story about the impact of the recession on their organisation and how they have adapted to the changing funding environment.

The call for evidence will be used to inform the work of the review, which was launched last month, and highlight potential case studies to demonstrate approaches that voluntary organisations have taken to cope with the tough financial climate.

The call for evidence will close on Tuesday 30 September 2014.

The review, led by NCVO, is directed by a steering group comprised of the chief executives of Charity Finance Group, the Institute of Fundraising, and Navca, as well as a representative of the Small Charities Coalition, and Andrew Hind CB, editor of Charity Finance.

The review aims to assess the financial sustainability of voluntary organisations, identify trends that have emerged in the income, expenditure and assets of the voluntary sector since the recession and provide analysis to enable the voluntary sector to plan for the future.

It will also make recommendations to policymakers on how to improve the financial sustainability of the voluntary sector and provide practical advice and support to help voluntary organisations become more financially sustainable. The review is due to publish a final report in early 2015.

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive at NCVO, said:

'Gathering evidence about the way that organisations have faced the challenges of the economic downturn of recent years is a crucial part of informing our funding review. For many organisations the recession will have thrown any financial issues into sharper relief. How they dealt with the problems they faced will give us insight into how the whole sector can adapt for the future.'

Caron Bradshaw, chief executive officer at Charity Finance Group said:

'Charities are still reeling from the impact of the recession, but this review provides a timely opportunity to take stock of the changes in income streams that have affected the sector as a whole. There are a number of challenges facing the sector in the years ahead: diversifying income, building sustainable business models, facing the pension challenge and enhancing financial capability to name a few. But in order to meet them and have informed conversations with government on the support the sector needs, we need to understand the state of the sector's finances as they currently stand - this review is an important part of that process.'

Peter Lewis, chief executive officer at the Institute of Fundraising said:

'Voluntary organisations are operating in a tough financial environment and fundraisers have played a crucial role in raising much-needed income for the sector as organisations come to terms with the impact of the recession. I hope that organisations engage with this review so that we are able to gain the fullest picture of how the sector is operating as well as looking forwards to what the future may hold.'

John Barrett, director at Small Charities Coalition said:

'We know many small charities continue to adjust well to the increased competitive funding environment and this review provides an opportunity for us to listen to these stories so that we can better understand the impact of the recession on small charities, learn from their challenges and share their successes.'

Neil Cleeveley, acting chief executive, NAVCA said:

'We know the recession and public spending cuts have not affected everyone equally. This review will provide a better understanding of the difference voluntary action makes by looking at the type of work charities do, where they are based and their size. This will be valuable intelligence to help target those most needing support.'

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