Government, funders, and large charities must take action to help smaller charities survive into the future, according to a new report.
Lloyds Bank Foundation’s Facing Forward report identifies and analyses ten upcoming political, economic, social and technological changes that the Foundation believes will dramatically affect the operating landscape for small and medium charities in England and Wales.
The ten trends to watch include the road to Brexit, an unpredictable economy, cuts to council-funded services, a reshaping of public services, technological developments, and public trust issues.
The report sets out a plan for small charities to help them take action and adapt to meet these challenges, such as by diversifying their income, developing collaborations, improving digital abilities, and looking after their staff.
In addition, the report calls for clear and decisive action from other stakeholders whose actions influence the survival of small charities, stating that:
- National and local government must use appropriate commissioning processes when securing public services
- Funders must fund charities to build their capacity and effectiveness rather than constantly seeking innovation
- Larger charities must seek to collaborate with small charities rather than compete against them for public service contracts
In response to the analysis, Lloyds Bank Foundation has also annnounced its own plans for better supporting small charities, including:
- Providing greater financial stability for small charities by offering some charities it supports a further three years funding with no new grant application processes
- Influencing the policy and operating environment for small charities with a new £100,000 investment in the Small Charities Coalition, to fund its policy and engagement work
- Evidencing the social and economic value of small charities with a new independent study by Sheffield Hallam University, IVAR and Open University
Paul Streets, chief executive of Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales said:
“For many small and local charities, issues like Brexit and the changing political landscape can be difficult to plan for if you’re facing a constant battle to deliver essential public services, with ever dwindling resources.
“We’re doing our bit by improving our grant making and continuing to lobby for change, but Government, other funders and larger charities must also set out how they will support small charities through the tough times ahead. The future of too many essential public services and charities working at the heart of local communities is at risk if we don’t collectively act now.”
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