What challenges are smaller charities facing?
With pressure and rising competition from larger, better-funded charities, it is clear that smaller charities have begun to feel the pinch and are also facing further barriers to growth and funding.
A survey by TSB has highlighted that of the 301 small charities they surveyed, 61% reported that they are facing skill gaps within their organisations, resulting in an increased workload for their existing staff and volunteers. 43% of the charities TSB spoke to also stated that they are unable to take on new work and therefore growth has begun to suffer. Another barrier to growth raised by small charities is a lack of awareness of what they do, 38% of 1,000 adults are unable to name one local charity despite them making up nearly 97% of the UK charity sector.
Collaboration is key
A recent report produced by the FSI has suggested that charities need to collaborate with one another to make safe their futures and alleviate some of the pressure they are facing. Nearly one in ten small charities admit to struggling to stay afloat and that closure is a very real outlook if something doesn’t change and 26% of small charities are experiencing declining funds. Pauline Broom, chief executive of the FSI said:
“In isolation, (charities) may be too small to take a great idea or a great solution to a wider beneficiary audience but partnering up with another organisations, like LGBT Consortium, can set the wheels in motion,” she said.
She continued by stating that the sector's failure to collaborate, poses the risk of "missing out on a vital opportunity" and "wasting time on superficial partnerships that don’t add any real and lasting value to the support and services we deliver". (Source: Civil Society)
How can charities collaborate?
The FSI outlined 5 types of collaboration and also noted that despite concerns, of the 708 respondents they surveyed, 66% said they were engaging in collaboration in one form or another. Of the 5 types, networking is the most common form of collaboration used by small charities. The 5 methods outlined are:
- Strategic Alliances
- Formal partnerships
- Joint ventures
How are CAN helping small charities collaborate?
CAN as a social enterprise, is very aware of the challenges faced by charities, and offers service to both support and encourage collaboration and growth.
Our CAN Mezzanine service, offering affordable office space in central and east London, gives our clients the opportunity to build and be a part of a community. We also regularly run networking breakfasts and events to encourage collaboration. We have just sent out our third annual survey to monitor our commitment to providing a collaborative atmosphere to our customers and we look forward to seeing the results. Here are the results of last year’s survey: