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July 2, 2015

Small charities must adapt to survive and thrive

Tinashe Sithole, Communications and Research Officer at Career Volunteer, explains why small charities must adapt to survive and thrive.

As you may or may not know, we love small charities: we all either volunteer with one on projects or are trustees of a small charity. So naturally we're worried when we see that some of our beloved friends are struggling to be effective due to skill gaps in their organisations.

The 13th-17th June was Small Charity Week organised by the Foundation of Social Improvement, and the UK Small Charity Skills Survey released at its launch showed that for a number of reasons small charities are failing to connect with businesses, using their skills and experience and benefitting from business volunteers.

The findings showed that the poorest skills performing ratings were given to lobbying, utilising social media, structuring communications, and keeping up with the latest HR laws and practices, in that order. These are all skills that are vital to the running of any small, medium or large organisation.

But even though 4 in 10 people said that connecting with a business and using their skills and experience would benefit their organisation, and help fill relevant skills gaps, only 17% of respondents said that their organisation is using this as a resource.

This is more of a concern given that 61% of respondents reported an increase in workload across their organisations and 51% said delivery time for work had also increased.  All of which will and is having a negative impact on small charities abilities to expand services.

Charity People's sister company, Career Volunteer work with corporates such as British Land and Legal & General, connecting their talented people to great organisations in the third sector. John Stewart has seen the benefits of business volunteers from all perspectives as the Chair of the board of trustees for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and Chairman of Legal & General. He refers to the "win, win, win situation: a win for the individual, a win for their organisation and a win for the charity."

To read the full blog post on the FSI's research click here.

For more information about how skilled volunteers can benefit your organisation contact Dr Louise Erskine, Head of Programmes and Research at Career Volunteer.

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