We love our name – it sums up in one simple word why we set up our consultancy. It is our raisin d’etre and guides all that we do. Put simply, we want to help make charities of all sizes, everywhere even more successful than they currently are. We want to help them develop, grow, prosper and THRIVE. Here’s our top five things on what we believe makes charities thrive
- The two P’s – People and Passion
Charities are all about people – the beneficiaries, the supporters, the volunteers, the Trustees, the staff – in fact all the people who make it happen. But it’s passion that drives successful charities and it’s people that bring that passion. So how do you channel the two P’s to greatest effect?
Over the last 20 years I have seen (and led) some great examples of charities working effectively to channel the people and the passion. Get it right and it’s a powerful force for development and growth. Get it wrong and it can be a disaster and hold you back. It starts with a clear vision and mission backed up with strong organisational values (the living type not the passive type simply stencilled on the office wall). Get these right, ensure the people understand them, create a culture that lives by them. Have a focused and ambitious plan that people understand. Motivate and excite people about your work and ensure that everyone is clear on the vital role they have to play within it. Do that and you will be halfway there. This video from Crohn’s and Colitis UK is a great example which brings together a number of these elements – check it out.
- A clear purpose and an ambitious plan
Sounds obvious eh? I’m often amazed at how charities of all sizes can struggle to develop a clear and focused plan that everyone understands and is working towards. Worse still are those organisations that don’t actually have a plan! Quite often, people either seem to be too busy delivering the ‘day job’ or they get themselves seriously tied up in knots with the vital task of developing their plan for the future – nine times out of ten it can be both! Lets be clear – strategy, planning and getting people all facing in the same direction is no mean feat but those charities who do it well are the ones who are likely to thrive the most.
- Funding, Collaboration and the M word
Clearly the number one issue faced by so many charities is raising the funds to deliver their work. Money talks but effective collaboration, partnerships and the good old charity M-Word – mergers can deliver real impact. Increasingly (and understandably) people want to see greater collaboration and less competition between charities. Recently, the CEO of Barnardo’s Javed Khan was reported as saying that charities are being forced to use donors’ money to compete against each other. That is not a great message to be sending supporters and funders (in actual fact anyone) and as Javed goes on to say it’s certainly not ‘what donors give their money for’. Along similar lines, this week Sarah Lindsell CEO of the Brain Tumour Charity delivered another bold but simple statement telling charities to merge rather than collaborate. Do that she said and you will achieve real change. I couldn’t agree more.
- Strong Governance
Getting the Board/Executive balance right is clearly crucial for future success. An effective Board will provide good governance and leadership by understanding their role and by offering strong support and healthy challenge. Just this week I met a Trustee who told me they ‘were not really sure what their role was and they were unclear on what they should be doing’! How does your Board do?
If there has been any buzz word in the sector over the last couple of years ‘Trust’ has to be up there. Never in the history of charities has there ever been such a strong and sustained spotlight shone onto the third sector. I believe this has (overall) been a good thing and a necessary pain for the sector to go through. The media spotlight, the regulation, the unearthing and rooting out of bad fundraising practice has forced charities to look hard at themselves. The challenge now is for the sector to come together and work hard to move the debate on and bring renewed trust and confidence. If we do that, and do it well it will help all charities across the UK to really THRIVE.
- The two P’s – People and Passion
A BIT ABOUT ME
Former charity CEO passionate about helping charities and not for profit organisations across the UK to Thrive. With over 25 years experience I support people and charities to be the very best they can be. I recently set up Thrive Charity Consulting offering a wealth of insight, experience and expert advice. We help people to solve problems, overcome challenges and maximise individual and organisational effectiveness.
Contact us to find out how we could help your charity.