Painting a picture: Funding Review 2014’s ‘call for evidence’

Last month NCVO, alongside Charity Finance Group, the Institute of Fundraising, Navca and Small Charities Coalition, launched a review into the financial sustainability of the voluntary sector.

I wrote about it being a ‘MOT for the voluntary sector’s finances’ and now we are launching our call for evidence which will give voluntary organisations the chance to tell their stories about the impact of the recession and how they adapted to the changing funding environment.

Why do we need a call for evidence?

Every organisation has been affected differently by the recession and this call for evidence is a chance for all these different perspectives to be considered.

The more information that we can gather on ways that voluntary organisations have tried to change their in response to the recession, the richer the picture that we will be able to paint of the sector finances over the past five years, and the stronger the review process will be.

How can you help?

We are asking organisations to consider the impact of the recession on three different aspects of their finances: income; expenditure and assets.

Our latest Almanac reported a fall of the sector’s income of over £650m in 2011/12 – but this only tells part of the story. We want to know how different income sources have changed for voluntary organisations since 2009. Has your organisation lost grant funding or increased revenue through trading? Has your organisation won a contract or lost a regular donation from a business?  What steps have you taken to generate more income?

We also want to know how your organisation’s spending has been impacted by the recession. Where have you tried to make savings? Where have you sought to invest more to make your resources go further or generate more income? Have you tried to use digital technology? Have you sought to build new partnerships with other voluntary organisations, joined consortia to bid for contracts or considered merging with another organisation?

Finally, we want to know about how the sector uses its assets. The voluntary sector owns over £120bn in assets such as cash, property or investments. We want to know how organisations have used those assets since the recession to support their financial sustainability. Has your organisation sought to develop new services out of a building you own, for example? We also want to know whether you have sought to borrow in order to support your organisation’s work – particularly if you have tried to access social investment.

There are also opportunities in the review for organisations to discuss other ways that the recession has impacted your organisation.

Spread the word

We want as many organisations to take part in this call for evidence as possible, so please pass it on to any other organisations you know in the sector.

The call for evidence will be open till 30 September 2014.

Alternatively, if you would like to get in touch directly to find out more information about the review or if you have any questions about the call for evidence, please get in touch by leaving a comment below or email: andrew.obrien@ncvo.org.uk

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Andrew was NCVO’s senior policy officer. He covered issues around funding, social investment, tax and the impact of the economy on the voluntary sector. Andrew has left NCVO, but his posts are kept here for reference purposes.

3 Responses to Painting a picture: Funding Review 2014’s ‘call for evidence’

  1. Mizinga titus says:

    May l know if practical support is extended even to organization operating in Africa (zambia)? If not is there any other department within your operational circle which does that or donor(s) that you can link us to?

  2. Hi, we are a small Cornish charity, employing 2 staff about 20 volunteers. Our our cost of youth work delivery is much higher than main stream youth clubs because of the extra amount of room , vehcles and volunteers we need due to our memebers having physical disabilities.
    We are finding that there are alot more organisations that used to be funded by the council now becoming independent and going for the same grants and community fundraising as us.
    Where we have been given grants funders are asking for more and more evidence, mostly quantitative and also changing there minds into the funding period about what information they want. So less of the money that we are getting is going o delivery and more on planning and evidencing.
    We are also being told conflicting messages by large grant bodies. One will say we have to much in reserves and then another will say we are not desperate enough and there are others who need it to keep afloat.
    Within the non profit sector there is less scope for people to spply good will. A couple of years ago we would do a favour for another organisation and they would do one ni return, now we are having to pay full cost for those services as organisations are being required to show how they are making revenue.

  3. Diane Doyle says:

    2 years ago we also lost our contract with the local council and have had to rely on our fundraising to keep us afloat. Fortunately we don’t need tens of thousands of pounds to continue and we have been very lucky to have secured the funding required to break even. Unfortunately, we have become victims of our success, as like yourselves we are now being told we have too much in reserve, or we don’t need the funding as much as other charities. You can’t win.