Recently published The Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2017/18 makes for sobering reading. Support organisation Localgiving have undertaken a survey on sustainability over the past three years, so it is possible to start to see trends emerging for this group of charities. The report reminds us of an all too familiar story with the local voluntary sector being stretched to capacity, and there are well founded fears about the prospects of long term survival across the sector. Although 82% of respondents said they were confident that they will sustain themselves financially over the next year, only 47% were confident of financial stability in 5 years’ time. It’s a frightening statistic, especially as these charities are seeing a year on year rise in the demand for their much needed services.
But charities don’t just want to survive, they want and need to flourish, to be the best they can be to support their mission and values. The report recommends that to be serious about creating a more sustainable local voluntary sector we must commit to developing comprehensive long-term support to the sector, and we would wholeheartedly concur with that. We’ve undertaken work with charities to help them consider key aspects of sustainability for several years, and it is, without a doubt, an area of organisational development for which there is widespread demand. The loss of those vital services would be devastating for the beneficiaries of charities which may be facing closure within the next 5 years. Those who are in leadership roles in charities and their funders should do all they can to ensure that organisational sustainability is the top priority on their development agendas.
Lasting Difference Development Manager