In 2011, as the country dragged itself out from the doldrums of of the 2008 recession I had the good fortune to be at a lunch with the, now former, Chief Executive of a well-known UK children’s charity. He was explaining to me the oxymoronic situation charities find themselves in when the economy hits the skids.

His rational for this slightly bizarre logic was that as people feel the pinch their generous side comes out, especially for children, and in true British stiff-upper lip stile, we tend to rally together as a collective to lift ourselves out of adversity.

So now as we creep (and I say that in very quiet terms with no discussion of green shoots) from the jaws of recession, where does this leave the third sector?

Working For Charities

Last week, we carried out a spot of anecdotal research into the struggles and opportunities within the charitable sector and there was definitely a pattern amongst the responses we got back.

Delivery of contracted services is becoming impossible to provide without financial concessions from the commissioned body. A key reason for this is the national living wage. Whilst I’m sure we all agree this is a good thing, it certainly impacts on the costs charities incur on what they are required to supply.

The finance director of one charity I spoke to also mentioned there is pressure to provide even more by managing the time spent with the vulnerable people they are meant to be there to support. Home visits for many are restricted to 15 minutes for people with dementia for instance. All in all, as with many other sectors, there seems to be a demand to make less go further.

Charity Operations

So how does this impact the operational running of a charity?

Well almost all those we spoke to felt they were stretched. There are real requirements in both back office and front facing roles, however budgets are tight and funding doesn’t seem to be growing.

There is definitely an appetite to hire but quite rightly so, not at the expense of letting service levels drop. More than three quarters of the charities we spoke to highlighted their focus on taking a more creative approach to their recruitment issues. Interim solutions seemed to be a potential way forward with a more flexible work force and a more financially robust way of increasing efficiencies.

So while giving may well have declined in the more positive economic outlook, finding creative solution to solve recruitment problems and maintaining services seems to be the order of the day and we can certainly help.

If you are looking for some support for your organisation drop me a line today.