Charity sector end of year reflections and the year ahead

Published by Susan Robinson on 17 December 2020

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2020 is undoubtedly a year we won’t forget! One where COVID-19 has had an undeniable and devasting impact. Looking back on what your charity did well and what didn’t go so well is a good starting point, but it is more than that. The impact of the pandemic is an opportunity to think positively, review activity and for you to move your charity forward in a more effective way. There are still many hurdles ahead and of course, there will be the challenges of Brexit, but reverting to what you did previously is not an option – the world has changed. So, what have those of us working within the sector learnt to help create a brighter future?

Great resource of people

This includes those involved with the frontline direct work, support services, outside donors and supporters and your beneficiaries themselves. But are you using people in the right way? What ideas do they have that could help your charity move forward?

Working remotely

Do you need to review your systems and processes because you discovered better ways of performing tasks that should be included in your charity’s future plans?

Service delivery

This might include video meetings, online events, home deliveries. Are these formats only suitable for crisis mode or can they be embedded into future delivery?

There has been some external funding available in the last 9 months but next year will be tighter.

Do you need to reduce some of the services you deliver to have more effect? Do you need to consider a different fundraising strategy? Are the services you deliver within your charity’s objective clause. There is a view that ‘mission drift’ has taken place within some charities and there should be a refocus to help get back on track.

Communicating your services

Whilst your beneficiaries know about your services does the rest of your community? How do you get your messages out to raise awareness of and increase the support your charity needs?

IT systems

Prior to the crisis, there was much discussion that charities had still not made progress in developing the use of technology within their organisations. What have you learnt in this area? Better IT doesn’t always make life easier unless the systems you are using are appropriate for your needs and you are making the best use of them with adequate training for all using it.

As we move into 2021 now is the time to focus your thinking and review:

  • What is your charity’s purpose?
  • What is its’ vision?
  • What are your goals and strategy?
  • What are the culture and values that you want to embed?
  • Does the current work and delivery process fit into the above and what changes do you need to make?

Speak to your staff, colleagues and trustees and be open to radical suggestions. You do not have to implement all or any of them, but it may steer your thinking in a different and more appropriate direction.

So, in summary, plans for 2021:

a. Amazing – your charity is amazing, let people know. Raise your profile

b. Brexit – will it have an impact and what plans do you need to make

c. COVID-19– what will be the long-term impact

d. Drive – you can’t stand still, we all need to drive forward in this rapidly changing world

e. Effectiveness – you need to ensure what you are doing is efficient and has as much impact as possible

f. Fun – even at the worst moments still remember to smile. There is light at the end of the tunnel and great opportunities – seize them.

Not the whole alphabet, but some food for thought to get you started on your journey into 2021 and beyond.

The Kreston Reeves’ charity team wish you all the best for 2021.

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