Last year, for the third year, we asked our members to tell us how they thought we were doing and which of our areas of focus were most important to their organisation. I wrote about what you told us in September. We’re proud of our work, and much of the data that we collect suggests that we’re heading in the right direction. But we know that there’s more to do, so we’ve been looking at your feedback on where you want us to strengthen. This is how what you told us has influenced our work.
The importance of sustainability
We asked members to select up to three areas that they needed most support on, and up to three areas in which NCVO had been most helpful to them over the previous year. The top priority for support was financial sustainability, but fewer members selected it as one of the areas in which NCVO had been most helpful. In response:
- we’ve refreshed our Writing a sustainable funding strategy and Writing successful bids courses, and added a new course – Enterprisingly Charitable: generating income and achieving impact
- we established an independent Charity Tax Commission, to undertake a full review of the impact of the tax system on charities
- we are currently reviewing Funding Central, talking to users to understand how we can improve the service.
The importance of communicating value
Similarly, the second priority for support was in communicating value. But fewer members selected it as one of the areas in which NCVO had been most helpful. In response:
- we are planning research into the impact of the sector, starting by working with specialist umbrella bodies to understand what data exists on the impact of different parts of our sector
- we are continuing our successful Constructive Voices initiative, which links charities and journalists, sharing stories about the positive difference charities are making
- our NCVO Charities Evaluation Services team has updated free content on Knowhow Nonprofit to help charities strengthen their evaluation and impact work. We’ are planning to launch member health-check sessions later in 2018.
The importance of practical information and guidance
As in previous years, when members were asked which kinds of support from NCVO were most important to them, practical information and guidance, policy updates and updates on new research came up highest. In response:
We’ve continued to invest in NCVO KnowHow Nonprofit – as a knowledge hub for voluntary organisations – including:
To keep you up to date with the changes that may affect your organisation, we’ve also published:
- our annual look at the key trends shaping the operating environment The Road Ahead
- our quarterly looks at developments in government and parliament Inside Track
- more of our monthly public policy updates.
Continuing to work on improving public trust and confidence
We were really pleased to hear in the last survey that 83% of respondents felt that we’re having a positive impact on public trust and confidence. It has been another challenging year for charities, as our CEO Sir Stuart Etherington outlined in his annual state of the sector address.
- Following the Presidents’ Club scandal, we responded to media requests, commenting on issues relating to fundraising practice, acceptance of donations and whether charities should return donations received from The Presidents Club in earlier years. We undertook polling of the public to inform our work.
- Following stories about safeguarding failures in the international development sector, we were frequently asked to comment on safeguarding and volunteers, including in charity shops. We also worked with DCMS and the Charity Commission to bring together leading organisations around next steps on safeguarding
Throughout, we also provided advice and support to our members, including:
- blog posts on lessons from the Presidents Club scandal, and implications for the future
- opening up our member content on safeguarding, whistleblowing and anti-harassment and bullying, providing training on safeguarding for volunteer managers, and launching new safeguarding support through our trusted supplier SAFEcic. Details and links can be found in this blog post.
The next survey
Rather than reel off a list of all NCVO’s work, I’ve tried to pull out a few small things which show you we take this feedback seriously.
We’ve revised this year’s survey a little again. Every year we learn more about the insights we need to make the best decisions about what our priorities should be. But we’ve also kept it similar enough that we can compare responses year on year and see whether our efforts are making a difference.
We will be sending the survey by email to the NCVO contact at all NCVO member organisations today. You can also take the survey here. We’d love to hear from you, on how you think NCVO is doing and what you need from us.