Community organisations may need to recruit from a wider area than their local communities in order to fill skills gaps in their boards, according to a report by New Philanthropy Capital.
Community Organisations – A Guide to Effectiveness, published today, says: "In our experience, trustee boards of community organisations often have quite a narrow range of skills and could benefit from a skills audit."
It says this could be a simple process of working out what skills the board has and what it needs, then recruiting to fill those gaps. "It may mean that some posts are not filled by local people," the report says.
Angela Kail, one of the report’s authors and a senior consultant at NPC, told Third Sector that the boards of community organisations often lacked particular business and enterprise skills.
She said this could result in managerial staff feeling overloaded because they had no one to turn to for help, and the organisation not running as efficiently as it should.
"I have never met a manager at a community organisation who is not particularly frantic," she said. "Even though community organisations are small and local, they are trying to achieve quite big things, and it’s important they are given every tool to do that."
The report also calls for more unrestricted funding for community organisations.
"As more local authorities move to commissioning based on outcomes, fewer funders are giving unrestricted grants," it says. "This limits opportunities for community organisations to get the type of funding that is so necessary for their work."