Small charities not collaborating enough, report warns

A paper from the Foundation for Social Improvement, for Small Charity Week, says a lack of collaboration stifles the likelihood of a more sustainable small charity sector

The report
The report

Too few small charities are engaging in significant collaboration with their counterparts, a new report warns.

The paper, published as part of this week’s Small Charity Week by the Foundation for Social Improvement, which supports small charities, says a lack of collaboration risks "losing sight of the end game of a more sustainable small charity sector equipped with not only the solutions, but also the resources to implement change for the most vulnerable in our society".

The report, which is based on research carried out with more than 700 small charities, says it was found that about a third of respondents did not collaborate with other charities at all.

It says that of the 66 per cent of respondents that were involved in any form of collaboration, 90 per cent said they took part in networking activities.

Only 5 per cent of those charities involved in collaboration were involved in a merger, researchers found.

"Not enough small charities are committing sufficient resource to the development of significant collaborations when the benefits of doing so could prove vital to the continued successful delivery of services and improved impact on beneficiaries," the report says.

"This may be due to limited resources, passionate but overworked teams or the reluctance of trustees, who are themselves working in an ever-increasingly challenging environment, to explore the possibilities and take opportunities that may carry a financial risk.

"The reality is that if we fail to collaborate we are at risk of losing sight of the end game – a more effective and sustainable small charity sector equipped with not only the solutions but also the resources to implement change for the most vulnerable in our society."

The FSI said there was a lack of collaboration even though its research showed that one in 10 charities saw closure as "likely".

Pauline Broomhead, chief executive of FSI, said: "The results from the research indicate, quite strongly, that small charities don’t collaborate enough in any meaningful way. 

"This is a real loss for the sector because there is no doubt that small charities are extremely good at coming up with solutions to some of the most serious social problems facing the world today.

"If we don’t collaborate, genuinely start to share our knowledge and learning with each other, we will miss out on a vital opportunity and waste time on superficial partnerships that don’t add any real and lasting value to the support and services we deliver."

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