Focus: Finance and Governance - Trustee talk - Charles Kenyon, Families Need Fathers

At Families Need Fathers, the trustees head teams of volunteers to manage the charity's activities, such as delivering our services and helpline, lobbying, providing emotional and technical support and dealing with media contacts.

Trustees fund their expenses largely out of their own pockets because the subscriptions from our 3,000 members go towards funding the services we provide.

We pay salaries for about three people only, including part-time staff, so trustees at Families Need Fathers act as other paid staff might at larger organisations.

The challenge we face is that we're not an 'easy' cause such as a medical or environmental organisation. As a result, there is a significant body of opinion that is not onside.

It is difficult when you use amateur trustees or volunteers and you are competing for a pot of money: not only do you have the disadvantage of being less appealing, but you are also up against professional fundraisers.

When you make a pitch, for example, you are up against much larger organisations and there's no way you can compete. You can't explain to the grant-making trust or the Government that you're underdeveloped in terms of fundraising, because they want the most professional outcome. So you've got to rise to the professional's game, but that can be difficult when you also have to find time to earn your living.

A second challenge is the burden of VAT, which falls disproportionately on smaller charities. Another difficulty is that there is so much service delivery among the big charities you've almost got two sets of organisations - service delivery and the pure volunteering sector. I would like someone to quantify the actual value of goods and services provided by smaller charities. From that you might be able to quantify the sort of support that is needed.

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