Productive year for trust

The Impetus Trust, a venture philanthropy organisation, has published its first progress report, which indicates that in one year it has helped its partner charities increase their incomes by 20 per cent and help 50 per cent more beneficiaries.

The trust's pioneering method uses private equity techniques to help charities counter financial difficulties, increase their capacity and improve their social impact. Volunteers from private finance backgrounds are matched with charities and work with them over the long term.

Of the nine third sector organisations with which Impetus works, six have been in the partnership for more than a year and were included in the report. These were learning difficulties group Speaking Up!, eating disorders charity Beat, ex-offenders support group the St Giles Trust, youth charity the Keyfund Federation, conflict avoidance group Leap Confronting Conflict and Naz Project London, which supports people with HIV in black minority ethnic communities.

"The combination of money in the long term for core costs and pro-bono expertise allows medium-sized charities to tap into serious business skills," said Stephen Dawson, chair of Impetus. "At the core of any charity there is a growing business, and charities face many of the same issues that a small business would."

Musa Okwonga, associate director for communications at the Institute for Philanthropy, said outside specialists should work to understand the culture of charities.

"Anyone coming from a private finance background to work with a charity should realise that expertise might not translate as easily as they might think," he said.

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