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FSI: Supporting the Small Charity Sector

  • Conchita Garcia, Head of Projects and Fund Development at the FSI discusses skills gaps in the charity sector and how the FSI plans to support small charities.

    Supporting the small charity sector

    Small charities carry out some amazing work, aiding some of the most vulnerable communities; they are a key part of civil society. They play an important role in supporting the economy, in building social cohesion and in integrating those individuals who are in danger of being marginalised from society.  

    Having the relevant skills to undertake this important role is vital to ensure an efficient, effective and sustainable small charity sector. However, our research shows time and time again that small organisations often struggle to train staff in the skills and practices that would support them to secure more funding and run their services more effectively.

    That is why every two years The FSI assesses the skills gaps within the small charity sector to get a sense of training needs, to ensure the services of small charities are meeting the needs of those that use them.

    What are the gaps?

    Our skills survey showed that the areas in need of expertise, according to respondents, were lobbying (49%), using social media (44%), structuring communications (46%) and the latest HR laws and practices (27%).

    Areas where small charities rated themselves as performing well included team working, basic computer literacy and leadership, as well as working in partnership with other organisations.

    Why do these gaps exist?

    Respondents cited a lack of funding (64%), time (56%) and locally available training (23%) as the main reasons why small charities fail to fill these skill gaps.

    Our research also shows that the impact of these skills gaps is an increased workload across the organisation (61%) and an increased time taken to deliver the work (51%).

    Going forward

    We feel passionately that when skills gaps directly cause an increase in workload and time taken to deliver services, something needs to change. The demand for training continues to be significant and clearly remains a core element in addressing skills gaps in the sector. It is therefore essential to consider what the nature of available training is, and how this can be tailored to effectively address the needs of small charities.

    In order to support small charities and community groups to fill these training needs, the FSI run an annual, heavily subsidised skills conference, taking place in Central London on 9th March 2017. This year’s Skills Conference will provide 200 small charity delegates the chance to access a range of expert speakers to help build essential, back office skills.

    Small charities and community groups are encouraged to select their skills gaps and we will match them to workshops taking place throughout the conference. On the day, delegates will take away relevant and practical skills from four out of 20 interactive workshops.

    To find out what topics are on offer, and to book on to the conference click here.

    Venue: Resource for London, 356 Holloway Rd, London N7 6PA

    Date: Thursday 9th March

    Time: 9.30am-4.30pm (registration from 9.00am)

    Cost: £15 for FSI members (value of equivalent conference £295)  

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