Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the Charity Awards as it made its return as an in-person event for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.
It was a spectacular evening and it was enjoyable to be networking with so many leading figures from the sector. It was also moving to hear about the good work of the shortlisted and winning charities. It was a timely reminder of the frontline work that goes on day in, day out all around the country.
It was also yet another demonstration of how important the work of those working in charity finance is. While it may sometimes seem to be more than a few steps removed from the public-facing service delivery, a strong finance team (or individual) ensuring the long-term financial resilience and sustainability of the charity is crucial to allowing this important work to take place.
Of course, it also goes without saying that finance is just one of the crucial functions for an effective charity. It is a real team effort involving elements such as fundraising, trustees, senior management, frontline staff and more.
It is important for these various elements to recognise this team approach and to work together. Finance will function better if it is not siloed but interacts with the rest of the organisation – and this is true for the other functions too.
Finance should take a strategic role and be involved in the decision-making with other departments and functions.
We will return to the topic of how finance interacts with other members of staff later this year, but these relationships are clearly crucial to the running of a successful and effective charity.
Having all the elements of your charity aligned is also helpful if you are looking to grow or if you have growth thrust upon you by a sudden spike in income. Growth, whether sudden or gradual, needs to be managed correctly and the finance team plays an important part in this. This issue’s cover theme looks at this very topic and provides some helpful pointers on what to consider if your charity finds itself in this position.
You can also read more about the awards in our special supplement within this issue. But I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the winning and shortlisted charities and to encourage all readers to consider entering the awards in the future.
Tristan Blythe is editor of Charity Finance