Barnardo’s to set up its own foundation and share part of its income with partner charities

07 Feb 2020 News

Javed Khan, chief executive of Barnardo's

Barnardo’s plans to create an internal foundation using its voluntary income, which will fund both its own projects and those of partner organisations, the charity’s CEO Javed Khan said yesterday. 

Speaking at Civil Society Media’s Fundraising Live event yesterday, Khan said this “radical” approach is part of Barnardo’s attempt to innovate and think for the long term.

The foundation will launch in April.

Khan said “all of our voluntary income” will go into the new fund, and “then our own services within the charity will need to bid internally to that according to the corporate strategy”. 

For the financial year to 31 March 2019, Barnardo's had a total income of £306m. Over half its income comes from delivering charitable activities, but it received around £45.9m in donations and legacies, of which £40.7m is unrestricted.  

Funding for both internal and partner projects

Khan said that once the foundation launches, the charity’s internal services will have to bid for funding, and that projects that meet the criteria will get it.

“The reason we are doing it is not because we want to make services’ life difficult, but because when you’ve got over 1,000 programmes and hundreds of millions of pounds within them, answering donors’ questions about where we are going to spend the money they give us and showing impact becomes very very difficult.

“We’re turning all of that on its head and rethinking how we allocate the money.”

Part of the income pulled into the foundation will also go to partner charities and projects.

Khan said: “For the first time we will have a vehicle within the charity to use our money externally as well.

“Usually we bring it in and spend it on our services, but we’re bringing it in and saying we’re going to spend some of it externally too, with partners and joint funding. We’ll be taking money from our own foundation, coming out and saying: ‘Would you like to match this?’”

Ha said that in some cases Barnardo’s will not be directly involved in the delivery of the services.

“The principle behind it, and this took a lot of convincing to some of my colleagues, is that Barnardo’s was founded to create a better world for vulnerable children. Nowhere in that does it say that Barnardo’s needs to be the deliverer of the services that create that better world. The deliverer may be someone else who’s far better at it than us.

“We have the ability to raise the money, and we will share that with those who may be better placed to deliver what young people need.”

Barnardo’s will announce the appointment of the foundation’s director soon.

‘Doing more of the same is not going to work’

The foundation is part of Barnardo’s ten-year strategy, which the charity launched for its 150th anniversary in 2016 and updated last year. It includes a commitment to double the charity’s fundraising and retail income by 2025.

Khan said Barnardo’s is also launching a “corporate university” for staff, that will be “a completely new way of thinking about the learning organisation model”. He said 2,000 of the charity's staff have already enrolled and that it will soon be appointing a dean. 

Furthermore, the charity is bringing together its fundraising, retail, brand and marketing, and policy and communications departments, under a new “directorate of income and influence” to help them achieve their income target.

Khan said: “We need a new culture where fundraising is everybody’s business, not just the fundraising team.”

He also made the case for trying out new ideas and taking risks when possible.

“The job is to bring in the money and the balancing act between demand and resources that we’ve got available is always going to be really difficult. 

“But doing more of the same is not going to work. It needs creativity, it needs innovation, you have got to think outside the box, you have got to think about doing things in a different way, because with more of the same that equation will never balance.”

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