Charitable funders discourage any ‘real discourse’ with those they fund, and do not want an honest conversation, research by a sector academic has found.
Mark Salway, director of social finance at the Centre for Charity Effectiveness at Cass Business School, conducted a series of six round tables on different topics with different charity leaders, in partnership with Barclays, which will be published as a report next year.
Writing in this month’s Charity Finance magazine, he says that all six groups of charities raised the same issue – that they want a more open and honest relationship with funders, but that those providing the funding do not support this.
“It became clear that the sector wants to be much more honest with funders,” he says. “This was consistent across all six conversations.
“In return, funders don’t encourage real discourse.
“If we are to innovate for the future, we must have funding that enables us to fail, and try new things, pivot and try again. This flexible longer-term exploratory funding will be critical for organisations to learn and to develop new ways of working.
“In return, charities must get better at publishing their learning and sharing what works, as well as doesn’t work. Honestly.”
Be purposeful and not reactive
Salway also writes that another major issue is that charities lack the time and space to plan effectively.
He said that charities needed “mindfulness” training to allow them to take a step back and think about possibilities.
“In a relaxed state, consider sustainability for the future, both in terms of financial sustainability and the ability for your charity to maintain its impact,” he writes. “Then explore new areas and think what the charity could be – innovate and dream.
“Finally, be present in the moment to really focus on what matters and the key issues that need addressing. Being mindful means being purposeful and not reactive.”