Charity Futures - Sir Stephen Bubb's programme to improve charity governance and leadership – has launched a consultation to find the sector’s priorities for research topics.
The consultation will open next month and is to be carried out by consultancy Giving Evidence. It will invite input from any charity, foundation, public or private donor in the United Kingdom, and will draw up a list of the areas that charities most want to know more about.
A series of focus groups will be held in May and June in London, Edinburgh, Bradford, Manchester and Cardiff.
Bubb said: “Too often research in the charity sector is not focused on what matters to charities and donors. We need to remedy this.
“High quality, relevant, future-looking research has a big part to play in making the sector stronger, and our consultation will give donors and charities a unique chance to shape the research agenda in support of their work.
“We hope that this approach will also encourage more universities and academic centres to start looking at charity and philanthropy as a strong field for academic study and research. At the moment academia do not take much interest in charity. This must change.”
Caroline Fiennes, director of Giving Evidence, said: “It would be a good idea if researchers researched things that the people they endeavor to influence want researched, would it not?
“But researchers can’t intuit what donors, funders and charities are interested in – so we shall ask them!
“This study seems to be the first time that anybody has systematically consulted the people that academic research about charities and philanthropy aims to help and influence.
“We shall be using a rigorous research design, based on the model created by the James Lind Alliance for prioritizing research topics in medicine. This method is new to the charity and philanthropy worlds, but has become well-established over more than a decade in medicine.”
The final conclusions of the study will be a prioritised list of research questions that donors and charities have raised.