Rosie Ferguson, chief executive of Gingerbread, has said that income from government contracts only just covers the costs of running services and revealed that her organisation has just embarked on a digital transformation programme in a bid to be more efficient.
Ferguson was speaking at the launch of the UK Civil Society Almanac 2017 earlier this week. She said that Gingerbread, which is a charity that provides support, advice and advocacy for single parents, will see its income grow from £3m to £4m, driven partly by contracts with various government departments.
However, she added that while “trustees are pleased we are growing”, the “reality is these contracts are only just covering costs”.
This means that there is “no space” for detailed evaluation or innovation, she said.
She also said it means that there is little “consistency in what we’re able to deliver”.
Ferguson said government contracts “all require match funding”, which means the charity has been using its “core funding to match fund in order to win them”.
During the event, NCVO’s director of public policy and volunteering Karl Wilding warned that it was medium sized organisations which are most under pressure.
Digital transformation programme
Ferguson told the audience that Gingerbread has just embarked on a digital transformation programme to help it become more strategic.
She said digital offers “huge scope for the sector”, and that Gingerbread’s trustees “have committed £250,000 to invest in skills and resource that we need”.
Gingerbread hopes to able to “deliver greater reach and impact” with digital services, which will also be “cheaper than face to face”.
Ferguson also stressed the importance of “putting data at the heart of sector thinking”, saying that data helps to demonstrate the impact organisations are having.
“Impact measurement isn’t just about fundraising,” she said - it helps to “really understand who we’re working with and delivering for and learn from it”.