Headlines: September 21st, 2007

Bodies that give money to charities to deliver services or as grants need to do more to check that the organisations involved are fit for purpose, according to the Association of Charitable Foundations, UK Workforce Hub and the Governance Hub. They say recent research has shown that all too often funders do not look behind the scenes at how organisations are run.

The three organisations are calling for greater understanding of the importance of funding governance and of planning and human resources so funding bodies can be sure that they are using their money wisely and that the organisations receiving that money are equipped to deliver services or projects effectively.

They point to research that shows a lack of consideration by funders of the way charities that deliver services are run and they point out that the organisations themselves want better advice. They say that provision for board support, strategic planning and people management are the most overlooked or short-changed when voluntary and community organisations apply for funding.

Delegates to an Association of Charitable Foundations conference have been given a new guide commissioned by ACF and the Hubs to help them assess whether charities they fund are fit for purpose and how to fund workforce and governance development. The guide, ‘Is it seaworthy? Assessing and funding the capacity of voluntary and community organisations,’ lists simple steps funders can take to ensure money is invested wisely and to improve the way they assess organisational capacity in voluntary and community organisations.

David Emerson, Chief Executive of the ACF said the guide would be useful to a wide range of organisations including public sector bodies such as local authorities which ran grant schemes. Janet Fleming, Head of the UK Workforce Hub, added, “Our evidence shows that by ensuring provision for board support, strategic planning, and people management, voluntary and community will deliver services and projects more efficiently, the people delivering the projects will perform to the best of their abilities and the users of services will receive the best possible support from charities and voluntary organisations.”