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  • Writer's pictureVic Hancock Fell

The small charity health check

Updated: Apr 4

This ‘health-check’ is a good starting point for small charities that are seeking to professionalise, grow and increase efficiency and effectiveness:

1. Take a long hard look in the mirror– and be honest.

Sit down with a pen and paper and do a SWOT analysis of your organisation. If you find it hard to be honest, ask a friend to do it with you, they may ask questions you don’t want to answer. You’ll need to be honest about your strengths and weaknesses if you are going to move forward.

2. Get your house in order.

Are all your documents organised in folders, in cloud storage or backed up? Do you have the right insurance in place? Do you have all the policies and procedures you need? Do you have the necessary professional memberships (Institute of Fundraising, Small Charities Coalition, FSI, Bond etc)? With so many other priorities, administration often falls to the bottom of the to do list. However, putting the work in now will save time in the long run.

3. Does your charity make sense to the external world?

You may know what GBV, FGM or NGO mean, but do your supporters? When talking to an external audience, make sure you are talking about yourselves in layman’s terms, no jargon, no sector specific language. Take a look at your vision, mission, strap-line and “key messages” and test them on someone with no knowledge of what you do – if they don’t get it, you need to consider changing them.

4. Get your internal communication right.

Do all of your Trustees know your charity’s vision and mission? It sounds crazy but often they don’t. At your next Trustees meeting ask your Board members to each write down what they think the vision and mission of the charity is. If there is some confusion or different interpretations of what you do, then you need to do some work on ensuring everyone is singing from the same song sheet.

5. Believe in yourself, and so will others.

Being a part of a small charity is amazing, no doubt your Trustees, volunteers and staff (if you have any) will all feel passionately about what you are doing. Don’t see this process of professionalisation as something to fear or something that will take away from the amazing thing you’ve created.

If you’d like support with your charity’s health check or would like to learn more, please feel free to get in touch for a chat.


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