Small charities lack funds to train staff

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New research launched today into skills gaps in the small charity sector shows small organisations lack the funding to train their workforce in key areas such as IT, working with the private sector and fund development.

The report ‘UK Small Charity Sector Skills Survey’ launched today by the Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI) surveyed 530 people and found skills areas with the poorest performance ratings include: engaging and working with businesses or companies (55%), strategic use of IT (49%), impact reporting (48%) and fundraising, specifically raising funds from major donors (67%), online (66%) and businesses (64%).

Lack of funding for training and development (61%) and lack of time available for employees to attend training (58%) were cited as the primary causes for all skills gaps within their small charity.

The main impacts of skills gaps identified were an increased workload for colleagues (59%), increased time to deliver work (46%) and decreased ability to take on new work (43%).

The report also showed within fundraising, major donor fundraising (67%), online fundraising (66%) and corporate fundraising (64%) were the top three categories in need of most upskilling by small charities.

Fundraisers were cited as the most challenging vacancy to recruit for, according to 28% of small charities surveyed. Salary (36%) was the most commonly cited barrier to why vacancies are hard to fill.

Pauline Broomhead, CEO at the FSI commented: “Our research launched today shows that small charities lack the vital funds they need to develop skills.

“We have four key recommendations from the research. First, that Government and other public funders take the lead by demonstrating long-term commitment to affordable skills development and capacity building. Secondly, that umbrella support bodies invest in delivering high quality and easily accessible learning opportunities that are tailored to a diverse audience of learners. Thirdly, that trustees understand the benefit and make a commitment to funding the development of skills within their organisations for trustees and finally staff and volunteers and that trustees and senior staff actively seek out opportunities to collaborate with one another and by so doing contribute to ensuring their long-term sustainability.

“We hope this survey demonstrates to the Government and other funders the need to support the development of skills across the sector.  It is only with an informed and skilled workforce, both staff and volunteers, that charities will become self-sustaining.”

To read the full report, click here.

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