Originally posted on: Charity Digital News, 5th December 2017
Small charity leaders say digital and IT expertise is one of their most significant skills gaps, according to new research by the Weston Charity Awards.
The survey of small to medium charity leaders revealed that 4 in 10 (38%) identified digital know how as missing from their organisations, second only to the ability to build partnerships with the commercial sector (41%).
Branding and communications (35%) and fundraising expertise (34%) were also identified as lacking by many.
The research also highlighted the increasing demand most charities are attempting to address, very often without additional budget. Three in five (59%) small to medium sized charities expect to support more service users in 2018 despite the fact that most (64%) are not confident of income growth in that time.
The results of the research are being released to mark the start of the application period for the Weston Charity Awards, which were created in 2014 by the Garfield Weston Foundation to ensure more resilient small to medium sized charities by providing leadership and organisational strategy support.
Investing in charity leadership
The fact that so many charities are optimistic about helping more people in spite of financial pressures is a testament to the dedication and drive of charity leaders, said Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation.
“However, our research shows that long-term planning is suffering. That’s exactly why the Weston Charity Awards exist – to provide a year-long programme that connects ambitious charity CEOs with a bespoke team of top business leaders.”
Vicky Browning, Chief Executive of the charity leaders’ network ACEVO said: “Faced with pressures on income and an increasing demand for their services, charity chief execs need to be increasingly strategic and creative.”
“For example, we know from our members that the ability to broker new connections between charities and business is becoming more important, yet it involves a different set of skills.”
She continues: “Leaders who are fortunate enough to have access to mentoring and coaching are better able to navigate these challenges and develop the resilience they and their organisations need. It’s great that initiatives like the Weston Charity Awards recognise the value of investing in charity leadership.”
Twenty charities will win a Weston Charity Award in 2018 – the fourth consecutive year of programme expansion. Each winner will benefit from a year of intensive leadership coaching through the Pilotlight Programme along with £6,500 in unrestricted funding.
Charities with incomes under £5 million that provide frontline services in the fields of Community, Welfare and Youth are eligible to apply. Applications from charities in Wales will be considered for the first time along with those in the Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West and North East of England.
For more information and to apply, visit the Weston Charity Awards website – applications close on the 12th January 2018.