Boom and Bust Economics present a challenge for charities. We all need charities to create sustainable impact and to achieve this they must have reserves and assets. Too many charities lack these business aspirations and as a consequence are at risk.
Critics of asset holding charities with a business mindset need to focus their attention more on helping us all develop a process for evaluating the impact of all organisations that create social value and impact. Organisations need to see this as a core purpose in the 21st Century where “Bust” is more likely than “Boom”. It is for this reason that recently there was a Third Sector article seeking to release legacy income and several other articles about independent schools were aiming to sell off assets. The Education and Charity Sectors need to be united in seizing this opportunity for educational establishments to play a positive community role.. This will potentially avert threats to the sector.. The resultant partnerships will enhance their voluntary income. I am delighted that recently I have been appointed to chair a Community Investment Working Group in a local state school
For some years now I have been seeking to encourage the charity sector and particularly educational charities to collect detailed data on their social impact and public benefit. An example of this is Reed’s School (see above) Intrinsic to this is benchmarking what could be a reasonably expected social impact relative to an organisations projected revenue. This is simply good business practice and charities are businesses. This approach is highly relevant to independent school charities, The charitable role state schools can and will play is different but they can and should be active in their communities. They will find their communities highly responsive to their needs. To grasp this state schools must resource community investment changing the current dynamic and enhancing the state sectors reputation, recruitment, resource and revenue. There will be net gains including increased voluntary income. More state schools should have an associated registered charity.