Nov 29, 2022
Understanding voluntary organisations better - Outcomes from the Academy’s last VO workshop
To run an impactful organisation one needs to be a strong entity. So how do we expect VOs to carry out their objectives and reach their mission if they don’t have the right team, support, and funds?
When thinking about voluntary organisations, do you see them as charities? Do you support them as a way of giving to charity? Or do you see them as organisations trying to solve and work in pressing social and environmental issues? Do you see them as experts, knowledgeable of the sector they work in and working on the ground at grass roots level?
This mindset influences how companies and people support voluntary organisations. Too often it is thought that we shouldn’t invest in organisations, that they shouldn’t invest in their people and their organisations; they are not businesses so why should money be spent on salaries and operation? The reality is, running an organisation is similar to running a business, so how do we expect them to carry out their objectives and reach their mission if they don’t have the right team, support, and funds to cover operational and programme costs?
These are just a few of the points which came out during our voluntary organisation workshop held in November, which topic covered financial literacy and the sustainability of organisations. This event also created a space for those organisations present to share their thoughts on how companies are currently supporting the social sector, and what more can be done to help them become more sustainable.
Below are just a few interesting points which emerged. What are your thoughts on this?
- Mindset needs to change, with there being a need for a shift moving away from organisations being viewed as charities, and more towards working together for long-term systematic change and sustainable impact.
- It seems as if a large percentage of youths are less active. What can we do to change this and encourage them to get more involved?
- Companies and philanthropists need to listen to what support the organisations need. The organisations are working on the ground, so they who know the needs of society.
- Companies and those wanting to support should listen, create relationships, and look at it as something long term rather than one-off support.
- Organisations need to be measuring impact to understand if they are creating real change. If the impact is clear, this will encourage others to support and collaborate.
- There seems to be a sense of apathy when it comes to activism – why is that, and what can we do to change this?
- Is there a way for voluntary organisations to have shared professionals, such as marketing staff and accountants?
- There need to be instances where both sides are in the same room, the corporates and the voluntary organisations, to create open discussions and solutions.
- Salaries in voluntary organisations are rarely covered, and this needs to change; we should be investing in staff, in the right talent, so that they can carry out their programme and reach their mission.
- It would be beneficial if companies could share their expertise and capacity building. There is a lot of value in sharing resources and strengths!
- Knowledge is power. We cannot have all the necessary tools and skills, which is why at times organisations need professional help
- Up until a few years ago, the mentality was that voluntary organisations compete against one another; this is slowly changing. We need to create more collaboration rather than competition among organisations. How can the Academy and companies support and encourage this?
- It is important for us to understand the different types of voluntary organisations and how they are structured; those that provide services, those that have employed staff, and those that run on volunteers and are project based.
Have you ever thought how we can give better and create real impact? What are your thoughts on this? Share with us - firstname.lastname@example.org
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