Research conducted for the Law Family Commission on Civil Society by Pro Bono Economics in January 2023 has identified the changes and initiatives needed to increase productivity and unlock the full potential of the UK's charity sector.
While the report found that the sector was highly innovative and creative, the research shows that there is room for significant improvements within the use and adoption of technological improvements, with 39% of charities actively using or planning to use artificial intelligence compared to 69% across the economy. The report found that 60% of charities have implemented and actively track key performance indicators (KPIs), with this number dropping to 51% for smaller organisations. This finding, coupled with the finding that 19% of small charities should have invested in the training of staff and volunteers in the year reviewed, led the commission to identify persistent skill gaps and issues with consistent leadership and underinvestment as obstacles to progress.
Based on the findings of the Productivity of Purpose: Bringing Charities into the UK's productivity drive report, the commission, along with input from experts and those working within the charity sector, have developed a proposal focused on making needed improvements in key areas:
Financial generation and management
Generation, dissemination and use of data and evidence
Expanding support, increasing local infrastructure and boosting volunteers
While work needs to be done to unlock the full potential of the charity sector, the research and guidance provided above go a long way toward informing the next best steps to ensure longevity for the sector. Much of the information shared above is familiar to Common Call and has been shared within previous articles; we hope that with data being presented and disseminated from multiple sources, needed changes will be made. As these suggestions develop and take shape within the implementation, we'll update you on what they mean for our sector and how they affect our actions.
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