What makes a Stronger Voluntary and Community Sector?


Camden Giving has funding available through the HS2 Camden Fund for creating a 'Stronger Voluntary and Community Sector'. The full details of this funding can be found here and in this blog I will share some ideas about applications you could consider applying to us for.

Charities, social enterprises, schools and community groups in Camden are working in complex conditions, in particular:

Fundraising is becoming more competitive and sources of income are shifting. NCVO's Almanac tells us that 14% of the money that civil society spends is on 'generating new income'. For many small community groups, this may seem like a huge percentage. If this applies to you, then the low amount you're spending on fundraising might be putting you in a vulnerable position. "But we can't spend money that we don't have" - I know, and that could be where this fund could help.

Beneficiaries and their needs are changing, sometimes it's getting harder to support them, or on the flip side it's sometimes getting easier to help more people because of collaboration between like-minded organisations or because of technology.

Your Trustees, members or staff, or volunteers may have a list of ideas that they want to try to improve your beneficiary experience or develop new income streams, but if you don't below are some reports and articles that will make a useful starting point. Our aim is to support civil society to be healthy and robust enough to still be doing what it does best - helping people in Camden - for decades to come. The below list is not meant as a blueprint, but a starting point.

  1. Technology is under-utilised in the voluntary sector. NCP's report is exceptionally handy because it uses Camden as it's case study you can read NCP's report 'My Best Life: Priorities for digital technology in the Youth Sector'  here. You will find some lovely examples of technology being used for good on the website Design Is Political.

  2. Fundraising is changing and if your existing income streams are under threat or you need a more innovative way to generate funds, Lime Green Consulting have produced a thorough guide to help with this. Of course, implementing these strategies takes time and money, so this could be something you apply to us for.

  3. Collaboration. If your beneficiaries would gain from your organisation collaborating with another, then there is some advice published by NCVO here. Or if merger is something you are considering you can red the NCP's report 'Lets talk Mission and Merger' here . Both collaboration and merger are time consuming for staff and volunteers, the HS2 Camden Fund could cover some of the related costs.

  4. Marketing is something that all big charities use to communicate with donors and beneficiaries. Again, it takes times and money. If your charity doesn't have a marketing plan, then this article is helpful.
  5. Social Enterprise is an increasingly popular way to achieve your social purpose or fund your existing work. This website helps create a businesses plan if you are considering applying to us for social enterprise funding.
  6. User-Led projects could be an effective way to build the resilience of your organisation and your beneficiaries in the long-term. This blog could give you some guidance if you are thinking of adopting this beneficiary-led approach. 

The Camden Giving team are always on call to help you develop a great proposal, you can book a meeting or come to one of our events.