Tracey Cunnington - Marketing Assistant

Why cross-sector collaboration is imperative to enabling the charity sector to emerge stronger

The #CharityForum Covid-19 Support Programme is a finalist in the Business Charity Awards 2021, as Project of the Year.


Being a member of the #CharityForum has been a game changer for me, particularly since the start of the pandemic”

– Paul Marvell, Executive Head of the Battersea Academy, Battersea


At Novacroft, we’re working with #CharityForum members to ensure that the charity sector thrives, by tackling and mitigating risks presented by the pandemic, and the advancing Fourth Industrial Revolution. Novacroft has invested £250k pro bono transformational consultancy, helping 30 key charities that had GDP impact of over £1bn* during their last financial years.

The #CharityForum journey is based on a strong and shared desire to collaborate on a plan that ensures charities are fit for the future, and can continue providing the vital societal support that’s needed now more than ever.


I have learnt so much from the input from Novacroft. It has influenced my approach to many areas of my work

– Charlotte Fielder, Head of Volunteering, Fostering & Communities, Battersea


Covid-19 and the risk of charity extinction

According to the NCVO Civil Society Almanac, the charity sector (166,592 organisations) accounts for c900,000 jobs and over £15bn in GDP. Larger charities (£1m+) account for ⅕ of the charity sector, yet 80% of its income.

In June 2020, The Guardian reported that coronavirus had left 1 in 10 UK charities facing bankruptcy and income reduction, at a time when demand for services (primarily linked to financial worry and social care) increased.


The #CharityForum Covid-19 Support Programme

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we swiftly launched the #CharityForum Covid-19 Support Programme, to provide insights, tools and expertise, via cross-sector collaboration, to increase the organisational resilience of #CharityForum members and charities throughout the sector.

By making a difference to the causes they care about, charities provide the backbone of society. Our mission is to empower action that enables the sector to rise stronger by creating  opportunities and avoiding the perils of our new normal.

Sign up for free access to #CharityForum events

Sharing expertise for the benefit of the entire Third sector

The #CharityForum launched a series of virtual events addressing challenges and providing support, via cross-sector collaboration, to deliver:

  • A health of the charity sector study, incorporating a sector sample with £5.41bn total combined income. By understanding how charities can respond to the opportunities and perils facing the sector, having clarity on organisational position, and realising what can be done to make improvements, a difference to individual charity futures, and the wider charity sector future, can be made. Read more about the study findings here, or discover the study results by watching our Pace to Protect and Thrive sector webinar from 20:45
  • A free ‘charity health check tool’ and personalised plan, as a prescription to the health check diagnosis
  • Bi-weekly virtual workshops, providing practical support (titles have included: ‘Triage, Revive & Thrive’ methodology; Vision hunting and roadmapping; Turning horizon scanning into reality; Overcoming today’s barriers and challenges; Scenario planning for our ‘new normal’; Supporting wellbeing, with Dr Colin Wilson, renowned psychotherapist)
  • Sector-wide public webinars, sharing study findings – watch the December 2020 Pace to Protect and Thrive sector webinar, which provided vital, free tools to help charity leaders navigate Covid-19.


Other benefits to charity leaders

The #CharityForum has:

  • Encouraged positive mindsets by focusing on the future and spotting opportunity
  • Increased organisational resilience and life expectancy
  • Given the confidence to face challenges head-on
  • Identified ways to generate sustainable cash reserves
  • Provided mutual support to one another by encouraging a ‘problem shared is a problem halved’ mentality

98% of #CharityForum members felt energised and more able to lead their teams as a result of being a member of the #CharityForum, with 100% members rating their experience as ‘good’ or ‘great’**


The impact of the #CharityForum Covid-19 Support Programme

The Royal Naval Association has gone from losing on average 3 members per day for twenty years to gaining on average 40 new members per day. Novacroft lit the touchpaper and inspired us to change

– Bill Oliphant, CEO, Royal Naval Association

Dorothy House Hospice’s fundraising performance is 19% up year on year. I’m really applying [#CharityForum] learnings into how I’m strategically projecting into the future. This became so significant when Covid hit

– James Byron, Director of Marketing & Engagement, Dorothy House Hospice 

#CharityForum raises awareness around the human side to tech/digital evolution. [Now, there is] more advocacy of the impact of tech on our workforce and the need to transform

– Stephanie Borne, Head of Digital Fundraising, Shelter


Continued commitment  

#CharityForum will continue to provide invaluable support to sector leaders, ensuring clarity of vision, an understanding of what can be done to improve your organisation’s future, and the wider charity sector future.

In 2021, #CharityForum support will include cross-sector collaboration sessions based on scenario planning, vision hunting and avatar diagnosis to ensure the sector avoids extinction, remains relevant, and thrives.

Sign up for free access to #CharityForum events

*Combined income total of #CharityForum participating charities, during their most recent financial years

**Source: What will you do differently? #CharityForum member survey, November 2020