Thursday, August 17, 2006

How to make it as a charity manager: Part 1 What Is A Charity?

The following extract is from the book, 'How to make it as a charity manager' by Anthony Gibbs published by Volsector.

According to the Charity Commission, there are in the region of 187,000 charities on their Register. Of these, with approximately 27,000 subsidiaries or branches of other charities, this means that there are about 160,000 “main” charities on the Register. This figure has remained reasonably static since 1998.

The Charity Commission Register showed in March 2003 that the total annual income of all registered charities was in the region of £30 billion.

So if you’re working in the private sector at the moment and thought that the voluntary sector was just a small cottage industry – think again!

However, when this income is broken down by individual charities it turns out that many are very small organisations indeed, and that the financial wealth of registered charities, measured by their annual income, is concentrated in just a few very large charities which puts some of them on a par with major plc’s.

Did you know that:

• In 1998 approximately 70% of registered charities had an income of £10,000 or less each year. They represented almost three quarters of all registered charities but between them had less than 2% of the total annual income recorded on the Charity Commission register. By 2005, the number of charities in this category had fallen to 58%.
• In 1998, around 5% of charities between them received over 85% of the total annual income recorded. By 2003, the same overall percentage income was being shared by only 2.5% (4,033 organisations) with just 440 charities attracting 46% of total annual income across the sector.

In the context of this book (How to make it as a charity manager) a charity is any not–for–profit organisation which enjoys charitable status in the United Kingdom as defined by and regulated by The Charity Commission. In reality there are many different types and size of charity carrying out all sorts of activities and providing services throughout society. Some UK based charities work exclusively in this country, others both at home and/or abroad; smaller organisations may just work on a local or regional basis.

Some of the larger charities in the UK are as complex in their structure and range of activities as major plc’s in public ownership; others are on a par with the smallest company in the private sector.

Charities can be campaigning organisations; provide direct services or products; be information or care providers; operate educational, health or welfare establishments; offer arts and leisure opportunities; have separate associated trading companies to complement fundraising in securing income; or be a combination of all these and more disciplines.

Charities are collectively known as the voluntary sector (or Third Sector) alongside the Private Sector (commercial organisations) and the Public Sector (local authorities, government departments, police and so on).

One thing is for sure: many charities are now the only source of many products and services which beneficiaries are unable to obtain anywhere else.

Provided that those organisations can continue to secure funding to maintain those products and services the voluntary sector is here to stay which means that there will continue to be a need for staff.

In a random survey during 1998 of 1850 display advertisements in the Situations Vacant section of several quality newspapers the breakdown of jobs on offer was as follows:
• 21% of jobs advertised were in the voluntary sector (79% of the charities advertising referred to their Equal Opportunities policies)
• 58% in the private sector (less than 1% mentioned Equal Opportunities)
• 10% in the public sector (every advertisement included a reference to Equal Opportunities)
• 11% were agencies (none of them made any reference to Equal Opportunities)
Make it as a manager # 1

As a charity manager in UK you are working in a sector with total annual income in the region of £30 billion. It’s a massive industry and needs professional and competent managers just like any other.

A relatively small number of charities would be regarded on a par with major blue chip plc’s in revenue terms.

Charities are involved in all sorts of activities and need people with all sorts of skills and experience, probably people just like you to work for them.

“How to make it as a charity manager’
First published in Great Britain in 2004 by Volsector
© Anthony Gibbs 2003

‘How to make it as a charity manager’ by Anthony Gibbs is based on the content of the web site, ‘What they don’t tell you about working for a charity’ © 1999 Anthony Gibbs

The right of Anthony Gibbs to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act 1988.

British Library cataloguing in publication data. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 0-9546657-0-8

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher.


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