Risk, reputation and finance: the future for charities

Untitled design 21 | Risk, reputation and finance: the future for charities
By Toby Lester | 10th April 2019 | 8 min read

We live in uncertain times and, for those working in the third sector, the landscape appears particularly unpredictable; Brexit, overstretched local authorities, uncertain funding... The current political climate makes financial planning anything but easy.

Whether fairly or unfairly, charities are under the spotlight like never before. A hostile media setting has resulted in a number of charities hitting the headlines for immoral marketing and fundraising practices. As stated by Wendy Cotton, social welfare technical line manager at Markel, “The media are quicker at pointing the finger, whether or not it is in the right direction.” In order to avoid the pointed finger, total transparency remains the hot topic of the day, enabling a proactive culture across every team and department.

Risking reputation

No news doesn’t necessarily mean good news and charities of all sizes must remain aware of their representation in the media; a small or medium sized charity can ill afford a direct hit to their brand or reputation. Many third sector organisations rely on fundraising and individual giving, making the future delivery of services and operations unpredictable. For this reason, managing risk should be embedded into organisational culture. However, a recent report commissioned by PolicyBee revealed only half of small charities are confident in identifying and tackling risk. No matter their size, risk-management must remain a priority for every team and department.

Reporting on the performance, risks and associated costs of any one campaign is vital; repeating the same unsuccessful campaigns, year in and year out, without taking stock, can result in spiralling costs and reputational damage. Income generation and fundraising relies on accurate performance reporting, allowing campaigns to evolve and adapt as necessary, whilst demonstrating great transparency to major donors and stakeholders – this is the roadmap to a sustainable future.

Reporting on risk

Do you know how much your latest campaign or event cost? Gaining and presenting this level of detail can be difficult, particularly when reporting for different stakeholders. Owning this data at your fingertips not only rings of sound financial practice but enables your team to plan and budget for the year ahead.

Our best-in-breed financial platform enables a deep dive into your data, providing tailored reporting on individual campaigns, for all audiences, including major donors. Our flexible reporting function allows you to dig down into data for a month, year or custom date range to suit requirements. IRIS Financials also saves valuable admin time with automated reporting, ensuring total accuracy without risk of human error.

With all this discussion of transparency and reputation, it cannot be denied that fundraising and income is, by its very nature, risky. This emphasises the importance of strategic financial planning, self-assessment following campaign activity and the need for accurate and timely reporting. As stated by Wayne Casey, Head of Risk at NSPCC, “We operate in a fundraising market which we cannot change, but the review of fundraising and the risk register helps us to ensure that we have the right systems in place to manage it.” When it comes to reviewing performance, then, it is of the utmost importance to have the best software in place to facilitate risk management and financial planning.

An enterprise level finance system adds an additional layer of resource to your charity, with IRIS Financials performing admin and reporting tasks on your behalf. Our innovative system supports charities to identify risk and act, rather than react, so that you can get on with what you do best; supporting your cause! Click here to find out more.