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Practical support

What is the Compact?

The Compact is an agreement between the government and the voluntary and community sector. It sets out key principles and establishes a way of working that improves their relationship for mutual advantage. It was made in November 1998, and renewed in 2010.

It considers areas such as involvement in policy design and consultation, funding arrangements (including grants and contracts), promoting equality, ensuring better involvement in delivering services, and strengthening independence.

The Compact agreement plays a key role in cross sector working and ensuring that organisations are better able to influence and deliver services and policies which will have the most positive impact within their community.

For resources and best practice examples on embedding the Compact into your work visit the Compact Voice website.

Working with government

The way the voluntary sector organisations work with government is changing. Contracting with government is increasing, consortia and partnership arrangements are on the up. As relationships develop it is increasingly important to make sure that it does so on a fair and equitable basis. This includes:

  • proper notice being given for funding decisions
  • reasonable contract terms being agreed and entered into
  • the independence of voluntary sector organisations being respected and upheld.

Working with statutory bodies

If you think that a statutory body has not followed Compact principles you should try and raise this with them, along with constructive suggestions for how they can improve. Challenging bad practice can often lead to a better relationship and better outcomes for your organisation.

Read our factsheet, Effective dispute resolution tactics, and find out how we've worked with organisations to successfully overcome these common issues such as full cost recovery, compromised independence, funding issues and many more. 

Our full range of guides show how we have worked with organisations to overcome many issues using the Compact agreement.

Your organisation exists to make a difference, whether that's enriching people's lives, helping a particular cause or creating a better world. The difference you make is often called your impact. 

Focusing on your impact will help your organisation be as successful as possible in reaching your goals. NCVO can help you define what impact means for your organisation, how you can achieve your goals and demonstrate impact.

NCVO Charities Evaluation Services

NCVO Charities Evaluation Services helps voluntary organisations with practical impact measurement and evaluation. We provide consultancy, training and resources to put you in a much better position to secure funding, improve your work and achieve more for your cause. Our expertise comes from 25 years of working with the voluntary sector. 


Knowhow is our main advice and support website. 

View our impact resources on Knowhow, where you'll find help on planning, measuring and evaluating your impact and evaluation.

Studyzone video training courses

Studyzone is our video training platform, and is free for NCVO members.

Watch our courses on impact straight from your desk:

Consultancy support

At NCVO we offer bespoke, specialist advice on evaluation to voluntary and community organisations striving to make a difference.

Inspiring Impact

Inspiring Impact aims to improve impact measurement in the non-profit sector. It is managed and delivered by eight organisations who either work in the sector or specialise in impact measurement. Inspiring Impact has produced a number of essential resources to help charities and social enterprises improve the way they measure impact. 

Social investment or loan finance is any investment activity which has a social outcome and a financial return. As voluntary and community organisations grow and develop they need to consider which funding and financing options will be most useful and ultimately most sustainable in the long term.

Loans or investment income may be an option where a large sum of money is needed, to bridge gaps between receipt of grant payments, or to enable projects to move forward during the time taken to raise capital from more traditional fundraising methods. It is a relatively new tool for the voluntary and community sector and not an income source as such, but a financial tool or enabler.

Social investment resources

Funding Central is our free website providing access to thousands of the latest funding and finance opportunities from European, national, regional and local government as well as from charitable sources.

We have worked with CAF Venturesome to produce a guide to social investment. 'Social Investment Made Simple' explores the main investment types available to you so you can decide whether social investment is right for your organisation.

Read our 'Social Investment Made Simple' guide on NCVO Knowhow.

With increasingly tight budgets, many charities and voluntary organisations have to make their fundraising and marketing efforts go further.

Information and guidance

NCVO Knowhow is our main advice and support website. We have information on communications and the media, as well as marketing and branding.

Studyzone video training courses

Studyzone is our video training platform, and is free for NCVO members. Watch our courses on marketing and communications straight from your desk:

Trusted Suppliers

Raising IT provides web and social media tools to help radically reduce the cost of marketing and build the long-term value of donors.

Consult + Assist offer consultancy services to help you transform your user engagement processes in order to meet demand.

Look at all our marketing and fundraising suppliers.

CharityComms is the professional membership body for charity communicators. Their aim is for effective and inspiring communications to be at the heart of every charity's work. They do this by raising the standards of and championing charity comms through regular events, articles, best practice guides, networking, mentoring and more.

Whatever the size of your organisation, sound financial management is essential for sustainability. Rather than being seen as a separate function (just 'doing the books'), the finance function should be integrated within, and add value to, your organisation’s fundraising and overall planning activities.

NCVO Knowhow

NCVO Knowhow is our main advice and support website. View our financial management resources on Knowhow. We also have free template policies and resources for NCVO members, including a risk register and business plan.

Studyzone video training courses

Studyzone is our video training platform and is free to NCVO members. Watch our courses on financial management straight from your desk:

Making tax digital

From 1 April 2019, all VAT registered businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold of £85,000 will need to be compliant with new HMRC Making Tax Digital reporting requirements. Learn more about making tax digital.

Trusted suppliers

In partnership financial advisers Lucas Fettes, NCVO has created a competitively priced workplace pension and employee benefits scheme for the voluntary sector. Lucas Fettes have a written an NCVO member guide on automatic enrolment and they have also produced a complete reference guide to pension reform.

Charity Finance Group (CFG) seeks to inspire the development of a financially confident, dynamic and trustworthy charity sector. CFG works with finance managers to enable them to give the essential leadership on finance strategy and management their charities need. They do this by promoting best practice in charity finance, driving up standards and ensuring every pound given to charity works harder - it's essential to maintain the trust of charity donors.

Zurich Insurance provides insurance to charities, social enterprises and other not-for-profit organisations. They have an excellent understanding of how not-for-profit organisations work and can provide insurance for public liability, buildings, employees and much more.

Look at all our finance suppliers.

Free insolvency helpline

NCVO is working in partnership with the Charity Finance Group (CFG) and insolvency experts Peter Gotham and PricewaterhouseCoopers, to make the CFG’s insolvency helpline available to the wider sector.

Many voluntary and community organisations are struggling financially at the moment, and if you’re one of them, you should get the right support as soon as possible. Early,
expert advice, combined with determination, can help you avoid closure.

Insolvency – also known as bankruptcy – is a complicated topic that is best addressed by a specialist rather than standard certified accountants.

Accessing timely, expert advice is vital. With the right advice, organisations exploring insolvency may avoid mounting liabilities, and could have options other than closure.

It may be time to seek specialist advice if you are experiencing:

  • mounting debts
  • less cash flow
  • rising income gaps
  • worries that you can't keep doing more with less.

There are no stupid questions, and the right advice at the right time could have a substantial impact on your organisation’s future. So if you are not sure if insolvency applies to your organisation, please ask now!

The free insolvency helpline is available by contacting:

  • David Baxendale at PricewaterhouseCoopers on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Peter Gotham Consulting on 07496 473409

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