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NCVO announces detailed plans for future offer to members, charities and volunteering

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) today announced new long-term goals after a year long strategic planning process that included a wide consultation across the sector.

The umbrella organisation for charities has outlined plans for its future offer to members. This is based on insight gathered throughout last year listening to over 900 stakeholders from across the sector but is also in response to the impact of covid-19 on the organisation and changing needs of its members. This has meant careful decisions about where it can have the greatest impact and the role it needs to play. As part of the process, NCVO has considered what new services it develops, what it does in partnership with others, and what it will stop doing.  

The organisation’s focus will be guided by four goals:  

SUPPORT: sharing solutions for today and tomorrow

  • It will continue to focus on the guidance and practical support offer voluntary organisations rely on. Over the course of 2020 its digital guidance on topics from funding to managing people and volunteers, leadership and governance received just under 2 million views as charities looked to NCVO for support as the covid-19 pandemic developed. 
  • To build on this it will bring members together to identify and find solutions to common problems. This insight will ensure the support offer of the future is responsive to the needs of the day and provide evidence for NCVO to push for a better environment for charities. 
  • This will be delivered through an extensive training programme and also see a re-defining of its Charities Evaluation Services consulting offer. After a number of years being delivered successfully under the CES identity it will be integrated within a full NCVO consultancy offer covering governance, strategy, impact and volunteering. 
  • NCVO remains a member of the UK Volunteering Forum (UKVF) and will continue to promote their Investing in Volunteers (IiV) quality standard and provide the IiV essentials tool. Our volunteering partners in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will support organisations in England through the IiV journey. 

 MOBILISE: making the case for charities and volunteers

  • The organisation will be committed to influencing the national conversation about the role of charities and volunteers. Guided by our members’ needs and experiences, this will initially focus on campaigning alongside partners to support charities through the pandemic. Over the long term the organisation will work tirelessly to ensure that both the public and decision makers recognise the essential role that charities and volunteers play in our society. 
  • With over 15,000 charities of all sizes in the membership making a difference to people's lives every day, NCVO will ensure that all their stories are heard, and not just those with the loudest voices.  

CONNECT: convening local and national networks

  • With fewer resources available, NCVO will be more adaptable, more efficient and work with others to make a stronger sector. This includes maintaining and developing existing local infrastructure networks and Volunteer Centres ensuring that NCVO understands and supports local needs. As well as building on the collaboration seen across national infrastructure organisations in response to the covid-19 pandemic, showing that when clearly defined and coordinated, the combined roles these organisations play is crucial to the recognition and support the sector receives. 
  • This work will be underpinned by a new events programme and new ways of bringing members together in communities building on a series of Member Assemblies delivered prior to the pandemic. 

EVOLVE: by embedding new ways of working  

  • NCVO will be driven by new values that define behaviours at the organisation and push forward an ongoing cultural shift seeing the organisation work in an Open, Collaborative, Inclusive and Ambitious way.  
  • It is committed to becoming a truly inclusive organisation, where challenge and accountability are embedded throughout all working structures, processes and, most importantly, relationships.  
  • This will include being more open about their successes and failures so that these can be shared and learned from.  
  • With one of the consequences of covid-19 showing that some people can work from anywhere remotely, the organisation will embed this flexibility into the working arrangements for its staff, opening up the opportunity to work more closely with members across the country. 
  • Collaboration will be central to NCVO’s ability to meet the goals defined and digital delivery will be prioritised as the most effective way to extend its reach and deliver its services. 

The pandemic has had a financial impact on the organisation and after consultation with staff a recent restructure has reduced the staff count by 20 to 87. The new strategic direction has also outlined specific areas and services that the organisation will no longer support, these include its Quality Standard: Trusted Charity and its online funding search service Funding Central. 

NCVO will be winding down the Trusted Charity quality standard and Trusted Charity Mark until March 2022. Organisations that hold the Trusted Charity Mark will continue to do so until their award expires. The Funding Central service will be ceasing on 31 March 2021 and NCVO is working with other providers to ensure alternative options are available. 

Sarah Vibert, Interim CEO said: 

"Covid-19 has shown just how crucial charities and volunteers are to helping people through the tough times. And how we underpin so much of community life in the UK and bring people together. Our challenge now at NCVO is to do everything we can to support, shout about, and stand alongside those who make a difference. 
The hardest thing for any charity developing a new strategy is deciding what you have to stop and this has been amplified by the financial situation we find ourselves in through the covid-19 pandemic. But by doing this we can focus on where NCVO can make the biggest impact. 
I am extremely confident and excited about the focus of direction we have been able to create. This will be built on collaboration with partners across the sector and directed by our members, who will be given a central role in our work."

Dr Priya Singh, Chair said: 

"I would like to say thank you to all our members and partners from across the sector who took time to contribute to this process. I am proud of the robust and consultative approach we have taken to informing our new strategy, especially during such a challenging year, we couldn’t have done it without you. As a result, we have a clear vision for the future with focus and collaboration at its heart. 
NCVO has seen a financial impact from covid-19.  With less income and a smaller staff team we must ensure we are focused on areas that we can have the biggest impact and work collaboratively with members to achieve our shared goals. 
For me as chair being more member-centred is synonymous with being more inclusive. NCVO has work to do to ensure we build a culture which is ever-more inclusive, and our new strategy highlights our commitment to this. 
We also need to acknowledge and use our pivotal role in the sector and in this context, we recognise the importance of working alongside and amplifying the messages of partners who are doing great work to build a more equitable sector reflective of the communities we serve."

For further information please contact Muireann Montague on 020 7520 2469 or email


  1. Further details on the changes to Funding Central can be found at Frequently Asked Questions about Funding Central.
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