The Road Ahead report is our annual analysis of the changing operating environment for NCVO members and those working or volunteering in the voluntary sector.

It identifies and explains forces and trends shaping the sector and are likely to have an impact on voluntary organisations in the future.

As in previous years, this report was developed using a PESTEL analysis to highlight the key drivers shaping the sector in six areas.

We used a wide range of information sources: from official statistics and research to the latest economic forecasts and futures analysis. As well as calling on the expertise of our colleagues at NCVO, external stakeholders and members.

We mainly focus on general trends and drivers likely to impact a broad range of organisations in the sector.

The report begins with a commentary from Alex Farrow, NCVO’s head of networks and influencing. He reflects on the six areas as a whole and how they might work together to shape the future of voluntary organisations and voluntary action.

The issues highlighted in the publication present opportunities and challenges for voluntary organisations. Trustees and leaders can benefit from using the analysis to explore the effects of these issues for their organisations when planning for the short and medium-term.

We have included some questions at the end of each section that may help you think about what these issues might mean for your organisation and move forward.

It is worth noting that this publication is only a starting point. There will be plenty of other issues and questions to consider that are more relevant to what your organisation does and its operating context.

For help and guidance on strategic planning, there are resources available on our website, including guidance on how to do your own analysis and tailor it to your needs. We can also offer in-house support with your strategic planning through our consultancy services.

We have included some specific sources of help and guidance in each section of the PESTEL analysis.

We would like to thank our colleagues within NCVO who attended workshops and external stakeholders for their contribution to this report. This includes those who attended Members Assemblies in Cumbria, Cambridge and Nottingham, and partners on the Civil Society Group.

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 07 January 2022