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NCVO’s priorities for 2019/20

We published a five-year strategy (PDF, 3MB) in 2014, which took us up to 2019.

We haven’t so far prepared another long-term strategy to follow this one. While a lot of things have changed since 2014, we believe that the fundamentals set out in that strategy are still right for NCVO for now. With a new chief executive starting later this year, we’re anticipating that we’ll adopt a refreshed strategy for NCVO at some point next year.

So in the meantime, we wanted to set out our operational priorities until then. They follow the key aims of our 2014-2019 strategy.

Our vision and mission

Our vision is a society where we can all make a difference to the causes we believe in, and our mission is to help voluntary organisations and volunteers make the biggest difference.

Our priorities: three key things

These are the big three things we're going to be really focusing on over the coming year. They cut across all areas of our work so they’re priorities for the whole organisation.

Strengthen our local connections

We’ll strengthen our connections with local organisations to provide better support and to make sure we’re always listening to and reflecting the latest on-the-ground reality for the sector. We know that small and medium-sized organisations are under a lot of pressure at the moment and we want to know how we can best help. This will mean working more closely than ever with our partners in local infrastructure.

Champion diversity and inclusion in the charity sector

Diversity and inclusion are high on the agenda of many in the sector and we want to help. We want to consider all aspects of diversity and, not least because we know this is an area where no one has all the answers, we’re keen to bring people together to reflect on a range of diversity issues and possible steps the sector could take. As well as looking at this for the sector, we’ll make sure we’re doing everything we can to consider diversity of all kinds in our own work.

Make finding the support you need quick and easy

Our websites have a really wide range of advice and support content for charities, along with lots of information on things like events or policy issues. We know it isn’t always as easy as it should be for you to navigate all this and find what you need from us. To change that, this year we’re going to redesign our main website from scratch. We’ll also make it quick and simple to buy online from us, whether it’s ordering a publication or a booking a training course. And we’re going to streamline our communications so it’s easier for everyone to understand what our priorities are.

Our work plan in full

We’ve grouped our work plan for the coming year under our strategic aims. This isn’t an exhaustive list of everything we’ll do – the idea is to give you a sense of what we’re going to be working on.

Aim 1: Championing the voluntary sector and volunteering

  • We’ll continue to prioritise work and policy positions that will result in increased public trust and confidence in charities.
  • We’ll prioritise promoting safeguarding and positive working cultures in the sector.
  • We’ll help organisations understand and communicate their impact.
  • We’ll continue our highly regarded research programmes on the sector’s finances and on volunteering.
  • We’ll advocate for a funding pattern for the Charity Commission that ensures effective and sustainable regulation of the charity sector and strengthens the Commission’s independence from government.
  • We’ll ensure policymakers and the sector are kept fully informed of the consequences of Brexit decisions for charities and their work.

Aim 2: Strengthening voluntary organisations

  • We’ll work to influence the funding environment for charities, for example by promoting the best use of dormant assets through a Community Wealth Fund, and by ensuring that any post-Brexit replacements for European structural funds reflect the needs of voluntary organisations.
  • We’ll continue to provide voluntary organisations with analysis of key trends that impact them, for example through our annual Road Ahead publication and through research on charity finances and on volunteering.
  • We’ll keep building on our online and face-to-face training in response to what people tell us they need, as well as offering consultancy support to organisations.
  • We’ll complete the overhaul of our quality standards and encourage voluntary organisations to use them as an excellent way to review and enhance their governance and operations.

Aim 3: Growing and enhancing volunteering, wherever it takes place

  • We’ll work with the public sector to ensure public services take full advantage of the benefits volunteers have to offer, and that people have a good experience when they’re volunteering for public services.
  • We’ll build on our major Time Well Spent survey on volunteering by publishing thematic reports on a number of areas, including diversity in volunteering. 
  • We’ll continue to deliver Volunteers’ Week in England, constantly improving what we do through collaborating with stakeholders, and also by ensuring that volunteersweek.org is the best it can be.
  • We’ll implement a revision of the Investing in Volunteers standard, along with launching an associated free volunteer management health-check tool.

Aim 4: Connecting people and organisations

  • We’ll work with local voluntary sector infrastructure organisations, such as councils for voluntary service, to test approaches for strengthening our connections with them.
  • We’ll run ten NCVO Members’ Assembly events – twice as many as previously – in regions around England, as well as continuing to run our popular conferences schedule. We’ll continue to connect the volunteering community through regular forums and events.
  • We’ll connect voluntary organisations with volunteers, through our Step on Board programme.
  • We’ll connect people in the voluntary and public sectors, through our Day in the Life scheme, and also by continuing to press for the implementation of a commitment that the government made in its Civil Society Strategy of establishing a cross-government voluntary sector policy group.
  • We’ll continue to connect voluntary organisations and journalists through our Constructive Voices programme.

Aim 5: Being a sustainable and socially responsible organisation

  • We’ll review our processes to ensure we fully comply with the letter and spirit of the Charity Ethical Principles.
  • We will continue to publish data on our executive pay and our gender pay gap and encourage other voluntary organisations to do the same.
  • We’ll transform our technology by integrating our digital products and our business systems to ensure a better experience for members.
  • We’ll continue to drive our environmental footprint down.
  • Our staff get five days’ volunteering leave and we’ll make sure we’re doing all we can to help them make full use of it, for example by exploring how we can connect them with local volunteering opportunities.
  • We’ll make sure that our new chief executive has the information and support they need to succeed by developing a comprehensive induction programme and handover.

How we’ll do it

Our values remain to be creative, collaborative and inclusive, to use evidence, and work with integrity. We wanted to set out a little bit about what our values mean in practice for how we work and our behaviours:

  • We think charities, social enterprises, community groups and volunteering are great, and we’ll always do whatever we can to support them.
  • We value all sorts of organisations: big and small, national, local and international.
  • We can’t do everything, so we’ll focus on the things where we think we can make the biggest difference.
  • We don’t have all the answers, so we’ll work with others and value their contribution.
  • We always base our views and actions on the experiences and needs of our members and the wider charity sector.
  • We think about that we say before we say it, and we’ll always look at what the evidence tells us.
  • We always try to get it right but we know no one does all the time, and we’re open to constructive criticism.
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