What we hear from small charities on the helpline

One of the key services the Small Charities Coalition provides is a helpline. John Barrett, SCC’s Chief Executive explores some of the current financial issues facing its members.

The Small Charities Coalition (SCC) was created by small charities to respond to the need for free, accessible and sustainable support. Now a coalition of over 7,650 members, our mission is to champion the role of all small charities to ensure they are strong, well-equipped, confident and valued for the positive contribution they make to society.

We have partnered with CFG to help deliver their Small Charities Programme throughout 2016 and 2017, enabling these small but vital organisations to strengthen their monetary capabilities and build on their sustainability. Right now, more than ever, we all need to be on top of our accounts given the big financial challenges our members are facing.

One of the key areas of support we offer comes via our information, help and advice services that deliver free support and information to small charities that are experiencing difficulties in their work. If the team is unable to directly answer queries they will signpost members to other relevant organisations and resources that can offer more specific guidance.


Requests for financial advice

Some of the questions we hear frequently around the financial aspects of running a charity include how to register with HMRC, writing and submitting end-of-year reports to the Charity Commission, recruiting treasurers to boards of small charities and (particularly over the past year) tackling the auto-enrolment process.

There is a very real need for these processes to be designed in a way that enables small charities to be able to practically keep their finances in check, given the limited time and often limited resources they commonly have.

The helpline that we run gives us invaluable insight and data on the issues facing small charities, which we can then feed into our policy work to represent the needs of small charities on a national scale. This also helps us to focus on continual improvement of our services for members.


The need in numbers

Over the past 12 months our free information, help and advice services have responded to 835 queries.  As a result we have uploaded 21 new resources and updated 35 existing resources in our library of online guides, tools, templates and useful services. These resources that are readily available on our website allow small charities to resolve issues they may be facing.

The increasing demand for advice and the growing trend for the closure of free helplines due to limited resources mean that we continue to be an important go-to organisation for small charity queries.

“Thanks for the rapid response and clear advice. You have no idea how hard it has been to get an answer to that simple question!! I’m already glad I’ve joined your coalition.”

South Parade Trust


Training and resources

Due to the number of finance-related queries we receive from small charities we are really pleased to have partnered CFG on the Small Charity Programme. It is essential for us to be able to signpost members to practical and relevant support such as this, which provides free finance-focussed resources and affordable finance training.

For more information on the Small Charities Coalition: www.smallcharities.org.uk


John Barrett, CEO, Small Charities Coalition


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