Leadership Insights

Leadership Insights is the home of our Fellows' research and provocation pieces which they complete as part of their Fellowship programme, in addition to specially commissioned research carried out by, and on behalf of, Clore Social Leadership.


Is the charity sector fit for purpose?

Is the charity sector fit for purpose?

By Diarmuid ONeill , March 2016

When charity began in the Victorian era there was no social welfare state, and most charities were developing and nascent. Much of what was happing in the sector at that time was heralded as brand new. But we are not in the Victorian era any more.

As part of the Clore Social Leadership Programme, Diarmuid ÓNéill asks in his discussion paper: ‘Is the Charity Sector fit for purpose?’ Examining the challenges ahead of us, including climate change, forced and economic migration, youth unemployment, loneliness, aging, the changing demographic of society and the ever widening gap between the poor and the rich, he wonders if we are ready.

Have we got the people skills and the requisite governance needed to address them? Can we ever be truly financially sustainable? Does the media understand and appreciate the significance of the role the sector plays? Is the public perception of the role and agency of charity understood? How will our relationship with businesses and government impact us going forwards?

The discussion paper engages with eight charity leaders to ask if - looking ahead to the next 20-30 years - we are fit for purpose? And then reflects on what needs to change to allow us to achieve our intended purpose. The paper concludes that there are several vital issues we urgently need to address if we are to realise our aims as a sector now, and in the future. 

Download the report here

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