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Leadership development training is linked to improved charity performance, says Pro Bono Economics report

A new report published by Clore Social Leadership in partnership with Pro Bono Economics has demonstrated a link between investment in leadership training and improved charity performance.

The research was commissioned as part of our wider aim to understand how charities’ investment in leadership development can drive improved organisational performance and better social outcomes.

Pro Bono Economics conducted an analysis of data from the 2016 Small Business Survey, a survey published by the Department of Business Innovation and Enterprise, involving telephone interviews with over 7,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across 2015 and 2016. The analysis was centred on addressing the following questions:

  1. How prevalent is leadership and management training by charities compared to other SMEs?
  2. Is leadership and management training correlated with improved performance of charities?

The report suggests that there is a correlation between leadership development training and improved charity performance. Charities that provided leadership and management training in 2015 were more likely to have increased turnover, introduced new processes, and introduced new services in 2016.

The report findings also show that charities are more likely to provide leadership and management training than other SMEs; and also that a higher proportion of charities planned to increase the leadership capability of managers over the next three years.

This report points the way forward for future research in this important area.
Dr Mark Graham Report author

Dr Mark Graham, one of the authors of the report, said:

“This report points the way forward for future research in this important area. Whilst a robust analysis of this issue was beyond the scope of this piece of work, so we weren’t at this stage able to establish a causal link between leadership and performance, it does raise interesting questions which certainly warrants further investigation.

Responding to the results, Shaks Ghosh, Clore Social Leadership CEO, said:

“This result is a very useful step forwards in helping us to better understand the relationship between leadership development and performance in UK charities.

Over the coming years we will be continuing to gather evidence to explore how investment by charities in leadership development drives improved organisational performance and better social outcomes. With Government looking to improve the productivity of the UK economy as part of its new industrial strategy, it is vital we understand the unique contribution that investment in leadership development in the social sector could make.”

It is vital we understand the unique contribution that investment in leadership development in the social sector could make.
Shaks Ghosh CEO of Clore Social Leadership

Pro Bono Economics helps charities and social enterprises understand and improve the impact and value of their work, matching professional economists who want to use their skills to volunteer with charities. Set up in 2009, Pro Bono Economics has helped over 500 charities large and small, covering a wide range of issues including mental health, education, employment and poverty.

For more information, download the report

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