Don’t let your staff pay the price of success

Before you launch #UKCharityWeek spare a thought for how you will support your staff and volunteers, says Martin Baker of the Charity Learning Consortium, as demand for your services may increase as a result of raising your profile!

#UKCharityWeek is a fantastic opportunity to shout about the great work that your charity does. And as a direct result of raising your profile, you may have more people knocking on your door wanting to access your services. Whilst that can be a good thing, have you thought about how you will support your staff to do even more?

What learning and development resources have you got in place to ensure your charity doesn’t become a victim of its own success?

76% of charity professionals surveyed say training and professional development is vital for their job

85% say training helps them do their jobs, by developing necessary knowledge/skills

According to research by the Foundation for Social Improvement (the FSI) charities of all sizes have significant skills gaps. These are particularly pronounced in fundraising, monitoring & evaluation and management. Generally, the smaller the charity, the greater the skills gap – except for leadership and management, where the opposite is true. Training is seen as the answer but is conceived as being too expensive and taking up too much valuable time.

This is a real challenge, with a huge impact on the essential work that charities carry out. The FSI also reveals that lack of skills results in an increase in workload across third sector organisations, with work then taking longer to deliver as well. So this is a real catch 22 situation – staff and volunteers don’t have the time or the money for development, but without it their work takes longer. This reminds me of the saying about the man who couldn’t find time to sharpen his axe, because chopping trees was taking too long! This can all have a real knock on effect in terms of your organisation’s efficiency and effectiveness, at a time when your charities services are no doubt already under pressure. So what’s the answer?

86% say the quality of support and advice they give will deteriorate if they can’t access training

65% of Charity Learning Consortium members say learning technologies reduces cost

75% of Charity Learning Consortium members say learning technologies reduces time away from work

Well a digital approach to learning and development can achieve amazing results. I founded the Charity Learning Consortium on the basis that by collaborating, charities could spread the cost of digital learning resources between them. Today the Consortium has more than 130 charities, all using a digital, blended approach to supporting the skills needs of their workforce.

This approach has been perfect, for example, for preparing staff and volunteers for the new GDPR regulations that came into effect earlier this year.

Some charities – such as Cats Protection – have gone on to offer eLearning to inform their end users. Whilst others – like the National Autistic Society – are using their specific expertise to create and sell eLearning for their organisations, with the potential to raise valuable funds.

I really do hope that #UKCharityWeek is an incredible success for your organisation. But before you launch, please spare a thought for your amazing staff and volunteers and how you will support any increased demands on them and on your services. Please get in touch to find out how our affordable and effective eLearning can help you do that.



Towards Maturity – Engaged Learners Charity In-Focus report 2018

Lasa – Third Sector L&D Survey 2012

About the author

Martin Baker is the founder and CEO of the Charity Learning Consortium. He’s recognised as one of the most influential people working in eLearning and is a well-known advocate for using a digital approach to learning and development in the third sector. He supports sector specific research, for example into digital maturity and the use and effectiveness of learning technologies.

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