Does the Not for Profit Sector Need Disrupting?

NFP Interchange 2016

At the last NFP Interchange debate in London the consensus was that yes, the sector certainly benefits from disruption. There were calls for charitable organisations to take the initiative and shake up on their own accord, or risk being shaken by outside forces.

 

The most recent of these thought provoking discussions brought together a diverse panel of experts to speak about disruption and change in their organisations as part ofGrant Thornton’s NFP Interchange programme.

 

Leon Ward, trustee at sexual health charity Brook, expressed the view that to create an agile organisation better able respond to disruption required ‘diverse voices’ to challenge the status quo on a board.  Having a range of ages and backgrounds represented as trustees enables freer thinking, disrupting accepted norms.

 

If the charity sector does not embrace change then the “shape of the playing field will be changed around us” said Paul Boissier, chief executive of the RNLI, who drew on Darwin to highlight his point, saying: “It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent but it’s the one that is most adaptable to change.”

Sharing Experiences at the Annual Trustee Exchange

On the 21 April I was honoured to be asked to share my experiences as Chair of Scope at Civil Society Media’s eighth annual Trustee  Exchange at America Square Conference Centre in London.  My keynote speech charted the ups and downs of steering governance through a period of rapid change post 2008.

 

No matter how turbulent the internal or external environment, a Chair needs to ensure the Keynote Speakerorganisation is fulfilling its purpose and serving all its beneficiaries.  I believe that during uncertain times and rapid change it is even more important for the Board to hang onto the organisation’s Vision, Mission and Values – and a key role for the incumbent Chair is to support the Board to hold its nerve in the midst of ambiguity and uncertainty in order to deliver the Mission, in accordance with the Values, eyes focused firmly on the Vision.

 

However, the challenge for the outgoing Chair, who no longer has any influence or standing (and rightly so), is to trust the Board will continue doing just that, regardless of its changing circumstances.

Rethinking an inclusive approach

Revitalise LogoOn the 24 March I was delighted to be able to facilitate a Board Strategy session for Revitalise. Revitalise is an established national charity that provides short breaks and holidays for disabled people and carers.

The board session was lively and provided a useful opportunity for board members to discuss and think through what makes for an inclusive Revitalise offering; what does inclusion really mean in the context of their vision, mission and values?

For me, it was rewarding seeing board members enthusiastically sharing ideas about how they could deliver more inclusive services in order to enhance the great work Revitalise does. I’m looking forward to hearing how their thinking develops in future.