Funding the Sector

Community and voluntary organisations face the same challenges as private and public sector businesses in meeting their primary objectives. They also face the additional challenges of providing a rewarding experience that sustains their volunteers and of recruiting and retaining staff in a context of insecure funding.

The deficiencies of statutory funding schemes adversely affects the work of community and voluntary organisations...

Full cost recovery

Community and voluntary organisations raise funds from diverse sources, but many rely on a proportion of funding from the State. For those community and voluntary organisations that depend on statutory funding, many encounter difficulties in securing funds that allow for the full cost (including overheads for example) of the work that they do.

Multi-annual funding

Compounding this difficulty is the fact that statutory funding is generally provided on an annual basis. This diverts the time and energy of organisations away from their work towards an annual cycle of identifying and securing new funding. It also means that organisations cannot plan complex multi-annual programmes with confidence.

Training, development and pension budgets

In addition to all these difficulties, statutory grant schemes rarely make provision for the training of staff and volunteers or for the making of employer-pension-contributions where appropriate.

The deficiencies of statutory funding schemes adversely affects the work of community and voluntary organisations and hampers the development of a strategic planning approach in the sector.

The Wheel considers that both the State and the community and voluntary sector alike are poorly served by this disjointed, incoherent approach to the statutory funding needs of the sector.

The Wheel recommends that a new framework for statutory funding is now needed to structure the funding relationship between the State and community and voluntary organisations. This new framework should include:

  • the introduction of multi-annual funding agreements for all community and voluntary organisations that are supported by statutory Departments and Agencies;
  • a full-cost-recovery approach to providing statutory funding;
  • additional and automatic training and development budgets for staff and volunteers of community and voluntary organisations.

Additional Resources

Community and voluntary groups can access extensive funding information and opportunities in The Wheel's funding section.