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5 Steps to Financial Stability

Updated: May 16

In the past few weeks I've seen some interesting research into the big issues worrying local VCSEs and social enterprises; and again, unsurprisingly, its income (or as the sector likes to say 'fundraising') that is the big concern. It seems, certainly from my perspective, that securing grant funding has got harder in lots of ways - less of it around, more competition for it, more demands for evidence of need/spend/impact/sustainability and just the expectation that we will all have to doggedly submit bid after bid knowing that maybe one inf three will be successful. All that energy going into grant applications, which could be used elsewhere!!

So, if income worries are the things that keep VCSE leaders awake at night.....what's the answer?

Well, in simple terms....diversify, be bold, blend, grow and collaborate. Five simple things any organisation can do to develop more stable income.

  1. Diversify - don't just keep chucking out grant applications expecting different results. Try something new. Unrestricted income from trading profits is easier to spend and can be easier to earn.

  2. Be bold - cautious income diversification doesn't work. Full commitment to one new income stream is much more effective than trying to chase several. Be ambitious with your goals and targets - it's better to get 50% of £25,000 than 100% of £5,000.

  3. Blend - different types of income from different sources can be 'blended' to pay for a single project, service, event or activity. This only works if you have robust financial management in place to administer multiple income streams, but creating a 'patchwork' or blended incomes may help out.

  4. Grow - aim for growth. The bigger you are the more stable you can be. Working in a small, specialist niche can also work if you have a stable income portfolio, but for most organisations getting bigger and generating core contributions from across a larger number of 'projects' or services can offer better financial stability.

  5. Collaborate - working with others creates opportunities. Opportunities to share resources, cut costs, generate new income, go for bigger contracts, access expertise and much more. Working with others makes sense for so many reasons.


Try adopting these behaviours when you are setting strategies or are planning your organisation's development - they really can help you achieve a more sustainable and secure position.

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