I was facilitating an away day last month when a participant said to me: ”The sector is really keen to do more public services”. I asked the woman how she knew this, and it turned out that a statement made by Sir Stephen Bubb, head of the sector chief executives body Acevo, was her source. Now Sir Stephen is many things – wise, intelligent, athletic; but representative of sector opinion he is not.
It is for people like my participant at the away day that the State of the Sector survey from nfpSynergy and Third Sector is designed. It’s a chance to gather the views of people from across the sector. It’s a chance to find out what people at the grassroots think and feel.
The survey covers a wide range of issues. For example, there has been no end of initiatives and ideas launched in the sector since the last election. The government has created its fair share, as have organisations like Nesta, the Big Lottery Fund, sector umbrella bodies and the like. Are any of them any good?
It’s easy for people like me – sector watchers, consultants, researchers – to have views about what works and what doesn’t. It’s even more tempting for us to feel we know what the sector thinks. But of course we don’t, in fact: and that’s why we really need as many people as possible to tell us about what they think is going on in the sector. We are a year away from the next general election, and we all need to know what people who work in the sector think about all the different things that are going on. For example:
- How are charities doing in the current climate?
- What resources and skills shortages are holding your organisation back?
- Is your charity able to be independent from funders, donors and politicians?
- Have any government initiatives made any difference to you?
- Which party might make the biggest difference, come the next election?
The results will be published in Third Sector and made available to everyone free of charge, so you will get to see the full details of what the sector really does think. And did I mention that there are 20 Amazon vouchers of £20 to be given away to people who complete the survey?
Joe Saxton is the founder of nfpSynergy