Organisational Resilience

As part of our work to help small charities survive and thrive, we think one of the best ways to do this is to help them become more resilient. This will help them both plan for change but also be better equipped to deal with crises that might arise as we have already seen with austerity, Brexit and the coronavirus.

We have launched a practical programme to review what it means to be a resilient small charity and how they can best be prepared for the future. This builds on our existing work to support developmental and capacity building within and navigate the many challenges small organisations face.


This programme recognises that there is already a wide range of commendable activity being undertaken in this field, including our own Enhance offers. The intention of this programme is not to reinvent the wheel and to start afresh, but to draw together ‘best in class’ activities and insights from Foundation colleagues, other external stakeholders and charities themselves to rediscover and redefine what makes a resilient organisation and how to get there.


The focus of this programme is organisational resilience, recognising that often change is required at organisational level before resilience measures can be implemented or even engaged with. Whilst financial resilience will be the primary lens through which the work will develop, we consider that it will only be successful if the financial resilience of a charity is linked to its value and impact. 


Programme Objectives

We are hoping that this programme will enable small charities to achieve organisational resilience the ability to anticipate, prepare for, respond and adapt to incremental change and sudden disruptions in order to survive and prosper.


The programme is broken down into a number of phases:


Discover and Define

By the end of this phase we will have identified and clearly defined a range of practical activities and interventions, both internally and externally facing. They can be used for small-scale testing with a range of charities and external stakeholders selected from the six areas where the Development Directorate is working as part of its People and Communities work.


Design and Test

On completion of this element of the work, we will have designed activity plans and programme content which will have been tested with an appropriate delivery approach. From the test results we will create a package of practical interventions ready for roll-out as a long-term Organisational Resilience Programme.



Subject to feedback on the above work, we will move to rolling this work out to a number of small charities in the six communities where we are doing more focussed work. Successful implementation of this programme will directly result in an increased number of charities displaying the characteristics, attitudes, and skills necessary to build long-term resilience. This will be achieved by us providing tailored support to charities on their resilience journey, and by equipping us to use our learning and position in the sector to influence the behaviour of other sector stakeholders. The aim is to nurture an external ecosystem in which impactful charities are able to not just survive but sustain and thrive.


Currently, technology and remote facilitation techniques will be used to undertake this work in light of COVID-19. Any workshops, interviews or testing will be designed to be undertaken remotely with the hope that face to face interactions may be possible in the design, test and implementation stages.