Here at Cause4, we have always been advocates of the need for commercial principles to be more widely applied across the third sector, and are glad to see other people speaking up for the cause. Both David McHattie (Barclay’s Corporate) and Andrew Muirhead (Inspiring Scotland) have, this week, come out in support of widespread commercialisation in order to improve both the talent attracted jobs within the third sector and the funding situation of many small to medium charities. They suggest that in addition to an increase in fundraising activities, charities need to fundamentally change how they operate, so that they are in a position to “undertake robust commercial due diligence on Government contracts, and other commercial activities, and mitigate risks”.
This approach is already having success. Inspiring Scotland, for example, is an innovative partnership between Government, funders, trusts and foundations, businesses and charities – linking all three sectors together, and “working towards achieving financial self-sufficiency and achieving maximum impact to deliver a social return”. High importance is placed on the need for rigorous performance monitoring, similar to any commercial venture. Cause4 applauds this approach, and hopes to see more of it in the future, but wonders what other business principles could be applied to charities to improve either impact or output? We would love to know your views.