What should charities and voluntary organisations expect in 2018?

2018 Fireworks Header Image

With 2018 already in full swing, here are our predictions of what 2018 may have in store for the charity and voluntary sector.

GDPR is coming!

You already know GDPR’s coming, but with the ICO having issued new advice for charities and the May launch getting ever-closer, 2018 will see charities and voluntary organisations across the country implement the final changes to ensure compliance.

The ICO advise all organisations to use their regularly updated Guide to GDPR to plan and prepare for the new regulation, but it is hoped that more specialist and specific advice for charities may follow. Don’t rely on this; ensure you’re compliant! You may also wish to speak to your insurer about cyber and/or data loss insurance to provide peace of mind in relation to data breaches or regulatory failings.

With stricter rules for consent, it is likely that charity marketing and mailing lists will shrink. This may see donations (and donors) shrink too. However, with Generation Z coming of age and expecting a more digital-focused, concise and personalised service to win their support, this may not be a detrimental as once feared and there are plenty of options for developing your new, post-GDPR donor base.

The rise of the Civil Society Strategy

Between the independent Civil Society Futures inquiry and the government’s new Civil Society Strategy, 2018 seems set to be the year where the government and the sector attempt to create a fully-engaged and joined-up process for working together.

In times that are somewhat gloomy in terms of charity financials, it may be more important than ever for charities and voluntary groups to ensure they have a solid strategy within their own organisations, as well as there being a supportive, uplifting and coordinated strategy throughout the sector.

A new leader at the helm

The government is expected to announce the next chair of the Charity Commission very soon. According to the government’s own advert, the new chair must be able to “support the organisation through a period of significant change and cultural development as demonstrated by experience in either the private or charity/not for profit sector”.

‘Change and cultural development’ could be referencing a number of upcoming challenges for the Charity Commission, such as the continued efforts in supporting digital transformation, but likely refers to the Commission’s funding concerns. How will the Charity Commission continue to take on more work with less funding and will the largest charities start paying for the regulator’s work? And, if they do, will they have issues in enforcing payment like the Fundraising Regulator?

Diverse governance

2017 made one thing very clear. Governance is extraordinarily important. Between the Charity Commission’s ‘Taken on Trust’ research and House of Lords Stronger charities for a stronger society report, this was made very clear. (The NCVO provided fantastic commentary on both the Taken on Trust research and the House of Lords report).

The importance of governance and diverse boards are likely to feature heavily in Charity Commission guidance and campaigns throughout 2018 and well as a key aspect of the developing Civil Society Strategy. The move to diversify boards and ensure strong governance is certainly a ‘watch this space’ topic. You can read one of the CaSE Insurance team’s view on a potential source of new, diverse trustees in this blog on the rise of the young, digital trustee.

In terms of risk management, Trustee Indemnity in an insurance that many organisations purchase to provide peace of mind in relation to governance risks.

Brexit means Brexit

Brexit is coming and 2018 may prove to be the single most important year in terms of the UK negotiating its future with Europe. Though trade talks tend to dominate the headlines, the effects of Brexit will be felt across all industries and the charity and voluntary sector, and therefore communities, will not be left out. A year is a long time in Brexit, so NCVO have compiled a quick review of the major developments in 2017, what to expect in 2018, and what this might mean for the voluntary sector.

In a busy year, don’t neglect risk

Just a few days into 2018 and the year is in full-swing already. It’s set to be a big one for organisations that are being asked to do more with less funding and support. With all the changes that may come to the sector this year, don’t let your risk management fall by the wayside. Good risk management is a sign of a well-managed organisation and ensure that you keep up-to-date with Charity Commission guidance and speak to your insurer or broker to ensure your charity insurance is fit for purpose.

From everyone at CaSE Insurance, we wish you a happy and successful 2018!