Running a small or medium-sized charity can be a messy business. The Boiling Frog is here to help.
My name is Jenny Hopkins and welcome to The Boiling Frog blog. It’s great to have you here if, like me, you care deeply about the future sustainability of small and medium-sized charities. These are organisations that exist to serve the disadvantaged and vulnerable.
The Boiling Frog aims to raise important and occasionally difficult questions about the role of charities in society today. But it seeks to do more than that. I want to share with you the knowledge I have gained over years as a charity CEO – on the front line, researching, implementing and refining the tools necessary for success.
Until recently I led a medium-sized charity and, having previously worked in the private sector, the experience was a revelation. My ten years there were as rewarding as they were challenging. We transformed what was, in many ways, a very traditional and unexciting set-up into a vibrant and highly respected nonprofit organisation. Almost all the original team stayed the course, and in contributing to the turnaround, their outlook and motivation blossomed. The charity grew to be a contract partner of choice for the local authority and health trusts, an employer of choice for jobseekers, and above all, a trusted go-to place for its many beneficiaries.
Success didn’t come easily. In fact, often it felt like we were operating under almost impossible pressures. To survive, let alone thrive, required new thinking within the organisation itself. No less important, the patience and determination to create a more mutually respectful relationship with funding organisations, including public sector commissioners.
My experience wasn’t unique. Indeed, I would go so far as to say it’s typical of what many leaders of small and medium-sized charities face today. I left on a personal high but also with a burning passion to do more. As the temperature of the sector ‘saucepan’ is rising, The Boiling Frog blog is one way I can help other ‘frog’ friends.
I also recognise that some of you may want more. Perhaps you are looking for one-to-one help with issues your organisation is facing right now. If so, I can help. I specialise in business planning and strategy. Don’t ever underestimate the importance of getting these right.
If you need support on any aspect of charity leadership or governance, do please get in touch. Working closely and individually with your organisation is a paid-for service, but I am confident of the difference I can make so it comes at no risk to you. In fact, if by the end of our time together you are not happy with the contribution I have made to your organisation, then you pay nothing. It’s that simple.
The Boiling Frog is about sharing an honesty about our voluntary and community sector today. What’s amazing about it and where it needs to start changing. If you like what you read here, let’s start that one-to-one conversation about turning your own organisation’s challenges into opportunities. You can drop me a line now at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have been lucky enough to work with – and on – some good boards in the charity sector. That may surprise you, given that trustees generally come in for a lot of flak – not least from their own CEOs and senior managers. The thing is, good boards don’t happen overnight. You achieve them with patience, care and forethought.
My sympathy to all organisations having to cope with flood damage after recent storms. I know what it feels like because I have been there. I was responsible for putting a recovery plan in operation for a charity when its offices and community centre suffered flooding just a few years ago.
Charities are no different to any other sector in that they are being challenged by the rise of digital. But their slowness to adapt means they face being left behind.
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