Developing indicators of stress for charitable organisations

ERNOP Science and Society Seminar: Developing indicators of stress and risk of financial vulnerability in charitable and voluntary organisations

By Professor John Mohan from the Third Sector Research Centre at the University of Birmingham

Discussant: Lev Fejes, ARC Romania

June 22, 2021, 10.00-11.00 AM (CET)

About this seminar

The present Covid crisis has led to considerable concerns about the financial risks facing voluntary organisations, but we lack a firm evidence base about the nature of those risks. For instance, how do we know which organisations are most vulnerable to reductions in funding of various kinds? What sort of organisations have had a funding trajectory that indicates vulnerability (e.g. measured in terms of fluctuations in resources, in regular excesses of expenditure over income, or limited funds held in reserve)?

We use financial data from regulators such as the Charity Commission for England and Wales, and also from samples of charity accounts, to analyse what is going on for over 100 000 charities in any one year. The value of this for stakeholders is to address questions of which organisations might be at risk and therefore to enable them to identifying potential ways of supporting them.

Target audiences would include voluntary organisations, funders, and government agencies who might be interested in lessons which could be put into practice in other contexts.

About the Third Sector Research Centre at the University of Birmingham

The third sector is a term which refers to a universe of organisations operating outside the formal state or public sphere that are not trading commercially for profit in the market.

Such organisations include charities and voluntary organisations, community groups, social enterprises, cooperatives and mutuals. These share a number of characteristics, principally their independence, public purpose, voluntarism in their governance and activities.

The Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC) constitutes the principal and most influential investment in academic research in this field in the UK. Our research investigates the resources, roles and relationships of third sector organisations, and the impacts and distinctive contributions these organisations make. We provide critical and independent research, not beholden to government or other stakeholders, as to the value and impact of third sector organisations.

We work closely with practitioners, policy makers, and other academics to develop our research programmes and explore the relevance of findings for practice. 

About Professor John Mohan

John Mohan is a Professor of Social Policy in the Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology, and is currently Director of the Third Sector Research Centre.

About Lev Fejes

Lev holds a doctorate in criminal justice from the School of Criminal Justice within Michigan State University (MSU) and an MA in Nonprofit Organization Management from Babe?-Bolyai University. As the Head of Research at the Association for Community Relations (ARC) he is responsible for coordinating the organization’s research efforts related to philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. He is a founding member of the Initiative for European Democratic Culture (ICDE) think-tank, and a research fellow at F?gara? Research Institute and Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD).

An enthusiast of research methods, at ARC he utilizes his research experience developed at the Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection (A-CAPP) within MSU in designing and implementing studies aimed at furthering the understanding of philanthropic behavior in Romania and at informing decisions with regards to the development needs of Romanian NGOs. In his other capacities, Lev pursues various topics related mainly to urban safety and policing.

His area of expertise includes anti-counterfeiting strategies, consumer behavior, corporate social responsibility, philanthropy and public policy. His main academic research interests relate to criminology, product counterfeiting, policing and urban safety. He is also interested in more applied research on the topics of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility and is passionate about turning the world into a better place for each and all.

About ARC Romania

Every community has the resources to become a better and stronger home for the people living in it. The Association for Community Relations (or ARC for short) has the mission to discover, cultivate and use these resources to give people hope, and a framework in which they can act.

Since 2001 we support and develop philanthropic behaviour in Romanian society, with the conviction that philanthropy is one of the best ways we can strengthen and develop our communities. Around us there are many people who do well with head and heart, and for them we have committed ourselves to the mission of developing an infrastructure for philanthropy, which they can build. Thus, we offer informal leaders, companies and NGOs a platform, where they can meet, work and produce a positive, long-term change.

We work with companies, NGOs, communities and individuals and we give them the necessary tools and strength to make changes around them, with the help of our programs ranging from fundraising training and consultancy, administering donation mechanisms for facilitating SMS and debit direct donations, research, developing sustainability strategies and reports, grant making / grant management services and many more.