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OPINION: Increased professionalism of charities, good or bad?

OPINION: Increased professionalism of charities, good or bad?

Tuesday 22 November 2022

OPINION: Increased professionalism of charities, good or bad?

Tuesday 22 November 2022


Greater governance regarding charities is shining a spotlight on the professionalism trustees need to demonstrate, according to Wayne Bulpitt CBE, and he's asking if we should be concerned with what lies ahead, or see the changes as an opportunity?

As the Chair of The Association of Guernsey Charities, he is well placed to consider what implications the new charity laws might have on local organisations.

AGC association of Guernsey charities new logo

Pictured: Wayne Bulpitt CBE is the Chair of the Association of Guernsey Charities. 

"New charity laws and greater governance expected in Guernsey are shining the spotlight on the role of trustees (volunteers), or as the Registry prefer to call us, Managing Officers. But Guernsey is some way behind Jersey and the UK in the ‘professionalism’ of the role of the charity trustees. Should we be concerned with what lies ahead, or grasp the changes as an opportunity? 

As is often the case, a benefit of being late to this particular party is of course that we can learn from the experiences of others, the good and the bad, and plot our own, better course.  

There are benefits too, not just in keeping international finance regulators at bay. Maintaining and growing public confidence in the work and operations of charities can bring more funds and volunteers too. 

Personally, I’m passionate about supporting a “professional” approach as I believe there are significant benefits in how you best use the precious time that you have to give to others, by ensuring that it is used in the best way to promote the greatest impact and benefit to those you seek to help. The real excitement for me is not about the time I give, or creating a “feel good” factor, it is about the impact I can have on the things I care about. 

Professionalism should not however be about assuming that you should treat charities like businesses - they are different in many ways, but equally they can both benefit from the lessons of each other. Strategies and business plans are far from just about making money and equally about using what you have for best effect. 

Similarly, developing a ‘theory of change’ (a comprehensive description and illustration of how and why a desired change is expected to happen in a particular context) can help you provide a critical assessment of the barriers in the way of achieving your goals/objectives and identify the steps you can overcome to make the changes you seek.  

Effective charities will come from boards with good governance - volunteers and donors will have more confidence to support them and beneficiaries will have more confidence to use their services. A win win win scenario. 

Or course ‘professionalism’ requires the laws and regulations to be proportionate, practical and pragmatic, the role of our politicians and law makers to take on board. 

The Association of Guernsey Charities, appreciate that charities wish to do the very best for their beneficiaries, and just need a little help and support to understand the expectations of them. Our strategy is aimed at ensuring they have that practical support and we will be outlining how we plan to deliver that at our next members meeting on 5th December 2022 and asking our members, over 300 local charities, how we can best achieve this.  

‘Professionalism of charities is more an enabler than a noose around the neck of charities’."

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