People. Process. Systems.

Andrew Harley
25th February 2024

Three Pain Points in Charities Header Image
As an experienced consultancy that regularly works with charities and not-for-profit organisations, we have seen first-hand the constant operational challenges that exist. From managing resources efficiently to adapting to change, there are numerous hurdles that can impact the ability to fulfil their missions. Among these challenges, three pain points stand out prominently, each posing unique obstacles to organisational success.


1. Spreadsheets & Duplication of Effort

One of the most pervasive issues plaguing charities and not-for-profit organisations is the overreliance on spreadsheets, often leading to duplication of effort across teams and resources. While spreadsheets can initially serve as valuable tools for various business processes, they frequently evolve into unwieldy microsystems. This proliferation of spreadsheets without a centralised system for data management results in redundant inputs and efforts, ultimately draining organisational time and efficiency.

The solution lies in conducting a holistic review of existing business processes and critically evaluating the role of spreadsheets within them. By identifying inefficiencies and streamlining workflows, organisations can minimise duplication of effort and enhance collaboration between teams. The benefits include improved productivity, streamlined operations, and more time available for value-added activities aimed at advancing the organisation’s mission.


2. Resistance to Change

Implementing change within charities and not-for-profit organisations is often met with resistance, presenting a significant pain point for organisational leaders. Change initiatives, designed to disrupt the status quo and drive progress, can evoke fear and apprehension among staff members protective of their roles. This resistance stems from concerns about job security and uncertainty about the future.

To address this challenge, organisations must develop clear and confident change management strategies that alleviate anxieties and foster buy-in from stakeholders. Communicating the rationale behind proposed changes, outlining the expected benefits, and providing support and training can help ease the transition process. By promoting a culture that embraces change and innovation, charities can navigate through periods of transformation more smoothly, unlocking new opportunities for growth and development.


3. Lack of Bandwidth

The last common pain point we regularly see is the struggle to allocate sufficient time and resources to manage and implement change effectively. With day-to-day tasks and competing priorities vying for attention, key resources often find themselves stretched thin, making it challenging to dedicate adequate focus to change initiatives.

Organisational leaders must recognise the importance of committing time and resources to change projects, viewing them as essential investments and accept short term pain for long term gain. By prioritising and allocating resources strategically, leaders can create an environment conducive to innovation and improvement. Additionally, fostering a culture of collaboration and accountability can help build a better working environment for staff, which set the foundation for improved service delivery to support user groups.



In conclusion, addressing these three pain points in charities and not-for-profit organisations requires a proactive approach cantered on streamlining processes, fostering a culture of change, and allocating resources effectively. By tackling these challenges head-on, organisations can enhance their operational efficiency, adaptability, and ultimately, their ability to make a meaningful impact in their communities.


If you would like to find out more about how we can help your charity or not-for-profit with business of system change, then get in touch with us today.

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