The Big Lottery Fund has announced the release of a new online ‘strength checker’ tool aimed at helping voluntary, community, and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations boost performance and sustainability.
Developed with the Cabinet Office, the VCSE Strength Checker can be used for free by organisations across the UK wishing to develop and improve their resilience.
The tool, which will be available from 1 February 2016, will produce a personalised report highlighting an organisation’s key strengths and areas to help them become more effective, including sustainability, marketing, strategy and planning, track record, quality and impact.
Organisations will also be signposted to other sources of support and funding including social investment. It’s hoped that information generated through the report will help organisations in planning funding bids to trusts and foundations. It is expected that it will be predominantly used by small-to-medium organisations but can also be used by larger VCSEs.
Path to Impact project
Meanwhile, The Big Lottery Fund is to provide in-depth support specifically for third sector organisations in Northern Ireland and Scotland. The Path to Impact project will use the online diagnostic Core Capacity Assessment Tool (CCAT) to help the groups to better understand their strengths and areas for development, allow support providers and funders to deliver more targeted support, and provide a comparative dataset on the capacity of the NI and Scotland VCSE sectors for the first time.
Third Sector (CO3) and Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations (ACOSVO) have received a grant of £358,810 for the new project, which will allow them to work with 100 third sector organisations in Northern Ireland and Scotland to help them better understand and strengthen their capacity.
The project will also run workshops and one to one support for the groups that take part to help them understand and address the findings of the assessment, and share learning within the sector.
Nora Smith, chief executive of CO3 said: “The third sector is undergoing a huge transformative process. Part of the challenge is understanding the capacity needs of their organisations, their areas of strength, and what support the leaders and their organisations need.
“We want to ensure that through the CCAT assessment third sector organisations will be better informed and gain a clear understanding of the forces at play to help them become more sustainable in the future.”
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