Welcome to the winter 2022 edition of Charity Perspective.
I sat down in my new role as RBC Brewin Dolphin’s Head of Charities Business Development six months ago, joining at a time of great uncertainty for charities and financial markets alike. The previous two years had already been hugely challenging for the sector, with charities facing rising demands for their services, coupled with rapid seismic operational restructuring and, latterly, reduced funding options and revenue streams. I witnessed these challenges first-hand as both an ex-charity CEO and strategic lead for Citizens Advice nationally, having spent the last 15 years working in the third sector in the West of England.
In some respects, the recovery from the pandemic has proven harder than the pandemic itself. Staffing issues, funding streams and an unprecedented rise in costs have become a catastrophic mix for the finances of many third sector organisations. Operations have been severely stretched in service-providing charities, while grant-making charities have fared little better as inflationary pressures have started to bite. Many of the traditional third sector revenue streams have simply become unreliable.
As governments and financial markets have continued in turmoil over the last few months, our RBC Brewin Dolphin specialist charities teams have continued to provide expert, reassuring, consistent and solid advice to keep a steady head and hand – and a long-term view while the world spins (somewhat chaotically) around us all.
Since our last Charity Perspective, we have become part of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) family. We are looking forward to the opportunities that the combination of two individually strong businesses will create for our charity clients. Rest assured that we will continue to provide high-quality advice and steadying guidance to support the long-term sustainability and resilience of all our third sector partners and stakeholders.
I hope you enjoy this Charity Perspective and I wish you all the best for the festive season.
Head of Charities
RBC Brewin Dolphin
Navigating the cost of living squeeze
Vicky Eastwood, Charity Investment Manager at RBC Brewin Dolphin, explores how trustees can mitigate the impact of high inflation on their charity’s reserves.
How can trustees balance ethics and returns?
Take a cursory glance at some of the past year’s best performing sectors – oil and gas, tobacco, mining, armaments – and it’s not difficult to understand the challenges faced by charity investors with some of the most commonplace ethical restrictions argues James Flett.
One step at a time
Step One, an RBC Brewin Dolphin charity client supporting people with disabilities and mental health issues in Devon, saw demand for its services skyrocket during the pandemic, writes Rita Lobo.
Supporting social entrepreneurs
Alastair Wilson, CEO of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, discusses how its collaboration with RBC Brewin Dolphin is helping social impact organisations to keep trading through the current cluster of crises.
Embracing digital transformation
Annie Legge, co-founder of Dot Project, a provider of digital tech consultancy services for non-profit, charity and social enterprises, explains how charities can navigate the challenges of the post-pandemic digital transformation.
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