Last month I was lucky enough to speak at the European Third Sector Leadership Forum in Rome. I was speaking on a fairly dense topic: the size and shape of the Third Sector in Europe. No, I didn’t see the irony of a British citizen speaking about Europe whilst Brexit was ongoing…. much!
My session was based on two pieces of research, one by the EU and one by EUConsult, the organisation I am chair of. What struck me most about the trends across Europe that I was highlighting was how similar the issues are that many organisations in very different countries are facing:
- The impact of neoliberalism and individualization
- The challenges in finding and keeping volunteers
- The need to balance unrestricted core funding with project funding
- Being able to demonstrate social impact
But what does this mean for civil society leaders and how do they respond to these challenges and more? We looked at this through a lens of ethics, creativity and innovation and I would suggest that these are the practical things that leaders can do to respond to the challenges that civil society is facing.
Charities, social enterprises, social businesses all face challenges in an increasingly hostile environment. Finding your way through is never easy. What steps have you taken to meet the challenges of working in the Third Sector where you are?