The UK’s VCSE sector – the outlook for 2021

Image Credit: 
Chris Montgomery via Unsplash
1 February, 2021


Attempting to consider Brexit, Covid, the breakup of the UK and Climate Change’s impact on the VCSE sector, The Road Ahead 2021 report is nothing if not ambitious. Examined through PESTEL analysis, NCVO offers a macro-level view of the collective response to the past 12 months, with questions that you and board might want to review over a Zoom coffee or Teams lunch.

As a rollcall of challenges, it might be overwhelming to see so many crucial issues all in one place – especially after the 2020 we’ve had. Or, having made it through January, you could look at them as a series of “why not” questions to spur a more or less radical rethink for the future (and every organisation has a duty to plan for risks that could be critical).

For example, although this may not sometimes feel the case, NCVO suggests the “standing of charities has probably improved within both government and parliament over the past year.” Organisations may still “have to demonstrate their value and credibility if they want campaigns to be listened to seriously,” but is now a good time to tap into the groundswell of community spirit and political capital to mobilise support for your advocacy work?

The report also describes how the London-centric world of VCSE policy making may shift as online meeting platforms make the necessity of close proximity to the corridors of power less important. Have the past 12 months actually improved opportunities for increased engagement at the national level? An example of this is the increased amount of time that MPs now spend in their constituencies rather than in the capital, which, in spite of social distancing, gives organisations the opportunity to engage on a more local level with policymakers.

Also highlighted are the opportunities to learn from the mutual-aid groups that have emerged during the past year – for example, neighbourhood WhatsApp or Facebook groups – and how they may offer direct contact with groups and individuals who may not normally be on your organisation’s radar. The report encourages organisations to put together “an age-friendly and inclusive approach to volunteering to help sustain and widen their supporter base, while exploring how they can create volunteering opportunities which match people’s motivations and expectations.”

As well as the resources suggested by NCVO, if you’re looking for new skills and tools to help you exploit the opportunities (and manage the challenges) of 2021, Voscur’s training schedule should have some of the answers you need.

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