RSP Member - The Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI)

The Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI) is a small charity established in 2007 with a mission to support small charities across the UK to become more sustainable and continue to serve their beneficiaries. We do this by delivering free and heavily subsidised training events, online courses and webinars, advice hubs, conferences, research and campaigns. We are the charity behind Small Charity Week and have over 6,500 small charity members across the UK.

The need for our work

There are 167,972 registered charities in the UK[1], 97% of which have a turnover of less than £1 million. Although small charities are often the organisations working at the frontline supporting vulnerable people and causes, 81% of all funding available goes to the largest 3% of charities in the UK[2].

Results from the latest Small Charity Index show that 57% of small charities reported an increase in demand for services in the face of largely static income. Those affected have to prioritise their limited resources on providing front line services, so there is often little capacity to develop and train staff in the skills that would help them to secure more funding and run their services more effectively. Our Small Charity Skills Survey 2016/17[3] shows that 61% of small charities cite a lack of funding for training as a cause for skills gaps within their organisations, whilst over one third (37%) stated that these skills gaps meant that there was no room for the development of their services. 

What we do

The FSI aims to address these challenges and inequalities by providing high-quality training, uniquely designed for small charities, at an affordable price. We currently support over 6,500 small charities throughout the UK by offering £2.95 million worth of free and heavily subsidised services each year (based on the average costs of equivalent learning activities and resources). We offer regional training events in 21 cities across the UK, including Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol and Brighton.

Our rural reach

We’re increasingly working to support very small and micro charities who cannot access training due to price and time barriers. Our online provision is growing, with the coming year seeing us deliver a large programme of webinars (free or £5) and launching our first interactive e-learning course. We also want to make sure the voice of small rural charities is heard, and encourage you to complete our quarterly Small Charity Index surveys and biennial Skills Gap survey.

Join the FSI for free now to access all this and more.

“Brilliant inspirational trainers, extremely well organised training at a fantastic price and essential for smaller organisations like ours so we can move forward and thrive.” Joy Garland - YMCA Taunton

[1] Recent Charity  Register Statistics: Charity Commission, 2018
[2] UK Civil Society Almanac: NCVO 2018
[3] Skills Survey 2016-2017: The FSI, 2017

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