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The need for greater collaboration between charities and more strategic giving by donors are key challenges for the charity sector, according to OCF’s CEO Jayne Woodley. She made the comments at the Local Enterprise Partnership’s Economic Question Time event at the Said Business School recently.

The event, which was attended by over 100 local business owners and directors, consisted of a keynote by Mark Berrisford-Smith, Head of Economics for UK Commercial Banking at HSBC, and a Q&A with an expert panel about the current business environment in Oxfordshire. Discussions centred around the opportunities and challenges for businesses and the economy in the county. Short interviews with some of the delegates can be seen here.

Several parallels can be drawn between the issues affecting businesses and those faced by charities. Many delegates identified the fact that whilst Oxfordshire is a unique and thriving knowledge economy and one of the most innovation-intensive areas in the UK, the lack of infrastructure makes growth difficult, especially in the areas of transport and affordable housing for workers. Additionally, some businesses have found that finance for new investments is difficult to come by.

Similarly, charities and community groups are facing a funding shortfall, according to OCF’s Jayne Woodley. “For me, the biggest challenge faced by most not-for-profits is getting people to understand that charities do have costs. Whilst people don’t like to think of us running an organisation like a business, we are very much like any other organisation, and when we work with donors we try and engage them in being a lot more intelligent and strategic in their giving. One of those things has to be to cover the core costs of the operation.”

Commenting on the infrastructure for charities and how they organise themselves, Jayne emphasised: “There are a lot of charities doing great work – and we need to speak as one voice about what the needs are in the county, and then look for solutions that actually address those. I think that charities need to work a little closer together, do a lot more collaboration – and in doing that we could probably access greater funding.”

Watch the full interview with Jayne here:

To read more of Jayne’s thought leadership, make sure you have a look at our blog!