The Skills Collaborative: pro bono professional support for charities

Housing and Homelessness

10 March 2021

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

In this uniquely challenging current environment, we invite UK partners of Oak’s Housing and Homelessness programme to consider turning to The Skills Collaborative.  It provides pro bono access to services to develop leadership, strengthen organisational resilience, and evaluate impact. All of this is designed to support organisations to deliver their critical services in the context of unprecedented economic pressures and soaring levels of service demand.

The Skills Collaborative’s services are delivered by business and economics professionals: business leaders, management consultants, specialists in finance, comms and HR, mentors, trainers and economists. A partnership of three specialist providers – Cranfield Trust, Pilotlight and Pro Bono Economics – the Skills Collaborative is working to deliver joined-up, flexible and responsive support. This offer builds on a successful pilot programme that supported 10 charities in 2019 and 2020.

How does it work?

In a nutshell, The Skills Collaborative aims to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ with a personalised advisory service: the team will work with you to explore which type of support from its wide-ranging menu of services could be most helpful, depending on your situation and preferences.

  • Organisations interested in taking up this support are invited to express interest in The Skills Collaborative, rather than applying directly to a specific provider. The form is designed to be quick to complete.  Applications from organisations without a clear idea of what kind of support they need are very welcome.
  • The Skills Collaborative will then contact you to schedule a discussion. A team member will find out more about your organisation’s business needs, your time constraints and the type of experience that would suit you or your team. You’ll then discuss a shortlist of support types from a menu of specialised services to explore what might suit you best. You may be asked for further information about your organisation.
  • The Skills Collaborative will connect you with the provider which offers the support that suits you best.
  • The Skills Collaborative aims to be flexible and needs-led. It envisages that some organisations may benefit from more than one piece of support, either immediately or at a later date within this 2021/2022 offer.

Which support is available?

The Skills Collaborative’s services fall into three key areas: impact evaluation; leadership development; and organisational resilience – see below for examples. Formats vary from one-off training events to regular engagements and intensive projects that span several months. Delivery models vary from highly participatory to more expert-intensive, but all require the grantee organisation to devote some time to get the most out of the support. This PDF will give you more detail about the different services on offer.

  • Impact evaluation
    • Introductory workshops on impact measurement.
    • Economic evaluation of impact, e.g., to enable you to make statements such as ‘for every GBP 1 invested in our work, we generate GBP x of benefits to society’.
    • Economic analysis of the cost of an issue, often for advocacy purposes e.g., ‘failure to support children exposed to domestic violence in the UK could cost taxpayers up to GBP 1.4 billion’.
    • Data analysis and visualisation.
  • Leadership development
    • Mentoring.
    • Peer to peer support: groups of charity leaders meet to share challenges and insights.
    • Holistic coaching programme.
  • Organisational resilience
    • Management consultancy.
    • Strategic and business planning.
    • Financial management.
    • Scenario-planning.
    • Generating organisational efficiencies and effectiveness.
    • HR.
    • Marketing and comms.

Key dates

  1. Following launch event (16 March): Expression of Interest form opens. There is no deadline.
  2. 19 April 2021: The Skills Collaborative will begin to review Expressions of Interest, and expects to continue to review Expressions of Interest in 2021 and 2022.

What do charities say about the offer?

Watch the launch event:

For further information

Please email the Skills Collaborative partnership manager, Jessica Harneyford, on Jessica.harneyford@probonoeconomics.com

About our partners

Cranfield Trust is the UK’s leading provider of pro bono management support for the voluntary sector.

Pilotlight connects Pilotlighters (business members) with charitable organisations to unlock solutions that help charities become more effective and sustainable.

Pro Bono Economics uses economics to support the social sector and to increase wellbeing across the UK. It combines project work for individual not-for-profits and social enterprises with policy research that can drive systemic change.

Oak Foundation commits its resources to address issues of global, social and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged. With offices in Europe, India and North America, we make grants to organisations in approximately 40 countries worldwide.

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