Support Barnardo’s, an effective charity

9 February 2010

Children’s charity Barnardo’s has just launched an emergency fundraising appeal. This is another sign of how the recession is hurting charities, as Barnardo’s says it is facing a £1.2 million deficit in legacy income as a result of the recession.

The recession has already contributed to an 11% fall in donations to charities in 2008 and more decreases might have followed last year. Many charities, including the biggest ones, are clearly struggling.

At NPC we feel particularly anxious about Barnardo’s emergency appeal because we believe Barnardo’s is a very good charity, and we have spent quite a lot of time analysing it to be sure.

We have applied our new charity analysis framework to the organisation, with particular focus on its innovative work tackling teenage sexual exploitation (we are also looking at Barnardo’s youth justice work for a forthcoming research report, and really like it). It comes out strongly and our analysts are confident Barnardo’s is a really effective organisation. The following is a summary of what we found in our independent research.

  • Barnardo’s is working on the right issues, tackling the tough issues faced by children in poverty. We rated its activities as ‘Excellent’.
  • Barnardo’s places a lot of emphasis on getting it right, understanding whether it is successful in its activities. We rated its results as ‘Good’.
  • Barnardo’s has great leadership, which we rated ‘Excellent’. In addition, its people and resources were also rated ‘Excellent’.
  • We thought its finances were ‘Good’ (though we expected a drop in income this year).
  • Finally it also had ‘Good’ ambition.

NPC’s analysis framework is being published tomorrow in a document called The little blue book. It can be used to help charities learn more about themselves, and to understand more about what makes a good and effective charity. It is a contribution from NPC to explain more about how we work and a tool to support charities in achieving even more.

The framework can also be used to decide whether a charity really deserves support, and I think this is how it should be used in this current situation. Barnado’s facing a funding shortfall is bad. The work of a good organisation is being put at risk because of the recession.

Donors can be deluged by appeals from charities, particularly in these straitened and difficult times, and may be unsure which ones are most deserving. Barnardo’s is deserving, seems to be in trouble and should be helped.

Being able to say this so confidently is a result of proper analysis of charities. We need more of this. Meanwhile, give some money to Barnardo’s.