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Questions of faith

We define faith-based charities as organisations that embody some form of religious belief in their mission, founding history or project content. Today we can say with some certainty that the role of faith-based charities in the charity sector is changing; as is the context in which they work.

This is a highly complex area and we make no claim to cover a definitive set of issues facing faith-based charities, let alone a definitive set of answers. But with so many charities working in this space, collectively spending hundreds of millions of pounds each year and harnessing the skills of thousands of volunteers and paid staff, it is the right time to start thinking in more detail about this area.

Where do faith-based charities bring unique strengths to the sector, and where do they achieve the greatest impact for their beneficiaries? Where does faith help charities, and where does it hinder? What, for example, might a faith-based charity achieve that a non-religious charity cannot—and why? Why have some faith-based charities kept—and publicly promote—their religious roots, while others have evolved in such a way that they are now faith-based in name only? How do changes in the mix of faiths in the UK alter the way faith-based charities work? In what ways do these groups differ from one other and how are they unique in the wider sector?

This paper sets out some of these issues under six key themes: purpose and focus; collaboration; impact; reach; delivery; and funding. Our aim is to explore these in more detail over the coming year, so if you have any feedback, please get in touch at tris.lumley@thinkNPC.org.

You can read the press release here.

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