In 2024, the charitable sector finds itself amidst a landscape filled with challenges, yet ripe with opportunities for innovation and collaboration. As the CEO of N-Compass, an organisation deeply committed to empowering communities across the North of England, I've witnessed firsthand the hurdles we face and the strategies we employ to not just endure, but flourish in these turbulent times.


1.Inflationary Pressures: The relentless surge in inflation poses a significant challenge for organisations like ours, heavily entrenched in community services. Balancing operational costs while upholding service quality demands agile financial management and strategic foresight.

2. Soaring Demand Amidst the Cost-of-Living Crisis: Communities lean on us more than ever as the cost-of-living crisis escalates, intensifying the demand for our services. This strain stretches our resources and capacity to the limit.

3. Staff Financial Struggles: Our dedicated staff grapple with financial hardships stemming from the same cost-of-living crisis. Their well-being is paramount, and addressing their financial concerns is crucial to ensure retention and attract top talent.

4. Lack of Inflationary Increases in Contracts: The absence of inflationary adjustments in contract fees exacerbates financial strains on charities, particularly smaller ones. This unsustainable situation threatens the sector's viability and underscores the urgency for collective action.

5. Risk of Destabilisation: Sustained pressure raises concerns about the stability of the voluntary sector. Smaller charities face heightened vulnerability, necessitating a unified approach to address these challenges.


1.Advocating for Fair Contract Fees: Engaging with local authorities to review and adjust contract prices in line with economic realities is imperative. Proactive advocacy ensures fair compensation for the invaluable services charities provide.

2. Leveraging Technology for Efficiency: Embracing transformative technologies such as AI and automation enhances operational efficiency. By automating routine tasks, we maximise resources to focus on our core mission of serving individuals in need.

3. Preserving the Real Value of Reserves: Strategic investment of reserves mitigates the impact of inflation and safeguards our financial health over the long term. Balancing liquidity with long-term growth ensures resilience in fulfilling our mission.

4. Employee Benefits Review: Prioritising staff well-being through comprehensive benefits packages fosters a motivated and stable workforce. Investing in our team not only enhances retention but also cultivates a positive work culture.

5. Enhanced Collaboration: Collaboration is indispensable in navigating economic challenges. By forging partnerships with funders and fellow voluntary organisations, we amplify our impact and bolster mutual support.

In 2024, resilience, innovation, and unity are our compass. By seizing opportunities and tackling challenges head-on, we pave the way for a brighter future in the charitable sector.

 By Joanna Solanki, Chief Executive