Is your health charity providing a clear case for support?
by Keith Nicholson
The political football that is NHS funding is in the press once again. This time, a recent announcement of an additional £1.8 billion being called out as ‘not new funding’. Regular stories appear in the press to rubbish the strategic management of the NHS – be it a lack of funding, poor services for older people, or a perceived reduction in quality services through online and telephone GP services and so on. Often, stories and opinion that appear seek to score political points rather than add real strategic or practical solutions to complex problems. What is regularly overlooked is the role and contribution made by the charity sector to the health and social care jigsaw across England.
There has always been a philanthropic element of society keen to reduce or eradicate sufferance, in addition to any state function. Those funding the work of charities are often keen to understand how charities work in the delicate space around the NHS and local authority social services, and how their funding meets beneficiary needs whilst also adding value to statutory services. Many health charities might benefit from the current media attention on NHS services, being an opportunity to make sure that activities are clearly adding value to the health and social care sector.

There are several significant ways in which charities contribute to the health and social care sector.

Cash – there are 250 NHS charities across the UK raising an additional £321 million for the NHS every year and managing about £2 billion in assets. Charities who support the NHS by delivering health and wellbeing services form a significant part of public giving in the UK, with 20% going to hospitals and hospices and 25% going to medical research last year.

Services – Charities delivering services in and around the NHS form a critical part of the health and wellbeing network, from Macmillan volunteers through to peer-led support groups and addiction services. Charities work hard to integrate services with local authorities and the NHS to ensure beneficiaries receive the support they need.

Policy and Campaigning – Charities sit in a uniquely powerful position to be able to positively influence the political landscape and campaign for change. Many awareness-raising campaigns are driven by charities and their advocates and this is done from a position of independence from the NHS.

In order to ensure your charity is optimising the opportunity to evidence additionality, consider how your case for support is presented. Here is how to stand out and present a clear case to funders and commissioners:

1. Be specific about the need you are addressing, it may be an individual or community need, but a great case for support should start with a clearly defined need.

2. Understand and articulate the golden thread flowing between your charity objects, your strategic and business plans and activities and how these all link together.

3. Be clear about the benefit your charity brings to the world of wellbeing for beneficiaries and demonstrate and evidence that impact. Sometimes it is helpful to show this diagrammatically or with a theory of change rather than a lengthy research document.

4. Have a monitoring and development framework that allows you to accurately measure the impact your work is having and shows your methodology.

5. Talk about how your work develops over time or is sustained.

6. Say why your organisation is best placed to provide this support and what makes your work unique if there are others operating in a similar space. This is especially important if there may be a perceived overlap, in particular with those in the statutory sector.

7. Develop a compelling set of case studies that bring your work to life and include media to make your examples stand out.

For charities that can show this real added value in wellbeing support services, there are lots of opportunities to demonstrate added value and achieve funding.

If you’re finding it a challenge to present a case for support that gets your health charity streets ahead of the competition, get in touch with the office at and one of the team will be in touch to see if we can add capacity and expertise to your fundraising.