The VAS Voluntary Sector Survey 2015
Back in October, we sent out an invitation to take part in our 2015 survey of the voluntary and community sector in Swindon. At a time when people in the Borough are increasingly dependent on the services and support provided for them by voluntary and community organisations, we felt it was exceptionally important that we get an up-to-date picture across the whole of the sector, from the largest organisations to the smallest.
127 responses were received from people answering on behalf of 104 different organisations. Three quarters of these are independent local groups. Half are groups supporting vulnerable people or families, and a quarter are sports groups. Organisations from across the whole range of voluntary activity are present in the response.
We are pleased to find that VAS are considered the second most effective partner asked about in the survey, after Wiltshire Police, and actually received the highest proportion of ‘very effective’ ratings. We are delighted to learn that so many charities and community groups have had a positive experience working with us, and we will do all we can to ensure we continue delivering a high level of service to the voluntary sector.
Other key findings include:
- Voluntary groups felt limited confidence that their organisation has the resources to survive the current voluntary sector climate, and many respondents feel their organisation is less capable than it used to be at managing change.
- Groups see their main development needs as help with securing funding, and help in recruiting and retaining volunteers. Issues that several groups are struggling with include recruiting leaders, recruitment of new volunteers, and engaging the wider public in their work.
- The most common method of acquiring new beneficiaries is through word of mouth, though referrals from community leaders and open days are also significant contributors to recruitment.
- More than half of groups receive grant funding from external bodies, and half rely on donations from the public. Two in five are supported by a lottery or charitable trust grant. One fifth of groups receive contractual funding.
- Three fifths of groups report stable funding compared to 2014; those reporting change are more likely to show an increase in funding than a reduction – other than among groups working with contract funding.
Thank you to everyone who completed the survey. Your responses, and the analysis (linked below) will feed into our strategy and action planning for 2016 and beyond, as well as feeding into the strategy and action planning of other stakeholders.
View the Full Report