Stewarding Loss
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Stewarding Loss

An update on the Care-Full Closures Fund

Photo by Nareeta Martin on Unsplash

In May 2021 Stewarding Loss and Deeds and Words were delighted to announce the Care-full Closures fund. This is an update on what we’ve learned so far and a call for you to get in touch if you think closure or merger could be on the table for your nonprofit organisation.

Do you think you need to have some honest, tough or challenging conversations about a future merger or closure for your nonprofit? We might be able to offer some support. Stewarding Loss have partnered with Deeds and Words on The Care-Full Closures Fund which will work with up to four organisations to support internal and external stakeholders through merger or closure processes. We are grateful to The Paul Hamlyn Foundation who have funded this work making it possible for us to offer grant funding to four participating organisations.

The last 18 months have made us all think a bit more about endings, whether that’s about losing loved ones, relationships or our livelihoods. The pandemic has made us confront loss in a way that we normally prefer to avoid, and as well as facing abrupt and difficult changes personally, we may have to say many collective goodbyes in the future. Across civil society, charities, social enterprises, community businesses and non-profits, many organisations are finding that the pressures of the pandemic have left them facing an uncertain future, creating additional sadness and anger among beneficiaries and the workers and volunteers that have kept them going. You can read more about the thinking behind the fund in this blog here.

Since launching the Care-Full Closures Fund we’ve heard from a handful of organisations interested in the opportunity who are not quite at the right stage for this support so we have not yet allocated our funds. In short, we believe this is because the full impact of Covid has not yet hit civil society.

One year ago Pro Bono Economics warned that pressures of the crisis could prove too much for many organisations and stark warnings were issued including that 1 in 10 charities were set to close within a year. But these apocalyptic outcomes for the sector haven’t materialised, or at least not yet. In fact research published by the National Council of Voluntary Organisations last month revealed there were fewer dissolutions in 2020 than previous years.

With furlough and other government support due to end in September and trusts and foundations moving away from emergency funding strategies, we believe a significant number of organisations will shortly be realising that closure or merger might be the situation they’re facing. We want to be there to support organisations from the beginning of the ending journey and are ready to stand alongside organisations before a final decisions has been taken. We know that having conversations early on helps keep time on your side and enables organisations to stay in control of a possible ending. So we’re here to help organisations to start having these important early conversations.

So, even if all you have is a sense that your organisation might be facing significant change, we’d love to hear from you. Please email stacey@deedsandwords.co.uk briefly explaining what your situation is and, discretion assured, we’ll organise an informal chat with you and then discuss possible next steps and the support we can provide.

About us:

Since 2019, the Stewarding Loss project has been exploring organisational endings. Our work is rooted in the belief that endings and new beginnings are a part of the natural cycle of growth, change, renewal and innovation within the nonprofit sector — and a signifier of necessary systemic shifts. We are committed to supporting and enabling better endings in civil society — and by better we mean endings that are designed proactively, intelligently, responsibly and compassionately.

Deeds and Words are a small and tight knit team of seven people. We believe inclusive cultures and collective working benefit everyone and that how we treat each other is key to organisational success, team morale and well-being.

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