The Charity Commission has stressed that it is important for trustees of a charity to review regularly their charity's effectiveness, and it is especially important to review how it operates in changing or uncertain economic climates. No charity is immune to financial problems and, sadly, there are occasions when, despite the best efforts of the trustees and staff, a charity encounters problems so serious that it has to close.
The fifteen questions the Commission suggests charity trustees should ask themselves are:
- What effect is the current economic climate having on our charity and its activities?
- Are we financially strong enough to sustain our operations?
- Do we know what impact the economic climate is having on our donors and support for our charity?
- Do we have any reserves?
- Have we reviewed our banking arrangements and, where relevant, our investments?
- Have we reviewed our contractual commitments, for example office leases, rental agreements, equipment hire?
- Have we reviewed any contracts to deliver public services?
- If we have a pension scheme, have we reviewed it recently?
- How can we make best use of any permanent endowment investments we hold?
- Are we an effective trustee body?
- Do we have adequate safeguards in place to prevent fraud?
- Are we making the best use of the financial benefits we have as a charity?
- Are we making the best use of our staff and volunteers?
- Have we considered collaborating with other charities?
- Are we making the best use we can of our property?
The guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website. There are links to appropriate further guidance on each topic.