Learnings from the programme

Our Creating Resilience report presents the key learnings from our three year pilot programme.

It explores what resilience could mean for small charities, how resilience funding can be structured and the impact it can have. Our findings detail key recommendations for funders looking to support charities to plan for the long-term and strengthen their resilience. Read the report for insights on our key learnings and recommendations.

Read Creating Resilience report
Creating Resilience report front cover

About the CAF Resilience Programme

How it was devised

The CAF Resilience pilot programme was devised and delivered by Charities Aid Foundation in response to evidence that small charities, which play an important and distinctive role in community development, can lack the resilience needed to remain strong and vital organisations. This poor resilience can result in charities that are easily undermined by a changing operational environment, suffering from fragile finances and weak organisational health.

A core challenge is that such charities are mainly funded to deliver projects, so it is difficult for them to secure the type of investment needed to remedy this situation - investment that would enable them to focus on, strengthen and protect their core organisational resilience. The CAF Resilience programme pilot tested what resilience could mean for small charities, how resilience funding can be structured and the impact it can have.

How it was delivered

Through this initiative, ten small to medium-sized charities in the UK, whose work has a 'problem prevention' focus, received grant funding, alongside bespoke advice and training. The grant was ring-fenced to give staff time to focus on organisational development not delivery. It was about developing the resilience of the charity, whatever that looks like for them, without a predefined outcome.

In return for this support to build their resilience, the selected organisations formed a learning community, working with us to encourage further philanthropic giving that supports this goal.

We hope that our learnings will inspire more major donors to support charities in planning for the longer term; to strengthen their organisational health and help secure the continued delivery of services that people depend upon. 

View the Theory of Change for the programme.

how the programme supported charity participants

WILD Young Parents' Project

Winning the GSK Impact Award, charity manager, Jo, tells us about the strides WILD has made with the support of our advisory team.

Read how we've helped WILD

Hot Chocolate Trust

Charity Director, Dave Close, reflects on how the programme is helping to 'future-proof' the vital work they do.

Read Hot Chocolate's story


With the help of the programme, ACE is working towards to a more sustainable future with a new business plan.

Find out what ACE are doing

Learnings From the Programme

Creating resilience: how funders can help strengthen small charities

Key learnings on from the programme and our recommendations for funders and philanthropists looking to support small charities.
Read the final programme report

Six characteristics of a resilient charity

What does a resilient charity look like and what are the characteristics that show an organisation has the potential to be resilient?
Read the blog

What do small charity leaders want funders to know

Insights from the mid-way point of the CAF Resilience programme on how funders can do more to support the long-term health of small charities.
Read the report

Listening for the future: the importance of feedback for charities and funders

How small charities can improve their feedback processes to strengthen their resilience and how funders can encourage charities to engage in feedback.
Read the report

CAF Resilience programme team

Beth Clarke

Beth Clarke

Programme Manager, CAF Resilience

Beth has been working in areas of organisational development and resilience for smaller charities for almost ten years. As well as running the CAF Resilience programme, she has also managed the DCMS programme Growing Place-based Giving, working with complex local charitable partnerships to establish long term sustainable models.

Beth has held responsibility for governance and process within a charity, and led on the development and implementation of a quality assurance programme for voluntary organisations across all London boroughs aimed at improving their organisational effectiveness and the quality of their youth participation. Beth was formerly a trustee of a national charity working to alleviate loneliness and social isolation through telephone friendship groups.

If you would like Beth to speak to your organisation about its resilience, please get in touch via our contact form