Business development

This section includes resources which you will find useful if you want to be more business-like in your approach as a charity or community group.  It is becoming increasingly important for organisations to have effective plans and systems in place to demonstrate to beneficiaries, commissioners and purchasers that they are “fit for business”.

If you require advice and support on developing your not-for-profit business, do please contact us on 0118 937 2273 or email

All the information is for guidance purposes only – please seek specialist advice if you have a particular issue to resolve.

  • An introduction to outcomes and how to measure

    This guide provides basic definitions and gives you links to various resources about measuring outcomes, i.e. the changes that are brought about by the activities of your organisation.

  • Business Continuity Plan (NCVO)

    Business continuity planning is the process of creating a procedure to recover the most vulnerable parts of your organisation after a business interruption occurs. This link provides a template from charities, courtesy of NCVO and CaSE Insurance.

  • Business planning toolkit

    This toolkit is designed to answer some key questions about business planning and to take you through the various stages in a business planning process.

  • Free resources for charity leaders from Clore Social Leadership

    Clore Social Leadership has developed some free resources for those in leadership positions in the voluntary and community sector to help address leadership challenges. These tools are referred to as the ‘Backpack’ and contain the most impactful leadership tools they have gathered in the past 10 years of running leadership programmes, and contain the following areas for self-development as a social leader: How can I know myself and self development How can I look after myself How can I plan for my development How can I unlock the opportunities in my context How can I ...

  • How commissioning works

    This toolkit is intended as a resource for organisations and groups that want to understand more about how to engage in the commissioning processes undertaken by statutory agencies (local authorities, health services and government departments).

  • Impact and Evaluation practices to improve your services

    This helpful guide from NCVO explains how measuring impact and evaluating your work can help you to develop your strategy and organisational plan, make your work more effective, report to funders and attract further funding, and motivate your staff and volunteers. The guide also provides tools and methods to do this.

  • PEST analysis (NCVO)

    A PEST analysis is a tool for exploring the trends, opportunities and threats that your organisation may have to face in the future. It covers four areas: political, economic, social and technological. Courtesy of NCVO this link also includes templates.

  • Reserves Calculator from the Wise Owl Partnership

    This FREE Reserves Calculator from the Wise Owl Partnership will guide you through the steps required for setting a reserves policy using a risk based approach. It takes into account all the factors set out in the Charity Commission’s guidance (CC19) and helps you to work out the amount or range of reserves needed for your charity.

  • Risk Management

    This guidance aims to give an overview of risk and risk management for charities and voluntary organisations, drawing on, and with links to, resources from the Charity Commission and NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations).

  • VCSE Strength Checker

    The Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Strength Checker is an interactive tool provided by the Big Lottery in conjunction with the Cabinet Office that helps analyse an organisation’s strength in key areas and may be used as part of your strategic or business planning.

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