Theory of Change

A5cend was set up in 2010 to help third sector organisations become more sustainable and reach their full potential

We want all vulnerable people in society to access the help they need locally and believe that local grass roots third sector organisations are often best placed to provide this help

Community-based organisations understand the needs of local people, have good links with local communities and are a first point of contact for many vulnerable people. They are often considered more accessible and approachable than mainstream services and are able to offer more personalised support, helping vulnerable people take the first steps towards improving their lives.

However, many local community organisations struggle to survive funding cuts, austerity and need to adapt to new business-driven models of work

Funding for community organisations today tends to be relatively short-term and project-based, and many find themselves in a ‘Catch 22’ situation. They spend the majority of their resources delivering projects or searching for the next source of funding. Limited core funding means their management teams are often over-stretched, so they lack the resources to plan for the future, communicate their value and focus on sustainability. As a result, many find themselves in an unstable position, making themselves less appealing to funders.  They also need to develop new ways of generating income, whether through sales or social investment and this often requires core capacity building.

We act as a catalyst for change

If community organisations are to survive and thrive in this challenging environment, they need to be strategic. They need clarity of purpose, strong governance, a good fundraising strategy, and clear branding, whilst being able to clearly demonstrate and communicate their impact and why their work is important.  They also need to prove that they are reliable and worth investing in, as well as showing that they are innovative and unique to help them stand out against the competition.

We challenge and support community organisations to develop their practice, work in new ways and communicate the value and benefit of what they do, helping them to take the first steps towards organisational stability, so that they can continue to help people in their community who are most in need.

Our ultimate aim is to support clients to develop their skills and knowledge, better prove their impact, secure ongoing investment and ultimately be more sustainable.

By helping clients to develop strategic plans, identify and improve areas of weakness, fundraise more efficiently, streamline budgets, develop evaluation tools and work to best practice (whether by policy or governance development) we look to support them to have a clear purpose which is matched by high quality communications, delivery and impact measurement all leading to a more resilient organisation.