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The skills of those working in the charity sector are critical to ensuring that charities help the most vulnerable in our society in an efficient and effective way. The Rank Foundation believes that filling capacity needs in small charities allows them to focus on strategic improvements that can enhance their impact. Through its Time to Shine programme, the Rank Foundation funds 12-month employee placements in charities to meet a specific organisational need.

This report provides an analysis of the potential impact of Time to Shine on the charities that take part in the programme. Using statistical modelling to identify an artificial control group of comparable charities, we analysed differences in charity incomes after participation in Time to Shine. If the programme is effective, we would expect the charities that participate in it to have a larger increase in income after participation than similar charities that have not participated in the programme.

 The study found that:

  • Charity leaders can be 75% confident that participation in Time to Shine will have a positive effect on their charity’s income in the three years after participation in the programme.
  • Charities which participate in Time to Shine are estimated to have, on average, 5% higher incomes after the programme compared to similar charities which do not participate – this is equivalent to an average increase of around £200,000 per year. However, due to small sample sizes, there is a high degree of uncertainty and this estimate does not pass standard statistical tests.
  • As the cost of funding the average Time to Shine charity in 2019/20 was approximately £22,000, the programme’s benefits would outweigh the costs if it increases a charity’s annual income by just 0.5%.

Our analysis provides tentative initial evidence that the Rank Foundation’s Time to Shine programme is having a positive impact on the income of the charities it supports. However, it is also likely that the programme provides a range of other benefits to charities, including improvements to the efficiency and effectiveness of charity delivery.

The Rank Foundation created Time to Shine out of necessity because of the effect of the 2008 recession on charities. Financial pressures on charities caused by the economic downturn put a squeeze on resources required to invest and build capacity, while demands on the sector increased. With the pandemic having a similar effect, Time to Shine continues to play a notable role in enabling the charities it works with to not only deal with an increase in service users but to improve and develop their workforce’s skills. This means they should be better placed to step in when people need them the most. As the programme works with more charities and more data becomes available, future studies could provide stronger evidence of the positive impacts provided by the programme.

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