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Last updated November 2020

Benevolent funds and their professional associations: Seizing opportunities and mitigating risks

The Association of Charitable Organisations (ACO) has published a new report looking at the relationship between benevolent charities and their connected professional associations.

Download the full report from the bottom of this page. 

‘Benevolent funds and their professional associations: Seizing opportunities and mitigating risks’, authored by Caroline Aldred (ACO Trustee), explores the relationship between occupational benevolent funds (charities that provide financial support/assistance to individual members of a specified occupation) and their related professional associations. The report shows how effective collaboration is critical - particularly during the current pandemic - to ensure that the benevolent fund can maximise the support it can deliver to beneficiaries in financial distress.

Many professional associations and membership bodies opt to establish a benevolent fund as a separate entity to provide charitable support to colleagues in their industry. Support can be in the form of financial grants, but increasingly benevolent funds are also offering mental health and wellbeing services to their professional association’s members.

Caroline Aldred comments: “This report highlights the benefits of a strong working relationship between the two organisations and how to achieve this, addressing issues including governance, independence, fundraising, shared support services and common office space. At the same time, the report also demonstrates the dangers of this relationship restricting the freedom of the benevolent fund to pursue its charitable objectives and discusses how to mitigate the risks this poses.”

Insights from discussions and research conducted with different benevolent charities of differing sizes are shared in the report to help demonstrate the diverse experiences and challenges these charities have had in maintaining an optimal relationship with their professional association. Author Caroline Aldred also draws from her own experiences working in the benevolent charity sector for over 25 years.

ACO Chief Executive Donal Watkin comments: “We are pleased to be publishing this report at a time where charities need as much support as possible from organisations who they are partnered with. We hope this report can help guide benevolent charities as to how to get the most out of their relationship with their professional association during these challenging times for our sector.”

Documents

Icon Benevolent funds and their professional associations

Publication

Report discussing the relationship between benevolent funds and their connected professional associations

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