February's topic of the month

The topic of the month for February is property - and to what extent involvement with property offers non-profits an opportunity to diversify their income. Afterall, property developers seem to be doing it all the time in our city - is the not for profit sector missing a trick?

In true Third Sector Cafe style we'll be exploring this topic by talking to some local organisations about their experiences and will be sharing what we've learnt in the February Cafe discussion, as well as here, on our blog. So far our conversations have included: 

  • SOAR raised funding to build the impressive SOAR Works
  • The Burton Street Foundation took on a long lease (and maintenance responsibility) for a dilapidated former school which is now an impressive base at the core of their work
  • Reach Homes are a social enterprise who have developed an innovative container home which offers a low cost, high quality housing solution - Director Jon Johnson is our speaker at February's Third Sector Cafe, giving us an insight into his work on this innovative, and now multiple award-winning project BOOK your ticket
  • Access Space who have made innovative use of their current venue - but are now on the hunt for other venue possibilities
  • We'll also recap earlier TSC discussions with Portland Works where the tenants formed a co-operative to buy the building when it was threatened with development into flats by the previous owner

None of these organisations went into property with a primary aim of generating surplus income.

However, once in property, some do find opportunities for a double benefit: buildings can make it easier to achieve social impact AND they can contribute financially. This could look like:

  • reducing the cost of delivering services - eg reduce or waive room or pitch rental
  • ·contribute to core costs – eg the cost of a centre manager, premises, marketing or admin costs
  • or, with the right company structure, generate a surplus for re-investment in the non-profit’s work.

As mentioned above, private developers have made (and, ok, also lost at times) significant profit through their involvement with buildings in the city. As the world of public sector commissioning gets ever harder to survive in, and charitable grants become ever more competitive, is it worth reviewing whether involvement with buildings could be part of a strategy to diversify your income and play a part in sustaining some of your non-profit’s activities?

If this topic is of interest to you, keep an eye out for the highlights from the conversations we've been having to date which will be shared via the ebulletin and on our blog - and inform our Feburary Cafe discussion BOOK.


Sophy HallamComment