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What can charities can learn from businesses about how to profit from sales?

Our discussion topic for July’s Third Sector Café is what charities can learn from businesses about how to profit from sales. 

If you are working in the not for profit sector, and looking for ways your organisation can increase income from selling goods or services, this Café is for you! BOOK a ticket to join our discussion. 

The topic of raising income through trading and selling services or products, is a very thorny one for the third sector. The appeal is clear: if you can sell things at a profit (perhaps through a trading arm) you can generate your own, unrestricted income which you are free to re-invest as you choose in services which you may be struggling to fund in other ways.

But, the challenges can be significant. In my work as a consultant for charities, and even as a trustee, I often come across third sector organisations who struggling with sales. There seem to be 3 different areas of difficulty.

There are factors in the external environment. Issues here might include is there gap in the market? Will people pay what we need to charge? Can we compete with other providers?

There are factors relating to the business idea itself eg will the planned business actually be profitable? Does the charity have the cash and time to invest needed to get this idea successfully launched?

And there are internal factors, things like are our team on board with selling for profit? Do they have the skills needed for new roles?

This Café is going to look at the 3rd of these three elementsthe things about how your organisation works which can affect how successful it will be at being commercial. Things like: how can you ensure that your team are on board with commercial activity? How do you define what new skills they might need? Do people need to change how they do things now?  What is the best way to manage a change from a ‘we are not here to make a profit’ approach to a ‘we have charitable values but are open to making a profit to help fund our work’ approach?

We are delighted to welcome Andy Hanselman as our July speaker. Andy is a well-known Sheffield based consultant who has a great track record of helping businesses – and charities – be more successful. As well as being a consultant, Andy also runs regular courses in Sheffield for senior managers and has recently been working with managers at the Burton Street Foundation.

To help us explore this topic, Burton Street have kindly agreed to host our Cafe discussion and be on hand to talk about some of the things they've been learning from Andy's work with them.

Andy will be sharing insights gained from years of experience in helping organisations make positive changes. He promises an interactive session which will enable each of us to leave with an understanding of what actions we can take to enable a positive culture shift.

Earlier Event: June 16
How to win tenders
Later Event: October 20
Be a good employer