10 housing & homelessness charities in Oak Foundation’s portfolio of grantees are to benefit from consolidated resources of Pro Bono Economics, Cranfield Trust and Pilotlight.

Shelter estimates that 320,000 people in Britain are now homeless, an increase of 13,000 (4%) over the last year [1]. As charities and social enterprises gear up for this growing challenge, Oak Foundation’s new pilot programme aims to heighten the impact and sustainability of the housing and homelessness charities in its portfolio.

The programme will leverage the specialist skills of professional volunteers sourced through three partner charities: Pro Bono Economics will advise Oak Foundation’s portfolio charities on measuring and evaluating their impact, while Cranfield Trust and Pilotlight will offer coaching and mentoring and services in areas such as business planning, governance and financial management. The pilot launches in early 2019 and will run for two years.

Oak Foundation has recognised that a collaborative approach is key to equipping its grantees with crucial business skills as they deal with the challenges of the operating environment and of building long-term resilience.

As Julia Grant, Chief Executive of Pro Bono Economics, says: “Pro Bono Economics, Cranfield Trust and Pilotlight have already helped thousands of charities to survive and thrive. By joining forces in this new programme for the Oak Foundation, we are creating a comprehensive advisory package for frontline charities in the housing and homelessness sector.”

All three partner charities have direct experience of helping homelessness and housing charities. This two-year pilot will, however, represent the first structured opportunity for the sector to leverage the in-depth expertise of skilled volunteers from such a range of professional disciplines

Pro Bono Economics (PBE) will harness tools and insights from economics to help Oak Foundation’s grantees understand and improve their impact and value, while Cranfield Trust’s volunteers and Pilotlight’s members – management consultants and businesses leaders respectively – will help them develop their business skills and strengthen their strategic thinking.

Julia Grant continues: “Over recent years small to mid-sized charities have faced unprecedented financial pressures as government has cut spending to cope with record levels of debt. While the number of homeless has risen and demand for housing has grown, many charities seeking to help this vulnerable group have seen their funding cut – or remaining static at best.

“Time and time again, through evaluation that applies proven economic and business principles and draws on the right data, we have shown that charities, armed with a solid strategy, can build resilience and make a more compelling case to funders. The team at Pro Bono Economics and our expert volunteers are looking forward to collaborating with Cranfield Trust and Pilotlight and to securing the future of Oak Foundation’s grantee charities."

1. Reference: http://media.shelter.org.uk/press_releases/articles/320,000_people_in_britain_are_now_homeless,_as_numbers_keep_rising (last accessed 07/01/19)