Management & leadership, Governance

Keen to make the right property decisions and help your charity be fighting fit for the future?

Antonia Swinson, CEO at Ethical Property Foundation, gives some insight into property management and the new online course in partnership with us here at DSC - Successful Property Decision Making for Charities, taking place on Wednesday 8 May.

As we all know, the Directory of Social Change has a deservedly fine reputation among trustees. Here at the Ethical Property Foundation, every new trustee gets a copy of The Charity Trustee’s Handbook – there’s no better preparation. But when it comes to property, decision-making for trustees just gets a whole lot harder. It is not just all the legal responsibilities you need to know; it is the pressure of working together constructively to make the right decision for your charity. Property is the number one reason why charities slash services or close – it is long-term, expensive and complex. It is also surprisingly and intensely personal, people hate the idea of losing or leaving a much-loved building even if hybrid working and sky-high fuel bills make it uneconomic. Unsurprisingly, a quarter of our clients say our advice has been critical to their survival since the pandemic.

The Ethical Property Foundation works with hundreds of charity boards each year, helping them make the right choices long term for their organisation. Yesterday, for example, we saw a charity whose trustees thought it was a good idea to rent out space to holidaymakers and hot deskers. These good people were thinking of raising much-needed income money for their charity, but had not considered the VAT implications nor, as they didn’t own the building, what sort of permission they needed from their landlord.

Like so many people in the voluntary sector, we have been hugely grateful to DSC for upskilling our staff, volunteers and trustees. So now we couldn’t be happier to set to work to devise a brand-new webinar to share our experience and help trustees avoid expensive property mistakes and find a way forward. We have two super trainers: Roger Annis, Associate Property Adviser, a chartered surveyor with long experience in strategic planning and project management, and Commercial Property Solicitor Michael Fahy, who is also our legal trustee and has handled every possible sort of legal problem over the years.

This year, as the leading property advice charity for the UK voluntary sector, the Ethical Property Foundation is celebrating 21 years helping every sort of charity in every sort of building along every step of the property journey, whether renting, letting out, buying, selling or moving.  Since 2015 we have been the lead referral partner to the Charity Commission for land and property advice. Today, my colleagues are away on site visits supporting voluntary organisations from Aberystwyth to Brighton. There is nothing more rewarding. Having property knowledge and confidence can save you a fortune and could save your charity. We look forward to meeting you on Wednesday 8 May.

Find out more about Successful Property Decision Making for Charities and book your space here now.


Find out more about Ethical Property Foundation here.