toggle menu
Why support for rural community organisations has never been more needed - Inspiring Scotland

News

The latest stories from Inspiring Scotland and our partner charities.

Why support for rural community organisations has never been more needed

Island Communities Fund Manager at Inspiring Scotland, Lucy Conway reflects on some of the unique challenges currently facing Scotland’s rural community organisations and the fundraising support being offered by Inspiring Scotland to help strengthen these vital organisations.

Rural communities are incredibly diverse; no two rural communities are exactly the same and third sector organisations often play a pivotal role in supporting the unique set of needs of their local community.  However, running a community organisation in a rural and remote area can often bring its own set of challenges ranging from a lack of time to the more serious lack of funding.

Through our work as fund managers of the Scottish Government’s Rural Communities Ideas into Action Fund we have been working, listening and supporting small rural community organisations and have heard first-hand about some of the issues they face.

One main challenge is governance and staffing – many community organisations are led by volunteers or have very few staff, and may struggle to have the time, knowledge, and expertise to run their organisations. Recruiting staff in remote rural areas with small populations can be tough: specialist expertise may not always be available, and a lack of available and affordable housing in rural and island areas may prevent people from being able to move for a new role.

Small community organisations are often so busy helping the local community meaning there is little time left to plan ahead – strategy, evaluation, or funding plans can often be put off. However, having a simple strategic plan and designing evaluation early can often help these organisations make much better funding applications, saving time and energy.

Lastly, rural community organisations are often working with small numbers of people, meaning their potential to earn income locally is smaller than more populated places, and funders’ money doesn’t go as far: their ‘cost per person’ is typically higher than urban areas. With many funders looking for lower funding intervention rates and encouraging community organisations to generate more income themselves, the financial and operational pressures intensify.

These collective challenges can often mean it is hard work for rural community organisations to stay afloat and fundraising can feel like it’s never off the to-do list of managing volunteers, boards, and staff and projects.

To help, Inspiring Scotland’s rural team is providing individual support and online resources for rural communities. We can provide help or advice on a particular project, or on how to approach fundraising for community priorities in a more productive and ultimately successful way. This can help community organisations prepare in advance for future funding, before it’s announced by central government, trusts & foundations or other funders:

Sitting down with digital experts and Specialist Volunteers, Gordon and Elena
17.05.2024

Sitting down with digital experts and Specialist Volunteers, Gordon and Elena

“It’s not just a one-off get the kudos and done relationship […] We grow in this space.”   Our Specialist Volunteer Network (SVN) is an impressive collective of over 500 professionals who lend their expertise and time to the charity sector for free, saving not only those all-important funds, but time and peace of mind.   But

Read More
Independent support for people accessing the social care system
15.04.2024

Independent support for people accessing the social care system

33 third sector organisations across Scotland are to be funded through Support in the Right Direction (SiRD), to provide independent support, information, advice and advocacy to people using social care and their carers.   Starting on 1 April 2024, funded services will receive a share of up to £9.2 million funding from Scottish Government across three

Read More
Celebrating Our Future Leaders
27.03.2024

Celebrating Our Future Leaders

“Just because you are disabled don’t be afraid to chase your dreams. Go out and show the world you’re a fighter, fight for a job and fight for your rights. A disability won’t stop me, and I have a voice and I will let it be heard.” – Derek, Our Future Leaders graduate 2024  Derek

Read More