A message from the chair

Thanks for your interest in becoming the chief executive of NCVO.

In this, our centenary year, we say farewell to our current chief executive Sir Stuart Etherington, who is retiring after 25 years at the helm. Stuart's era has seen NCVO grow in size, strength and impact. We support more than 14,000 charities, volunteers and community groups across England. Our task now is to find a new chief executive who will lead the organisation through the start of its second century.

NCVO provides more training and support than ever before. Our sector-leading research enables us to influence the policy and regulatory environment. We help charities and volunteers to thrive by providing expert support and advice, by saving them time and money, and by keeping them up-to-date with the news that affects them. Our membership ranges from the big household-name charities right down to small community organisations. The vast majority of NCVO members have a turnover of less than £30,000. We are certain that a close relationship with the grassroots and local organisations is essential for both our sector and NCVO itself to thrive.

What is less certain is the future of our country, and consequently the role of the voluntary sector. The UK is bound to change if we leave the European Union. We would need to reflect on the major national challenges we would face and how, we as a sector, can help to address them. Whether the UK ends up leaving or staying in the European Union, the voluntary sector will have a major role in healing the divisions that have been uncovered by the Brexit drama. This will be no small task.

The voluntary sector itself has also begun to face other new opportunities and challenges. Building a more sustainable and inclusive economy, addressing the needs of an ageing population, modernising public services, learning to adapt and benefit from ever-changing advances in technology, supporting and recognising the role of volunteers: these are some of the significant drivers that will affect the environment for voluntary organisations and volunteering. The emerging new generation of leaders in our sector will have to grapple with all of these, and more.

The importance of values, the need for space and place, and the value of relationships are just some of the significant themes that are emerging. How can we best meet these challenges? This question will be at the top of the in-tray for NCVO's new chief executive.

Leading NCVO into the 2020s will require a fresh approach and sharp strategic thinking. We have no preconceived notions of who this leader should be, but on this we are clear: this role is far more than a list of qualifications or experience on a job description. Lived experience and fresh ideas are equally important. I want to encourage anyone who has the vision and ambition to set a new direction for NCVO to apply. I'm very much looking forward to welcoming our new chief executive soon.

Kind regards

Peter Kellner, chair of NCVO

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