Stronger leadership creates stronger charities and ultimately a stronger society – by Diane Rutter, Acting CEO of Community Impact Bucks

In recent years we have seen several organisations, both from the corporate world and voluntary sector, struggle in the current turbulent market with some even forced to close or scale back operations. Yet there are some which seem to get through tricky times relatively unscathed.

One factor leading to their success and survival could be ‘leadership’. Is a strong CEO or board at the helm more important now than ever before? Strong leadership not only brings a clear direction and purpose to an organisation but also helps the organisation be more resilient and able to tackle difficult times ahead.

At Community Impact Bucks, we come across many amazing individuals who have helped to build the extensive voluntary sector in Buckinghamshire. We see how individuals and boards make a huge difference and how important it is to get the right trustees on board to ensure the effectiveness of an organisation and to maximise the benefits to those who are helped. Crucially, strong leadership helps to strengthen the organisation as a whole and to ensure a strong future.

As the Select Committee on Charities (2017) stated “good governance is fundamental to a strong charity sector”. Various reports have discussed a skill shortage at board level – such as legal and digital know-how – which has been seen to have a direct impact on governance.

This is something that needs to be addressed across the sector; it does not diminish the incredible contribution made by those who lead charities and community groups across Bucks. What it does show is that there is a need for those heading up our charities and community groups to continue to develop their skills and experience, strengthening their leadership skills.

As Neelam Makhijani from Resource Alliance said: “one can be born with strong and effective leadership, but it’s a skill that has to be nurtured.”

We would love to hear about any resources for leaders that you have found useful which we can then share with other charity leaders in Bucks. Please do email me at