The Future Charity Canvas

The Charity Model Canvas is all about future-proofing your charity in a rapidly changing world.  Based on Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas, a tool used extensively and successfully within the private sector to document, the Charity Model Canvas has been developed with a similar approach but tailored to suit the needs of the the third sector – through additional elements suggested by our research for the Future Charity Report, combined with a clear distinction between customers and other audiences to which a charity has to deliver value. The report and charity model were created in partnership with Manifesto and Massive.

How to use the Charity Model Canvas

Is your organisation’s purpose clear?

If the answer is NO we suggest spending some time defining it before moving forward to the next step. 

This could be through creating variants of your purpose and testing them with your different audiences through a series of workshops and focus groups. 

Who should be part of the discussion?

The outcomes of the canvas will lead to revelations about where your organisation is now, and the direction it should be going. 

By using key stakeholders from different departments, the entire organisation can become united in working towards a common purpose.  This collaborative approach can help build consensus and create priorities within the organisation.

The Canvas can also be used to build consensus on a single representation of you as an organisation. This would be through a facilitated session involving key stakeholders, each major function and audience represented. Within this small group, we recommend printing a large copy of the Charity Model Canvas (with space for sticky notes in each box).

You may wish to start with small groups, discuss the differences between each group’s canvas, and then use this to create a consolidated one.

Ready to get started?

Work methodically through each of the areas of the Canvas:


Describe the purpose of your organisation and what needs to be changed to implement it.

Key Activities

Record important activities your organisation carries out as part of delivering value to beneficiaries, supporters and other stakeholders

Key Cause Differentiators

Consider what makes your organisation unique compared to commercial organisations operating in the same space?

Key Challenges

What are the greatest challenges to delivering your purpose.


How are you measuring your success at delivering against your purpose?


Existing Partnerships

Who do you currently partner with to help carry out our key activities?

Desired Partnerships

Who has the resources to help you carry out your key activities, but isn’t currently a partner?

Key Competitors

Who’s competing for the time, attention and resources of your audiences?

Potential Mergers

Who could you merge with to carry out some, or all, of your key activities more efficiently or effectively?


Who are your most important audiences? This might include supporters, beneficiaries, researchers, volunteers, fundraisers etc.


What do they need from your organisation? How does your organisation benefit them?


How do you reach and engage them?


Top Income Streams

What are your most important sources of revenue and how have they performed over the last three years?

Cost Structure

What are the main costs associated with your current model?

What next?

It is important that key stakeholders regularly revisit the organisation’s purpose, and ensure the key factors contributing to it’s success are focused on.

For more insight into why this Canvas is essential to your organisation, take a read of our report on the Future Charity.

Extensive research into the major challenges facing charities in the UK, including extended conversations with people who work in the sector, it describes those challenges in detail and provides suggestions on how to overcome them.

For help completing the model, please reach out.

Digital Transformation at Save the Children UK

The challenge:

Expectations of an excellent digital experience were growing by the day. With more and more people engaging with charities via social and the shift to online giving gathering pace. However, Save the Children UK was still operating in a largely traditional, off-line way and disconnected way. With extremely limited digital capabilities, and teams working in silos, the quality of technologies and the external audience experience was suffering, whilst existing resources were being under-utilised. 

What we did: 

  • Strategy and Leadership: Working with the leadership team, we supported the strategy and business case development
  • Organisational design: Design design and implementation of new, digital and tech teams, a cross-functional delivery model and agile ways of working.
  • Change Consultancy: Supported the processes design and implementation of new ways of working, coaching and supporting individuals and teams through change

The outcome / results:

Increased organisational capabilities in content strategy and SEO, UX design and analytics, digital marketing and digital development, an improved support model and effective team dynamics meant that SCUK were able to better meet supporter needs and improve their visibility, campaign performance and online conversion. Digital got air-time at Exec and Trustee level, with the introduction of a new amazing Director of Digital,  and the team we embedded were the first step in the longer term transformation which SCUK is progressing. By building capabilities and proving the benefits of a more agile way of working, we set the organisation up for wholesale agile transformation.

Save the Children: New enterprise digital solution

The challenge:

The SCUK online platforms were suffering from historic under investment, leading to multiple disjointed technologies, confusing user journeys, poor quality infrastructure and lost income. In addition to this, through neglect of platforms and reliance on multiple third parties, they were vulnerable to cyber attacks. A lack of expertise alongside the instability and complexities within the current technologies had led to significant challenges in resolving urgent issues as they arise. 

What we did: 

  • Strategy & Leadership: We supported the Director of Digital and Director of Technology in developing the strategy and roadmap for change. Engaging with the SLT and Board of Trustees to ensure leadership support, dedicated resources and budget.
  • Transformation consultancy: we led on delivery of the significant transformation programme to equip Save the Children with the people, processes and technologies to maintain performance and grow within the increasingly digital landscape, and deliver the Cause of Millions 2016-2018 strategy. 
  • Agile Delivery: Working with agency partners and technology partner Adobe we transformed digital platforms and developed the infrastructure to build great user experiences, increase agility and better respond in emergency situations, to maximise impact for children.

The outcome / results:

  • Enabled the successful delivery of the Cause of Millions 2016-18 strategy.
  • Increased online income by driving up SCUK website traffic and improved user experience with better forms leading to improved conversion across cash, regular and emergency giving.
  • Enabled cost savings with better focused spend on paid search.
  • Reduced reliance on third parties doing web development by bringing more capability in-house, increasing agility efficiency and ability to respond to opportunities and innovations, and increasing speed to market.
  • Improved relevance and quality of digital content.
  • Empowered SCUK to use live data to understand the performance of design and content and build the capability to respond urgently, ahead of the competition.
  • Aligned website strategy across Save the Children UK and US, building in cost savings and a successful global partnership

Kelly and the Kivo Team have played a crucial role in the defining phases of our digital transformation. Providing programme management, project management and business analysis support, they have helped build the case for change, achieve board approval for investment and have successfully delivered the first phase.

They continue to play a leading role in our programme delivery. Kelly and the team not only share our ethos, they appreciate and understand our unique challenges, and have built a collaborative team across Save the Children, Kivo and our systems integrator, working hard to overcome constraints and maintain focus on delivery.

They have been considered part of the team at Save the Children, leading across organisational, technology and process change, whilst ensuring the internal team has the capability and capacity to take further phases of the transformation forward.

Karl Hoods

Chief Information Officer, Save the Children

Kelly is a change and technology expert with huge amounts of energy and determination. She is always solution-orientated and pro-active.

As programme lead for our Digital Transformation, Kelly supported in shaping the business case, getting buy in at Board and ELT level and she went on to effectively deliver the programme of work including recruitment of new roles, delivery of new technology, training and implementation of new processes.

Kelly was a step ahead across the programmes, intuitively identifying risk and quickly outlining solutions, ensuring that even if we did hit bumps in the road there were always clear options available to keep the programme moving.

Kelly is a great communicator, comfortable in discussions on business benefits through to technical requirements. This gives her the ability to communicate with a variety of stakeholders, gaining trust and buy in.

Linda McBain

Director of Digital, Save The Children UK

Future Charity: Saving the sector that saves lives

Two years ago, we set out to discover why charities weren’t making enough headway in their ambitious plans to transform. And, as consultancies working with the sector, we wanted to know what we needed to do differently to really make a difference.

We gave ourselves six months to find out why digital transformation wasn’t going much further than a shift to new technologies and re-wrap existing fundraising products, and (we secretly hoped) to find the ground-breaking innovation that would lead to the sector disruption we’ve all been waiting for.

Six months later, we weren’t nearly close to an answer...

When we set out on our journey, Brexit had an end in sight, children weren’t striking for climate change, and the crisis the charity sector was already facing wasn’t talked about that much.

Two years later, everyone that’s close to the sector knows that a bold new approach is required, if it’s to stand up against the rapid pace of technological and societal change. But, to know that isn’t enough. Indeed, to talk about it isn’t enough. To hide behind it definitely isn’t enough.

“We are falling behind and we don’t know what we don’t know.”

But what we have discovered are people who, despite being hampered by cultural inertia and a fear of getting it wrong, are filled with passion and ideas. This piece of work has drawn on these ideas and tried to turn them into practical steps for overcoming the fear, helping organisations build confidence, try new things out, and to look at their existing challenges through a new lens.

Our research has taught us that the change that is required applies to every single one of us that interacts with the sector. It requires us to be brave and take risks. It requires us to think about how we collaborate beyond borders, who we work with and how, and how we measure our impact.

Major cultural shifts are needed within charity organisations, and across the sector as a whole

These won’t just be organisational risks, they will be personal risks, and sometimes it’s going to feel uncomfortable.

But breaking through the barriers is the only way we’re going to have a sustainable, positive impact on humanity. And that’s going to feel incredible.

Take a look at the full report to see how you can be part of the change.