When conflict can be just what your charity needs

When conflict can be just what your charity needs

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Welcome to month seven of our publication, Using Conflict as a Catalyst for Change – A Guide for Embracing, Managing and Mitigating Conflict Within Your Charity. This month we focus on how sometimes conflict can be just what a charity needs.

When individuals are faced with conflict, we typically experience our body’s natural fight or flight reflex; heart pounding and clammy palms. Many choose flight, thus avoiding the conflict, whilst others opt to fight and confront it head on. However, there is a happy middle ground where a positive approach to managing conflict can be a catalyst for innovation and growth, at the same time strengthening individuals and the collective group too.

Why conflict is important

Conflict handled well can have positive results for your charity. Conflicts often occur due to differing opinions or ideas. This can lead to a more thorough review of ideas, which in turn can result in better decision making.


Avoiding conflict can be a way of avoiding change. Although often uncomfortable, change is necessary for organisations to grow and develop. Avoiding change can be detrimental to a charity, particularly where systems or arrangements that are in place are outdated or no longer working.

Building and strengthening relationships

Encouraging conflict within your charity can even strengthen relationships.

This can only be achieved if people are able to openly express their opinions, with people listening to each other’s views. Differing views may lead to negotiation and compromise, which are important skills.

Witnessing how a colleague deals with and manages conflict can also give an insight into your colleague’s behaviour, enabling you to develop a good relationship as you learn about their values and views.

Actions to encourage healthy conflict

  • Make sure all board members feel their views and contributions are valued
  • Maintain a diverse board, making sure the viewpoint of the beneficiaries is well represented
  • Involve neutral or independent people in discussions where conflict is likely
  • If conflict arises, focus on the facts of the matter and not just the views of an individual

To find out more about how conflict can be a strength in your charity and how to develop healthy conflict, read the full article.

Next month we’ll be focusing on conflict with third parties.

Need help?

If you have any questions or if you’d like to discuss this with us in more detail, please speak to your usual MHA Larking Gowen contact. Call 0330 024 0888 or email enquiry@larking-gowen.co.uk

Steph Holbrough



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