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270 blogs
  • 23 Jan 2017
    Every year our Local Hero campaign shines a spotlight on the incredible work of individual fundraisers. This campaign sees fundraisers competing over a month to top our Local Hero leader board. 2016 saw a nail-biting race to the finish line, with fundraisers changing positions right until the last minute. Our eventual champion, Alastair Sill, secured an incredible 317 unique funders, raising over £4000 for Taking Flight Theatre Company - plus a further £1000 in prize money. We recently had a chat with Alistair to discuss what inspired him to take part in Local Hero, to find out what his greatest challenges were during the month and to gather some tips for those interested in participating in this year’s campaign. How did you hear about the Local Hero campaign and why did you choose to support Taking Flight Theatre Company? “The theatre company had heard about the Local Hero campaign and told me about it as it coincided with plans I had already been making to fundraise for them” “I have worked with them for 6 years now as an audio describer. I recognise how hard they are trying to make their work accessible to a wide audience and the difficulties they face” How did you decide upon your challenge? “I enjoy cycling and wanted to do a cycling challenge anyway. My decision to ride from the East to the west of Wales matched the tour route the theatre company were taking.” “Throughout the ride I stopped off in places they were performing to explain what the company was doing. The theatre company sent out actors to the schools before I arrived and delivered iambic pentameter workshops. I did some games involving audio description and talked about my role and explained what audio description is" What training did you do for your challenge? “I followed a hilly route quite near my house when cycling. There is also a lake quite near where I live that I cycled around. I built up to the challenge, got my stamina up and made sure I had enough supplements.” What did you enjoy most about participating in, and winning, Local Hero 2016? “I didn’t expect as many people to get behind it as they did. I wanted to do something to help Taking Flight Theatre Company. I was quite baffled by how many people got into the idea.”“I got into the friendly competitive edge. You respected everyone who was participating, all of the charities and causes they were raising money for were equally important so you wanted them to do well.” “The competition got lots of people involved who I hadn’t been in touch with a while. It was a nice surprise when people you hadn’t seen in a while donated. The amount people donated was also a surprise – we had somebody donate £500!” “It got really close at the end. Beth House, one of the directors of the company got really involved. I could see emails coming through saying “we need 7 more sponsors and then we’ve done it, we’ve only got 10 minute left”. I tweeted a lot about what I was doing and put updates on Facebook too." “The fact it was so tight created a great atmosphere and built up publicity for the company. It also engendered excitement for the tour before it had even begun.” Do you know how the money raised during Local Hero was spent ? “Taking Flight are about putting on accessible performances with artistic and creative integrity. The signers for example are characters in the play. There was a deaf actor playing the role of Juliet and the audio description was integrated into the performance. All of these things push the boundaries.” “These things take time to work in during rehearsals. The money raised from Localhero was spent on creating even more accessible performance so that people can go to watch the shows who wouldn’t ordinarily think about going to watch a live performance - to ensure nobody is isolated or segregated in any.” What advice would you give to people interested in participating in Local Hero 2017? Pick something you are going to enjoy doing that can engender an appetite among the public. The more you enjoy the prospect of doing the challenge yourself the more you will be able to sell that idea to other people. Make sure you do something you can really throw yourself into and have a good time while you’re doing it – you may not do something like it again Ensure you have people around you who are supportive and as into the idea as you are. You’ve got to think about the challenge you are doing and so you’ve got to get other people to help with getting the message out. It’s very difficult to do the campaigning and do the challenge yourself – although its important to play a part in that. Don’t be afraid of getting in touch with as many people you can. You’ll be surprised how many people will support you. Enjoy the competition - the Localgiving website is really easy to use and you can view your growing sponsors . And the fact that the winners get an extra £1000 on top of what they raise is a really great incentive.   Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2016 Big Strong Heart: Tips for your Charity Challenge What Makes Local Charities Unique?  
    2253 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • Every year our Local Hero campaign shines a spotlight on the incredible work of individual fundraisers. This campaign sees fundraisers competing over a month to top our Local Hero leader board. 2016 saw a nail-biting race to the finish line, with fundraisers changing positions right until the last minute. Our eventual champion, Alastair Sill, secured an incredible 317 unique funders, raising over £4000 for Taking Flight Theatre Company - plus a further £1000 in prize money. We recently had a chat with Alistair to discuss what inspired him to take part in Local Hero, to find out what his greatest challenges were during the month and to gather some tips for those interested in participating in this year’s campaign. How did you hear about the Local Hero campaign and why did you choose to support Taking Flight Theatre Company? “The theatre company had heard about the Local Hero campaign and told me about it as it coincided with plans I had already been making to fundraise for them” “I have worked with them for 6 years now as an audio describer. I recognise how hard they are trying to make their work accessible to a wide audience and the difficulties they face” How did you decide upon your challenge? “I enjoy cycling and wanted to do a cycling challenge anyway. My decision to ride from the East to the west of Wales matched the tour route the theatre company were taking.” “Throughout the ride I stopped off in places they were performing to explain what the company was doing. The theatre company sent out actors to the schools before I arrived and delivered iambic pentameter workshops. I did some games involving audio description and talked about my role and explained what audio description is" What training did you do for your challenge? “I followed a hilly route quite near my house when cycling. There is also a lake quite near where I live that I cycled around. I built up to the challenge, got my stamina up and made sure I had enough supplements.” What did you enjoy most about participating in, and winning, Local Hero 2016? “I didn’t expect as many people to get behind it as they did. I wanted to do something to help Taking Flight Theatre Company. I was quite baffled by how many people got into the idea.”“I got into the friendly competitive edge. You respected everyone who was participating, all of the charities and causes they were raising money for were equally important so you wanted them to do well.” “The competition got lots of people involved who I hadn’t been in touch with a while. It was a nice surprise when people you hadn’t seen in a while donated. The amount people donated was also a surprise – we had somebody donate £500!” “It got really close at the end. Beth House, one of the directors of the company got really involved. I could see emails coming through saying “we need 7 more sponsors and then we’ve done it, we’ve only got 10 minute left”. I tweeted a lot about what I was doing and put updates on Facebook too." “The fact it was so tight created a great atmosphere and built up publicity for the company. It also engendered excitement for the tour before it had even begun.” Do you know how the money raised during Local Hero was spent ? “Taking Flight are about putting on accessible performances with artistic and creative integrity. The signers for example are characters in the play. There was a deaf actor playing the role of Juliet and the audio description was integrated into the performance. All of these things push the boundaries.” “These things take time to work in during rehearsals. The money raised from Localhero was spent on creating even more accessible performance so that people can go to watch the shows who wouldn’t ordinarily think about going to watch a live performance - to ensure nobody is isolated or segregated in any.” What advice would you give to people interested in participating in Local Hero 2017? Pick something you are going to enjoy doing that can engender an appetite among the public. The more you enjoy the prospect of doing the challenge yourself the more you will be able to sell that idea to other people. Make sure you do something you can really throw yourself into and have a good time while you’re doing it – you may not do something like it again Ensure you have people around you who are supportive and as into the idea as you are. You’ve got to think about the challenge you are doing and so you’ve got to get other people to help with getting the message out. It’s very difficult to do the campaigning and do the challenge yourself – although its important to play a part in that. Don’t be afraid of getting in touch with as many people you can. You’ll be surprised how many people will support you. Enjoy the competition - the Localgiving website is really easy to use and you can view your growing sponsors . And the fact that the winners get an extra £1000 on top of what they raise is a really great incentive.   Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2016 Big Strong Heart: Tips for your Charity Challenge What Makes Local Charities Unique?  
    Jan 23, 2017 2253
  • 20 Jan 2017
    As of 25th April 2017 we will be increasing the price of our annual membership from £72 to £96 (inc VAT) per year. As a non-profit itself, Localgiving is committed to helping local charities and community groups make the most of online fundraising. Since we started in 2009 we have held our pricing static, but just like everyone else, we are not immune from the effects of rising overheads, and so very reluctantly, we have concluded that we need to make a change. We have taken steps to minimise our internal costs, but we also want to run a sustainable organisation that is able to deliver the best possible services to you, our members - now and in the future. We commit to no further increases until at least 2020.   How Localgiving helps local charities & community groups In total, we have raised over £3m of match funding since we launched in 2009, all of which has been distributed to our members. In 2016 alone we distributed £300,000 of match funding, launched a new website and made over 120 technical updates to improve our services. We are vocal advocates for the local voluntary sector. The findings of our Local Charity and Sustainability Group Reports contributed to the government's decision to launch Local Charities Day. This directly benefited our members by bringing in extra funding for two match fund campaigns.  We are currently focusing our efforts on increasing the amount of funding and funding opportunities available to our members.  Since 2009 more than £15m has been raised for over 5,500 local charities and community groups via our fundraising platform.    Below are the key facts about the membership price increase for charities and community groups:  What existing members need to do: If you pay your membership by Direct Debit: Nothing. When you’re due to renew your membership, we’ll automatically collect your payment at the correct rate. We’ll email you beforehand to remind you. If you pay your membership by cheque or BACS: If your membership is set to renew on or after the 25th April 2017, please send us payment for £96 to cover your next year’s membership. We will be sure to notify you again nearer the time.  If your membership is set to renew before the 25th April 2017, then please send us your payment of £72. What new or overdue members need to do: If you complete the registration process and send us your payment before the 25th April, your first year’s membership will be charged at the existing rate of £72. If you complete your registration and/or send your payment on the 25th April or after, your membership will be charged at the new rate of £96. Please feel free to leave us your comments or suggestions, or get in touch with our helpdesk on 0300 111 2340 or help@localgiving.org for further information.      
  • As of 25th April 2017 we will be increasing the price of our annual membership from £72 to £96 (inc VAT) per year. As a non-profit itself, Localgiving is committed to helping local charities and community groups make the most of online fundraising. Since we started in 2009 we have held our pricing static, but just like everyone else, we are not immune from the effects of rising overheads, and so very reluctantly, we have concluded that we need to make a change. We have taken steps to minimise our internal costs, but we also want to run a sustainable organisation that is able to deliver the best possible services to you, our members - now and in the future. We commit to no further increases until at least 2020.   How Localgiving helps local charities & community groups In total, we have raised over £3m of match funding since we launched in 2009, all of which has been distributed to our members. In 2016 alone we distributed £300,000 of match funding, launched a new website and made over 120 technical updates to improve our services. We are vocal advocates for the local voluntary sector. The findings of our Local Charity and Sustainability Group Reports contributed to the government's decision to launch Local Charities Day. This directly benefited our members by bringing in extra funding for two match fund campaigns.  We are currently focusing our efforts on increasing the amount of funding and funding opportunities available to our members.  Since 2009 more than £15m has been raised for over 5,500 local charities and community groups via our fundraising platform.    Below are the key facts about the membership price increase for charities and community groups:  What existing members need to do: If you pay your membership by Direct Debit: Nothing. When you’re due to renew your membership, we’ll automatically collect your payment at the correct rate. We’ll email you beforehand to remind you. If you pay your membership by cheque or BACS: If your membership is set to renew on or after the 25th April 2017, please send us payment for £96 to cover your next year’s membership. We will be sure to notify you again nearer the time.  If your membership is set to renew before the 25th April 2017, then please send us your payment of £72. What new or overdue members need to do: If you complete the registration process and send us your payment before the 25th April, your first year’s membership will be charged at the existing rate of £72. If you complete your registration and/or send your payment on the 25th April or after, your membership will be charged at the new rate of £96. Please feel free to leave us your comments or suggestions, or get in touch with our helpdesk on 0300 111 2340 or help@localgiving.org for further information.      
    Jan 20, 2017 1173
  • 12 Jan 2017
    Social media is currently the number one reason people use the Internet, according to a study from Pew Research. It dominates online activity, and chances are your charity is already using it. Compelling social media content comes in many different forms. There is no secret formula to creating great content, it doesn’t need to take up a lot of time, go viral, or be professionally produced in order to be successful. Engagement is the key, and paying more to create content won’t necessarily bring success. What really matters is how the people you want to reach engage with the content you post. These top tips will help your organisation think about creating content that actively engages the people that matter most to you, whether that’s beneficiaries, volunteers, donors, staff or others, no matter your size or budget. 1. You don’t need a massive budget Many charities will tell you that they don’t have enough time or resources to accomplish everything that they’d like on social. Think of social media as a platform for storytelling. As a charitable organisation, you are already surrounded by great original content material, from articles on your website, volunteers in action, or the stories of people or communities you have helped. There are many ways you can re-purpose this content for your social media channels. Creating a posting plan can help you get started and feel more in control, but it doesn’t have to be perfect right away. Try things out, take note of what works for your audience, and tweak your content as you go along. For further guidance and examples of good practice on this, check out our free guide ‘What’s Data Got To Do With It’. 2. It’s not all about numbers When it comes to your content, quality reigns over quantity. Engaging with a handful of relevant, switched-on people will give greater results than simply reaching as many people as possible. It sounds obvious, but be social, connect with and reach out to your closest supporters in a similar way to how you would focus your personal time on close friends. The more you engage with your target audience, the more people will respond to your content, and engage others to do the same. By using material unique to your organisation, such as sharing a short video of someone your charity has helped, you are creating authentic, high quality content that will bring people closer to your cause. 3. Make your content fun Don’t be afraid to find the light in tough subject matter. Fun and inspiring content can go a long way to engage your audience. Get creative, try out something new, and give any and all ideas a chance. Taco Bell does this really well, and we have previously written about what your charity can learn from them. For successful image and video content, authenticity and storytelling produce the highest engagement. You can easily incorporate this into your social media by telling your audience about something that has happened as a result of your organisation, such as a successful fundraising event, though a photo or video that you have created yourself. A smartphone can provide you with all the tools to create fresh, engaging images and videos for your social media channels. Simply taking a photo of a volunteer in action can be compelling content for the right audience. For more tips on creating great content for your organisation take a look at our free guide ‘Something To Tweet About’. Hannah is the Junior Communications and Social Media Advisor at Social Misfits Media, specialising in helping charities, foundations and non-profits better use social media to reach their goals. Follow Hannah and Social Misfits Media @HannahDonald20 and @MisfitsMedia. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    The Value of online Fundraising: More than just donations Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2016 What Makes Local Charities Unique?     Image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/lg-smartphone-instagram-social-media-35177/
    7999 Posted by Hannah Donald
  • Social media is currently the number one reason people use the Internet, according to a study from Pew Research. It dominates online activity, and chances are your charity is already using it. Compelling social media content comes in many different forms. There is no secret formula to creating great content, it doesn’t need to take up a lot of time, go viral, or be professionally produced in order to be successful. Engagement is the key, and paying more to create content won’t necessarily bring success. What really matters is how the people you want to reach engage with the content you post. These top tips will help your organisation think about creating content that actively engages the people that matter most to you, whether that’s beneficiaries, volunteers, donors, staff or others, no matter your size or budget. 1. You don’t need a massive budget Many charities will tell you that they don’t have enough time or resources to accomplish everything that they’d like on social. Think of social media as a platform for storytelling. As a charitable organisation, you are already surrounded by great original content material, from articles on your website, volunteers in action, or the stories of people or communities you have helped. There are many ways you can re-purpose this content for your social media channels. Creating a posting plan can help you get started and feel more in control, but it doesn’t have to be perfect right away. Try things out, take note of what works for your audience, and tweak your content as you go along. For further guidance and examples of good practice on this, check out our free guide ‘What’s Data Got To Do With It’. 2. It’s not all about numbers When it comes to your content, quality reigns over quantity. Engaging with a handful of relevant, switched-on people will give greater results than simply reaching as many people as possible. It sounds obvious, but be social, connect with and reach out to your closest supporters in a similar way to how you would focus your personal time on close friends. The more you engage with your target audience, the more people will respond to your content, and engage others to do the same. By using material unique to your organisation, such as sharing a short video of someone your charity has helped, you are creating authentic, high quality content that will bring people closer to your cause. 3. Make your content fun Don’t be afraid to find the light in tough subject matter. Fun and inspiring content can go a long way to engage your audience. Get creative, try out something new, and give any and all ideas a chance. Taco Bell does this really well, and we have previously written about what your charity can learn from them. For successful image and video content, authenticity and storytelling produce the highest engagement. You can easily incorporate this into your social media by telling your audience about something that has happened as a result of your organisation, such as a successful fundraising event, though a photo or video that you have created yourself. A smartphone can provide you with all the tools to create fresh, engaging images and videos for your social media channels. Simply taking a photo of a volunteer in action can be compelling content for the right audience. For more tips on creating great content for your organisation take a look at our free guide ‘Something To Tweet About’. Hannah is the Junior Communications and Social Media Advisor at Social Misfits Media, specialising in helping charities, foundations and non-profits better use social media to reach their goals. Follow Hannah and Social Misfits Media @HannahDonald20 and @MisfitsMedia. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    The Value of online Fundraising: More than just donations Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2016 What Makes Local Charities Unique?     Image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/lg-smartphone-instagram-social-media-35177/
    Jan 12, 2017 7999
  • 06 Jan 2017
    We spoke to our very own Emma Rawlingson (Programmes Manager at Localgiving), Localgiving member Hannah Rowan (Project Manager at West Rhyl Young People’s Project), Mike Lewis (Grant Manager Wales at Lloyds Bank Foundation) and Neil Pringle (Fund Manager at Gwynt y Môr Community Fund) to get four different perspectives on digital fundraising. 1) A source of unrestricted income that can be hard to find elsewhere Raising money for a charity online has the obvious and instant benefit of swelling the coffers - but it’s not a quick fix. It takes a little time and effort to get digital fundraising right. “Online fundraising can be difficult for ultra local organisations, especially those that lack time and resources. Add financial pressures into the mix and it can lead groups to focus heavily on grant funding,” explained Emma Rawlingson , Programmes Manager at Localgiving. That effort to make digital fundraising work pays dividends, though. “However, online fundraising provides an easy, quick and secure way for groups to raise additional, unrestricted funding - the type of funding that can be difficult to secure through grants,” Emma said. 2) A way to take control of your financial future Digital fundraising isn’t a panacea for all our funding worries - but neither are grants. In a persistently challenging economic climate, it’s important for charities to have multiple income streams. Think of fundraising, grants, and other sources of money as jigsaw pieces that, when joined, form a wider plan for how a charity generates its income. “With the current funding climate placing significant pressure on charities, we know it’s important that organisations have a mix of ways to raise money,” said Mike Lewis, Grant Manager Wales at Lloyds Bank Foundation. It’s tough out there! Our 2016 Local Charity and Community Groups Sustainability Report found that 76% of groups surveyed highlighted "competition for grants and contracts" as a financial concern. Relying on a single income source is risky, and a boost from online donations can bring some welcome breathing space when things get a bit tight. 3) A route to new supporters, partners and beneficiaries To succeed at online fundraising, a charity must first reach out to people, develop relationships and build trust - and when they do that, they get more than donations in return. “Fundraising and digital fundraising in particular is an important way charities can reach out to and engage supporters in a cost effective way so they are better placed to help the disadvantaged people they work with,” Mike added. West Rhyl Young People’s Project (WRYPP) is testament to this. They’ve received support through Localgiving’s Big Lottery funded Wales Development Programme to set up a donations page, develop new marketing materials and tap into new audiences. “Since joining Localgiving, we’re more active online and we’re enjoying an increased profile locally. Because of that, we’ve been able to connect with supporters we didn’t know we had,” explained Hannah Rowan, Project Manager at West Rhyl Young People’s Project. WRYPP has used the money raised on Localgiving so far to reach and support more young people. “With our LGBT project Viva, we have grants to work in some counties, but not others. Donations through Localgiving have helped us meet the costs of travelling to support young people in need right across North Wales, in areas not covered by our funded projects,” Hannah said. At Localgiving, we’re passionate about helping local charities like WRYPP feel empowered to take advantage of the opportunities presented by digital, and to use the tools available to get the recognition their cause deserves. It’s a passion shared by Lloyds Bank Foundation. “As a Foundation we are keen to support charities develop their digital capacity and we can fund marketing and communications consultants, website and social media developments through our grant programmes,” Mike added. 4) A method for demonstrating commitment to a project or idea We’ve established that it’s important to think of fundraising and grants as separate pieces in a larger income generation puzzle. But when the time does come to apply for a grant, don’t discount the value of your charity’s digital activities and online fundraising efforts. “Demonstrating a contribution to a project, like donations raised through online fundraising, sends a strong message to a funder that the applicant is committed,” explained Neil Pringle, Fund Manager at Gwynt y Môr Community Fund. If a charity can independently raise even a small percentage of the project cost, they can then ask for a bit less from a grant funder. That means the funder’s pot goes further, enabling them to support even more projects. Perhaps more importantly, it’s a way to show grant funders that theirs is an idea local people are genuinely interested in. “Building buy-in, and raising awareness and funds through an online campaign says to a potential funder ‘everyone is involved’. It shows that the project has credibility in the local community, and people want it to happen," Neil added. Not only will online fundraising help your charity raise some extra cash (that you can spend on the things your charity really needs), it could also help you to become more financially sustainable, expose you to new supporters and opportunities, and give you an edge during a competitive grant application process. The Wales Development Programme Thanks to our Wales Development Programme, kindly funded and supported by Big Lottery Fund Wales, West Rhyl Young People’s Project is benefitting from: Free membership of Localgiving for 12 months; £200 of match funding for donations received online, and; Face to face support to develop practical online fundraising experience. If you represent a local Third Sector Organisation in Wales and would like to take part in the Wales Development Programme, head to join.localgiving.org/wales and register your interest today! Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2016 What Makes Local Charities Unique? Open University Launches New Voluntary Sector Courses  
    5655 Posted by Emma Jones
  • We spoke to our very own Emma Rawlingson (Programmes Manager at Localgiving), Localgiving member Hannah Rowan (Project Manager at West Rhyl Young People’s Project), Mike Lewis (Grant Manager Wales at Lloyds Bank Foundation) and Neil Pringle (Fund Manager at Gwynt y Môr Community Fund) to get four different perspectives on digital fundraising. 1) A source of unrestricted income that can be hard to find elsewhere Raising money for a charity online has the obvious and instant benefit of swelling the coffers - but it’s not a quick fix. It takes a little time and effort to get digital fundraising right. “Online fundraising can be difficult for ultra local organisations, especially those that lack time and resources. Add financial pressures into the mix and it can lead groups to focus heavily on grant funding,” explained Emma Rawlingson , Programmes Manager at Localgiving. That effort to make digital fundraising work pays dividends, though. “However, online fundraising provides an easy, quick and secure way for groups to raise additional, unrestricted funding - the type of funding that can be difficult to secure through grants,” Emma said. 2) A way to take control of your financial future Digital fundraising isn’t a panacea for all our funding worries - but neither are grants. In a persistently challenging economic climate, it’s important for charities to have multiple income streams. Think of fundraising, grants, and other sources of money as jigsaw pieces that, when joined, form a wider plan for how a charity generates its income. “With the current funding climate placing significant pressure on charities, we know it’s important that organisations have a mix of ways to raise money,” said Mike Lewis, Grant Manager Wales at Lloyds Bank Foundation. It’s tough out there! Our 2016 Local Charity and Community Groups Sustainability Report found that 76% of groups surveyed highlighted "competition for grants and contracts" as a financial concern. Relying on a single income source is risky, and a boost from online donations can bring some welcome breathing space when things get a bit tight. 3) A route to new supporters, partners and beneficiaries To succeed at online fundraising, a charity must first reach out to people, develop relationships and build trust - and when they do that, they get more than donations in return. “Fundraising and digital fundraising in particular is an important way charities can reach out to and engage supporters in a cost effective way so they are better placed to help the disadvantaged people they work with,” Mike added. West Rhyl Young People’s Project (WRYPP) is testament to this. They’ve received support through Localgiving’s Big Lottery funded Wales Development Programme to set up a donations page, develop new marketing materials and tap into new audiences. “Since joining Localgiving, we’re more active online and we’re enjoying an increased profile locally. Because of that, we’ve been able to connect with supporters we didn’t know we had,” explained Hannah Rowan, Project Manager at West Rhyl Young People’s Project. WRYPP has used the money raised on Localgiving so far to reach and support more young people. “With our LGBT project Viva, we have grants to work in some counties, but not others. Donations through Localgiving have helped us meet the costs of travelling to support young people in need right across North Wales, in areas not covered by our funded projects,” Hannah said. At Localgiving, we’re passionate about helping local charities like WRYPP feel empowered to take advantage of the opportunities presented by digital, and to use the tools available to get the recognition their cause deserves. It’s a passion shared by Lloyds Bank Foundation. “As a Foundation we are keen to support charities develop their digital capacity and we can fund marketing and communications consultants, website and social media developments through our grant programmes,” Mike added. 4) A method for demonstrating commitment to a project or idea We’ve established that it’s important to think of fundraising and grants as separate pieces in a larger income generation puzzle. But when the time does come to apply for a grant, don’t discount the value of your charity’s digital activities and online fundraising efforts. “Demonstrating a contribution to a project, like donations raised through online fundraising, sends a strong message to a funder that the applicant is committed,” explained Neil Pringle, Fund Manager at Gwynt y Môr Community Fund. If a charity can independently raise even a small percentage of the project cost, they can then ask for a bit less from a grant funder. That means the funder’s pot goes further, enabling them to support even more projects. Perhaps more importantly, it’s a way to show grant funders that theirs is an idea local people are genuinely interested in. “Building buy-in, and raising awareness and funds through an online campaign says to a potential funder ‘everyone is involved’. It shows that the project has credibility in the local community, and people want it to happen," Neil added. Not only will online fundraising help your charity raise some extra cash (that you can spend on the things your charity really needs), it could also help you to become more financially sustainable, expose you to new supporters and opportunities, and give you an edge during a competitive grant application process. The Wales Development Programme Thanks to our Wales Development Programme, kindly funded and supported by Big Lottery Fund Wales, West Rhyl Young People’s Project is benefitting from: Free membership of Localgiving for 12 months; £200 of match funding for donations received online, and; Face to face support to develop practical online fundraising experience. If you represent a local Third Sector Organisation in Wales and would like to take part in the Wales Development Programme, head to join.localgiving.org/wales and register your interest today! Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2016 What Makes Local Charities Unique? Open University Launches New Voluntary Sector Courses  
    Jan 06, 2017 5655
  • 20 Dec 2016
    The Weston Charity Awards celebrate and support excellent charities working in the fields of Youth, Welfare and Community. This year, the awards will support 18 charities across the North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Midlands. Weston Award winners will receive £6,500 unrestricted grant funding alongside business mentoring support from capacity building charity Pilotlight. The purpose of the award is to support ambitious charities personally and financially so you can achieve your goals. For more information or to apply for the Weston Charity Awards 2017, please visit www.westoncharityawards.org. Applications close on Friday 13 January 2017.     
  • The Weston Charity Awards celebrate and support excellent charities working in the fields of Youth, Welfare and Community. This year, the awards will support 18 charities across the North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Midlands. Weston Award winners will receive £6,500 unrestricted grant funding alongside business mentoring support from capacity building charity Pilotlight. The purpose of the award is to support ambitious charities personally and financially so you can achieve your goals. For more information or to apply for the Weston Charity Awards 2017, please visit www.westoncharityawards.org. Applications close on Friday 13 January 2017.     
    Dec 20, 2016 4016
  • 19 Dec 2016
    On 16th December, to coincide with Local Charities Day, we released our second annual Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report. Using data from a survey of 598 local charity representatives carried out of the summer, this report provides a fascinating insight into the state of the local voluntary sector as we approach 2017. The last year has seen a continued escalation in demand for the services of local charities. Coupled with ongoing volatility in the funding landscape, this has left many groups fearful for their long term survival. The report finds that: Just 46% of local charities are confident they will be able to sustain themselves over the next five years. 67% of groups were still predicting stagnation or a downturn in their financial position over the coming year. 78% of groups predict an increase in demand over the coming year, of these groups just 18% feel that they are sufficiently resourced to meet this demand. Reductions in staff numbers pose a  serious problem, impacting on the continuity of services and affecting overall skill levels. 76% of respondents had seen a reduction of staff over the last year. 60% of respondents know of one or more local groups that have been forced to close in the last year. 77% of charities do not believe that they have the skills to run a successful fundraising campaign. Download the Full Report Here We conclude our report by laying out a number of recommendations for the coming year and beyond. We are particularly concerned about the urgent need to bring sustainable funding sources in the sector and to address the continued overreliance on under or unskilled staff. We hope that the results of this report will not only inform our own work over the coming year but also inspire other stakeholders in government, business and civil society to tackle the challenges facing the local voluntary sector.    
    5027 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • On 16th December, to coincide with Local Charities Day, we released our second annual Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report. Using data from a survey of 598 local charity representatives carried out of the summer, this report provides a fascinating insight into the state of the local voluntary sector as we approach 2017. The last year has seen a continued escalation in demand for the services of local charities. Coupled with ongoing volatility in the funding landscape, this has left many groups fearful for their long term survival. The report finds that: Just 46% of local charities are confident they will be able to sustain themselves over the next five years. 67% of groups were still predicting stagnation or a downturn in their financial position over the coming year. 78% of groups predict an increase in demand over the coming year, of these groups just 18% feel that they are sufficiently resourced to meet this demand. Reductions in staff numbers pose a  serious problem, impacting on the continuity of services and affecting overall skill levels. 76% of respondents had seen a reduction of staff over the last year. 60% of respondents know of one or more local groups that have been forced to close in the last year. 77% of charities do not believe that they have the skills to run a successful fundraising campaign. Download the Full Report Here We conclude our report by laying out a number of recommendations for the coming year and beyond. We are particularly concerned about the urgent need to bring sustainable funding sources in the sector and to address the continued overreliance on under or unskilled staff. We hope that the results of this report will not only inform our own work over the coming year but also inspire other stakeholders in government, business and civil society to tackle the challenges facing the local voluntary sector.    
    Dec 19, 2016 5027
  • 07 Dec 2016
    The local voluntary sector consists of thousands of groups with widely varying causes, missions and activities. Local Charities day, taking place on December 16th, will celebrate these amazing groups and draw attention to some of the challenges they are facing.  In this blog we look at what makes the UK’s local voluntary sector so unique and valuable - exploring the characteristics they share and the vital, yet too often overlooked, services that they provide to their communities. In 2015 we produced our first Local charity and community group sustainability Report. In this report we identified a number of characteristics that make the sector so special.   1) Knowledge of local needs Many Local charities are formed as a direct result of a specific local need or cause; be it saving a community centre, conserving a local place of interest etc.  These causes rarely fall into the remit of larger national or international charities as therefore, without these charities such issues would often go unaddressed entirely. A good example of this charity type is Downham Market & District Heritage Society - a group that exists to conserve and display objects, photographs and documents relating to Downham Market and the surrounding village Other local charities address wider societal issues (homelessness, disability advice, refugee support, LGBTQ  issues). These groups have a strong crossover with the work of well know national charities and groups. However, in most cases this crossover is complementary.  While more heavily resourced national or international groups excel at wide scale campaigning, infrastructural support etc, the value of grassroots groups lies in their acute knowledge of how these wider issues play out at a local level and how they are best addressed. HERe NI work to combat social exclusion and discrimination among the LGBT+ community in Northern Ireland.  Their acute knowledge of the specific issues facing LGBT+ women in Northern Ireland enable them to provide personalised support and bespoke awarenss raising. 2) Strong Trusting Relationships As well as understanding the needs of their community, the fact that local groups are often deeply embeddedness in their local community enables them to foster strong trusting relationships with their beneficiaries.  The value of these relationships, though difficult to quantify, cannot be underestimated. One clear benefit to these close relationships is that it enables these groups to access harder to reach parts of their community. Another advantage is that people often feel a strong attachment, even sense of ownership over local groups. Many local charities are not simply service providers but a key element of the fabric and character of their communities. These informal community bonds would be impossible to replicate.  However, the difference they make to the quality of service provided by groups and the resulting benefit to their service users can be huge. 3) Flexibility and reaction time Local charities and small charities should not be treated as synonymous – for example many hospices have a local or regional remit but have medium to large turnover.  However, given that 95% of local charities have an annual income of under £1 Million there is a strong crossover. One of the benefits of being small is that these groups are often far less bureaucratic and, as a consequence, more flexible and able to react  quickly. When coupled with local charities’ acute knowledge or their local demographics and resources, this often means that local groups are able to provide support quicker, more targeted support than larger, national counterparts. One example is the Community Foundation for Calderdale’s Boxing Day 2015 Flood appeal. On Boxing Day 2016 Storm Eva caused the River Calder to burst it's banks devastating businesses and homes across Calderdale. CFFC Immediately responded – launching a fundraising appeal that received national attention. Of course,  there are numerous other reasons why the local voluntary  sector is so valuable. This is a sector that continues to amaze us with its resourcefulness, passion and innovation. On Local Charities Day (16th December) make it your mission to find a charity near you and see what you can do to support their cause.   Also keep your eyes open for our 2016 Local Charity and Community Report released on the day.  Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina   Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack  5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha   
    3940 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • The local voluntary sector consists of thousands of groups with widely varying causes, missions and activities. Local Charities day, taking place on December 16th, will celebrate these amazing groups and draw attention to some of the challenges they are facing.  In this blog we look at what makes the UK’s local voluntary sector so unique and valuable - exploring the characteristics they share and the vital, yet too often overlooked, services that they provide to their communities. In 2015 we produced our first Local charity and community group sustainability Report. In this report we identified a number of characteristics that make the sector so special.   1) Knowledge of local needs Many Local charities are formed as a direct result of a specific local need or cause; be it saving a community centre, conserving a local place of interest etc.  These causes rarely fall into the remit of larger national or international charities as therefore, without these charities such issues would often go unaddressed entirely. A good example of this charity type is Downham Market & District Heritage Society - a group that exists to conserve and display objects, photographs and documents relating to Downham Market and the surrounding village Other local charities address wider societal issues (homelessness, disability advice, refugee support, LGBTQ  issues). These groups have a strong crossover with the work of well know national charities and groups. However, in most cases this crossover is complementary.  While more heavily resourced national or international groups excel at wide scale campaigning, infrastructural support etc, the value of grassroots groups lies in their acute knowledge of how these wider issues play out at a local level and how they are best addressed. HERe NI work to combat social exclusion and discrimination among the LGBT+ community in Northern Ireland.  Their acute knowledge of the specific issues facing LGBT+ women in Northern Ireland enable them to provide personalised support and bespoke awarenss raising. 2) Strong Trusting Relationships As well as understanding the needs of their community, the fact that local groups are often deeply embeddedness in their local community enables them to foster strong trusting relationships with their beneficiaries.  The value of these relationships, though difficult to quantify, cannot be underestimated. One clear benefit to these close relationships is that it enables these groups to access harder to reach parts of their community. Another advantage is that people often feel a strong attachment, even sense of ownership over local groups. Many local charities are not simply service providers but a key element of the fabric and character of their communities. These informal community bonds would be impossible to replicate.  However, the difference they make to the quality of service provided by groups and the resulting benefit to their service users can be huge. 3) Flexibility and reaction time Local charities and small charities should not be treated as synonymous – for example many hospices have a local or regional remit but have medium to large turnover.  However, given that 95% of local charities have an annual income of under £1 Million there is a strong crossover. One of the benefits of being small is that these groups are often far less bureaucratic and, as a consequence, more flexible and able to react  quickly. When coupled with local charities’ acute knowledge or their local demographics and resources, this often means that local groups are able to provide support quicker, more targeted support than larger, national counterparts. One example is the Community Foundation for Calderdale’s Boxing Day 2015 Flood appeal. On Boxing Day 2016 Storm Eva caused the River Calder to burst it's banks devastating businesses and homes across Calderdale. CFFC Immediately responded – launching a fundraising appeal that received national attention. Of course,  there are numerous other reasons why the local voluntary  sector is so valuable. This is a sector that continues to amaze us with its resourcefulness, passion and innovation. On Local Charities Day (16th December) make it your mission to find a charity near you and see what you can do to support their cause.   Also keep your eyes open for our 2016 Local Charity and Community Report released on the day.  Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina   Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack  5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha   
    Dec 07, 2016 3940
  • 28 Nov 2016
    Thanks to generous funding from the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, Localgiving has been running a Regional Development Programme in the North West of England which has been supporting local charities who are engaged in projects which benefit the environment, or help people to engage with the natural world. Eligible charities have received a free membership to Localgiving, ongoing one-to-one support in their online fundraising activities, and up to £500 of the money they raise online is matched through funding provided by the People’s Postcode Lottery and their players. This #GivingTuesday (Tuesday 29th November) we’re highlighting some of the fantastic projects and charities who have benefited from the generosity of the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, without whom none of the below would have been possible. Ruth Hannah, Gorgeous Gorse Hill Gorgeous Gorse Hill is a small community group in Greater Manchester. We’re made up of local residents, who got together to improve our local area through the use of art, planting and flowers. We believe that positive changes to a local area can benefit the health and wellbeing of local people, by making residents feel more connected to their area, more empowered, and that by making positive changes, we can help reduce negative behaviour. Being able to fundraise online, and the match funding that’s been available, have been very useful for our group, and has helped in a number of ways. It’s freed up time for volunteers who would usually try to raise funds through completing grant applications, which can be time consuming, and it has also freed up our use of funds, as a lot of grant applications won't allow charities to funds for core costs, which for us is vital i.e. insurance, or the cost of shed rental. Even hot drinks on a cold winter day during a full day of planting can sometimes not be covered. With our unrestricted income from Localgiving and matched funds from the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, we no longer need to worry as much about covering these costs. This has allowed us to focus on what we really want to focus on – making Gorse Hill Gorgeous! The wider support offered from Localgiving has been great. Joe’s suggestions about ways to fundraise have opened our eyes and the amount we have raised and then had match funded has been incredible. Anita Morris, Hack Back Hack Back CIC is a small social enterprise that aims to improve the mental health and well-being of people of all ages throughout the North West. What makes us different is that we combine psychological therapies with interaction and engagement with nature, and specifically with Birds of Prey.  Taking part in the programme has enabled us to raise funds by reaching a much wider audience. We have been able to use social media to inform people about our fundraising and the ease of the process has meant that we have been successful in raising funds. In addition supporters were able to set up their own fundraising page to personalise their support for Hack Back. We have learned that it is important to get your message across succinctly through social media and that it must be easy for people to donate, which was achieved through Localgiving.  The funding, both from our donors and then matched by the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, has made a massive difference to us. We have been able to deliver one to one sessions in the home of a child with autism, we have visited a terminally ill lady in her own home, we have been able to visit a young boy with a rare form of bone cancer several times and we have been able to deliver an anti-bullying project in a local school. Without this funding all of this would have been very difficult to achieve, and the real difference the funding from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery has made is that it has enabled us to deliver projects and services we may have had to decline previously, even though there is a clear need.  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- These are just two examples among many of the fantastic work done by local charities which the generosity of the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery has helped. This #GivingTuesday, we thought it would be a good time to look back, and to reflect on the real difference this support has helped to make, and to also take the time to say thank you as well. So this one goes out to all the players (of the People’s Postcode Lottery) out there – THANKS! There’s still opportunities to get involved in this programme, so if you are or know of a charity who could benefit, please do look here for further information.   
    5312 Posted by Joe Burns
  • Thanks to generous funding from the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, Localgiving has been running a Regional Development Programme in the North West of England which has been supporting local charities who are engaged in projects which benefit the environment, or help people to engage with the natural world. Eligible charities have received a free membership to Localgiving, ongoing one-to-one support in their online fundraising activities, and up to £500 of the money they raise online is matched through funding provided by the People’s Postcode Lottery and their players. This #GivingTuesday (Tuesday 29th November) we’re highlighting some of the fantastic projects and charities who have benefited from the generosity of the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, without whom none of the below would have been possible. Ruth Hannah, Gorgeous Gorse Hill Gorgeous Gorse Hill is a small community group in Greater Manchester. We’re made up of local residents, who got together to improve our local area through the use of art, planting and flowers. We believe that positive changes to a local area can benefit the health and wellbeing of local people, by making residents feel more connected to their area, more empowered, and that by making positive changes, we can help reduce negative behaviour. Being able to fundraise online, and the match funding that’s been available, have been very useful for our group, and has helped in a number of ways. It’s freed up time for volunteers who would usually try to raise funds through completing grant applications, which can be time consuming, and it has also freed up our use of funds, as a lot of grant applications won't allow charities to funds for core costs, which for us is vital i.e. insurance, or the cost of shed rental. Even hot drinks on a cold winter day during a full day of planting can sometimes not be covered. With our unrestricted income from Localgiving and matched funds from the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, we no longer need to worry as much about covering these costs. This has allowed us to focus on what we really want to focus on – making Gorse Hill Gorgeous! The wider support offered from Localgiving has been great. Joe’s suggestions about ways to fundraise have opened our eyes and the amount we have raised and then had match funded has been incredible. Anita Morris, Hack Back Hack Back CIC is a small social enterprise that aims to improve the mental health and well-being of people of all ages throughout the North West. What makes us different is that we combine psychological therapies with interaction and engagement with nature, and specifically with Birds of Prey.  Taking part in the programme has enabled us to raise funds by reaching a much wider audience. We have been able to use social media to inform people about our fundraising and the ease of the process has meant that we have been successful in raising funds. In addition supporters were able to set up their own fundraising page to personalise their support for Hack Back. We have learned that it is important to get your message across succinctly through social media and that it must be easy for people to donate, which was achieved through Localgiving.  The funding, both from our donors and then matched by the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, has made a massive difference to us. We have been able to deliver one to one sessions in the home of a child with autism, we have visited a terminally ill lady in her own home, we have been able to visit a young boy with a rare form of bone cancer several times and we have been able to deliver an anti-bullying project in a local school. Without this funding all of this would have been very difficult to achieve, and the real difference the funding from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery has made is that it has enabled us to deliver projects and services we may have had to decline previously, even though there is a clear need.  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- These are just two examples among many of the fantastic work done by local charities which the generosity of the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery has helped. This #GivingTuesday, we thought it would be a good time to look back, and to reflect on the real difference this support has helped to make, and to also take the time to say thank you as well. So this one goes out to all the players (of the People’s Postcode Lottery) out there – THANKS! There’s still opportunities to get involved in this programme, so if you are or know of a charity who could benefit, please do look here for further information.   
    Nov 28, 2016 5312
  • 14 Nov 2016
    On October 12th the Open University Business School launched its new Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership in London, where they launched two new free, flexible and open learning courses on voluntary sector leadership. Full details of the launch conference and the courses are here, and some clips of the day will soon be posted on Open University Business School’s Youtube channel. What follows is a brief overview of the themes that emerged on the day, how CVSL is responding, and how people in the sector can get further involved in the debate. These are tough times for the sector – but there is a need to fight back An obvious theme of the day was that these are intimidating, tough times for the voluntary sector. Both our keynote speakers spoke eloquently about the ‘rise and (partial) fall’ of the sector in recent times, at least as far as its place within public policy. Sir Stuart Etherington argued forcefully that the sector is operating under much greater scrutiny on a wide number of fronts: over fundraising, governance, and high salaries. One audience member spoke eloquently about their organisation being almost at ‘breaking point’ due to funding reductions and lack of supports in the local environment. On the other hand, a contrasting theme reflected the sense that times have always been tough and that the sector shouldn’t necessarily accept this dominant ‘crisis’ narrative. It certainly shouldn’t become resigned to it, and should “come out fighting’. As Debra Allcock Tyler cautioned, “everyone is busy complaining there is not enough money but the voluntary sector has stopped asking for money: fewer people are asking for money and they’re asking for less. It’s a negative narrative”. She made a passionate plea for the sector to rediscover its confidence, its spark and campaigning nouse. There was a clear sense at the event that how leaders respond is important. And CVSL’s research and educational resources provide one forum for some of these discussions. But researchers need to recognise the real difficulties at ground level, particularly for the smaller organisations that CVSL is seeking to engage with. Collaboration is part of the answer, but is not a silver bullet Austerity and cuts have been widely seen as increasing the drive for greater collaboration. The voluntary sector is often a sought after partner for collaboration because of their local knowledge and connectedness; although there also be many hidden agendas at play. There is something of a consensus around that collaboration is now the name of the game; linked to doing more for less, reducing duplicative activity, and putting egos to one side. However, Siv Vangen and colleagues’ research strikes a note of caution because it demonstrates that collaboration needs energy: it has to take account of the different partners’ aims, cultures, trust and power imbalances, especially in terms of the leadership challenges and the associated anxiety and rewards. This is explored in more depth in an accompanying Guardian blog that coincided with the event. A ‘realist’ approach to collaboration acknowledges that behind the scenes you may need to: Use stealthy manipulative methods to get consensus Understand the political undercurrents and who needs to be involved But! Collaboration is by nature inefficient. Collaboration needs compromise, energy, commitment and care. Leaders need to nurture collaboration. CVSL thinks of leadership at it’s very simplest as ‘making things happen’, and the first course in particular explores this in depth. The second of the courses explores the dynamics, contexts and practices of collaborative leadership, drawing on a range of contemporary issues and case studies from the voluntary sector, so that learning takes place in an intimate relationship with lived practice. The role of trustees and the importance of diversity A clear theme of the day was the crucial role of trustees and the need to include them in dialogue about leadership development. The issue is undoubtedly complex but includes the difficulties of smaller organizations attracting trustees with a broad enough range of skills,  and the crucial role of chairs. There is a tendency to equate ‘leadership’ only with chief executives or senior managers and CVSL will be developing more work on this in the near future. CVSL is also very interested in the idea that there is a cohort of younger or less experienced leaders who need support and development. This chimes with crucial idea explored in the new courses that leadership happens at different levels of organisations. Closely related, a message that came through loud and clear was the need to work towards greater representativeness of voluntary sector leaderships at all different levels. The panel were pressed on this issue by members of the audience, and there was recognition that in some cases the sector had gone backwards on issues of gender and the presence of ethnic minority leaders at senior levels. Sir Stuart acknowledged that it was difficult to point to leaders from BME leading big charities How CVSL is responding to these issues and engaging with the sector One part of CVSL’s mission is experimenting with how online teaching and learning can be improved and done in a way that benefits the sector in these challenging times. Accessibility, flexibility and responsiveness is part of the answer but we also want to explore through dialogue with the sector the appropriate way to blend more ‘challenging’ and abstract debates around leadership with the practical, ‘day to day’ needs that organisations have for instance on governance, finance and sustainability. Also, as researchers we need to keep tabs about what is going on at ground level, over time; and that is why we are doing grounded research that explores different issues affecting the voluntary sector more broadly – eg on mental health or migration – as well as researching the leadership issues that are specific to the sector. We see this as a great opportunity to explore what works and try out new approaches to leadership development through online learning. So as participants rightly said, academic researchers need to “get out there and speak to the sector and do face to face stuff”, but also to sometimes ensure that the variety of learning resources to be broken down into ‘bite-size chunks’ so that learners can choose what is most useful to them. And we need to keep spreading the message. If you have found the issues discussed here useful and interesting there are a number of ways you can get involved. In particular, CVSL announced at the launch that it is now recruiting a Leadership Panel as a core part of its research activity. They would be delighted if you were willing to take part – the panel is designed to help the sector as well as individual leaders. Please complete this short survey to join the Panel. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina   Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack  5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha
    5919 Posted by James Rees
  • On October 12th the Open University Business School launched its new Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership in London, where they launched two new free, flexible and open learning courses on voluntary sector leadership. Full details of the launch conference and the courses are here, and some clips of the day will soon be posted on Open University Business School’s Youtube channel. What follows is a brief overview of the themes that emerged on the day, how CVSL is responding, and how people in the sector can get further involved in the debate. These are tough times for the sector – but there is a need to fight back An obvious theme of the day was that these are intimidating, tough times for the voluntary sector. Both our keynote speakers spoke eloquently about the ‘rise and (partial) fall’ of the sector in recent times, at least as far as its place within public policy. Sir Stuart Etherington argued forcefully that the sector is operating under much greater scrutiny on a wide number of fronts: over fundraising, governance, and high salaries. One audience member spoke eloquently about their organisation being almost at ‘breaking point’ due to funding reductions and lack of supports in the local environment. On the other hand, a contrasting theme reflected the sense that times have always been tough and that the sector shouldn’t necessarily accept this dominant ‘crisis’ narrative. It certainly shouldn’t become resigned to it, and should “come out fighting’. As Debra Allcock Tyler cautioned, “everyone is busy complaining there is not enough money but the voluntary sector has stopped asking for money: fewer people are asking for money and they’re asking for less. It’s a negative narrative”. She made a passionate plea for the sector to rediscover its confidence, its spark and campaigning nouse. There was a clear sense at the event that how leaders respond is important. And CVSL’s research and educational resources provide one forum for some of these discussions. But researchers need to recognise the real difficulties at ground level, particularly for the smaller organisations that CVSL is seeking to engage with. Collaboration is part of the answer, but is not a silver bullet Austerity and cuts have been widely seen as increasing the drive for greater collaboration. The voluntary sector is often a sought after partner for collaboration because of their local knowledge and connectedness; although there also be many hidden agendas at play. There is something of a consensus around that collaboration is now the name of the game; linked to doing more for less, reducing duplicative activity, and putting egos to one side. However, Siv Vangen and colleagues’ research strikes a note of caution because it demonstrates that collaboration needs energy: it has to take account of the different partners’ aims, cultures, trust and power imbalances, especially in terms of the leadership challenges and the associated anxiety and rewards. This is explored in more depth in an accompanying Guardian blog that coincided with the event. A ‘realist’ approach to collaboration acknowledges that behind the scenes you may need to: Use stealthy manipulative methods to get consensus Understand the political undercurrents and who needs to be involved But! Collaboration is by nature inefficient. Collaboration needs compromise, energy, commitment and care. Leaders need to nurture collaboration. CVSL thinks of leadership at it’s very simplest as ‘making things happen’, and the first course in particular explores this in depth. The second of the courses explores the dynamics, contexts and practices of collaborative leadership, drawing on a range of contemporary issues and case studies from the voluntary sector, so that learning takes place in an intimate relationship with lived practice. The role of trustees and the importance of diversity A clear theme of the day was the crucial role of trustees and the need to include them in dialogue about leadership development. The issue is undoubtedly complex but includes the difficulties of smaller organizations attracting trustees with a broad enough range of skills,  and the crucial role of chairs. There is a tendency to equate ‘leadership’ only with chief executives or senior managers and CVSL will be developing more work on this in the near future. CVSL is also very interested in the idea that there is a cohort of younger or less experienced leaders who need support and development. This chimes with crucial idea explored in the new courses that leadership happens at different levels of organisations. Closely related, a message that came through loud and clear was the need to work towards greater representativeness of voluntary sector leaderships at all different levels. The panel were pressed on this issue by members of the audience, and there was recognition that in some cases the sector had gone backwards on issues of gender and the presence of ethnic minority leaders at senior levels. Sir Stuart acknowledged that it was difficult to point to leaders from BME leading big charities How CVSL is responding to these issues and engaging with the sector One part of CVSL’s mission is experimenting with how online teaching and learning can be improved and done in a way that benefits the sector in these challenging times. Accessibility, flexibility and responsiveness is part of the answer but we also want to explore through dialogue with the sector the appropriate way to blend more ‘challenging’ and abstract debates around leadership with the practical, ‘day to day’ needs that organisations have for instance on governance, finance and sustainability. Also, as researchers we need to keep tabs about what is going on at ground level, over time; and that is why we are doing grounded research that explores different issues affecting the voluntary sector more broadly – eg on mental health or migration – as well as researching the leadership issues that are specific to the sector. We see this as a great opportunity to explore what works and try out new approaches to leadership development through online learning. So as participants rightly said, academic researchers need to “get out there and speak to the sector and do face to face stuff”, but also to sometimes ensure that the variety of learning resources to be broken down into ‘bite-size chunks’ so that learners can choose what is most useful to them. And we need to keep spreading the message. If you have found the issues discussed here useful and interesting there are a number of ways you can get involved. In particular, CVSL announced at the launch that it is now recruiting a Leadership Panel as a core part of its research activity. They would be delighted if you were willing to take part – the panel is designed to help the sector as well as individual leaders. Please complete this short survey to join the Panel. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina   Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack  5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha
    Nov 14, 2016 5919
  • 09 Nov 2016
      The way we fundraise and give is changing rapidly. As street and phone fundraisers are declining in potency and technology presents us with new possibilities, how do we tell our story most effectively to reach our goals, promote our causes and actively engage our supporters?   Our upcoming workshop will take you through the strategic processes behind running a successful fundraising or marketing campaign using video as a conversation starting tool. It will uncover affordable ways to make regular, engaging content and demystify the process of moving your fundraising and outreach efforts online.       Part 1: 9:30 - 12:30 Light breakfast and introductions Challenges faced by the third sector and the future of fundraising Getting to the heart of your story and needs Why video? Pre production, production, distribution and audience engagement  Turning supporters into evangelists  Lunch (bring your own or choose from local cafes)     Part 2: 13:30 - 15:00 •Creative exercise: facilitated work on your projects using planning tools and methods    Training outcomes: Understanding how charities need to change to stay relevant and visible Tools and progression routes for effective fundraising and marketing  An introduction to the basic process of making and using video for fundraising   Facilitator:    I, Ieva Padagaite, will facilitate the day. I am a filmmaker and communications specialist with a background in fiction storytelling and campaigning. I am  dedicated to effectively communicating stories and voices that make a difference.      Location: CAN Mezzanine, 7-14 Great Dover Street, SE1 4YR Date: Wednesday, 23 November 2016 Time: 09:30 - 15:30   Tickets: £40 per person (-20% for Localgiving members)   Register here: https://goo.gl/forms/LxYXBYa2GYehLvlj2
    4954 Posted by Ieva Padagaite
  •   The way we fundraise and give is changing rapidly. As street and phone fundraisers are declining in potency and technology presents us with new possibilities, how do we tell our story most effectively to reach our goals, promote our causes and actively engage our supporters?   Our upcoming workshop will take you through the strategic processes behind running a successful fundraising or marketing campaign using video as a conversation starting tool. It will uncover affordable ways to make regular, engaging content and demystify the process of moving your fundraising and outreach efforts online.       Part 1: 9:30 - 12:30 Light breakfast and introductions Challenges faced by the third sector and the future of fundraising Getting to the heart of your story and needs Why video? Pre production, production, distribution and audience engagement  Turning supporters into evangelists  Lunch (bring your own or choose from local cafes)     Part 2: 13:30 - 15:00 •Creative exercise: facilitated work on your projects using planning tools and methods    Training outcomes: Understanding how charities need to change to stay relevant and visible Tools and progression routes for effective fundraising and marketing  An introduction to the basic process of making and using video for fundraising   Facilitator:    I, Ieva Padagaite, will facilitate the day. I am a filmmaker and communications specialist with a background in fiction storytelling and campaigning. I am  dedicated to effectively communicating stories and voices that make a difference.      Location: CAN Mezzanine, 7-14 Great Dover Street, SE1 4YR Date: Wednesday, 23 November 2016 Time: 09:30 - 15:30   Tickets: £40 per person (-20% for Localgiving members)   Register here: https://goo.gl/forms/LxYXBYa2GYehLvlj2
    Nov 09, 2016 4954