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296 blogs
  • 22 Mar 2016
    United Way UK has announced two new grants for Spring 2016, Give Local and Community Impact. United Way UK collaborates with businesses and community partners in the voluntary sector to achieve positive change in education, income stability and health. Community Impact Grants There are 3 Community Impact Grants of £10,000 each These grants are aimed at increasing opportunities for disadvantaged children and young people. All proposed programmes should have a positive impact on educational attainment, including (but not limited to): Programmes encouraging healthier early childhood development for disadvantaged children (ages 0-8) with a focus on school readiness & success, language acquisition, and nutrition The development of numeracy and literacy skills for disadvantaged children of all ages (up to age 18) Increasing the employability of disadvantaged young people (ages 12-24) through the development of soft or hard skills outside of school   Give Local Grants There are 28 Give Local Grants of £1,000 each These grants are open to community based groups working in education, income stability and/or health.Applicants should: Demonstrate an understanding of local needs and solutions (within their geographic area)  Demonstrate the impact donors can have on causes local to their own homes/places of work Support the most disadvantaged or otherwise socially excluded     United Way UK often develops long term relationships with its community partners. It therefore favours projects with  the potential for scalability and/or replicability in other communities or regions. For further details including eligibility requirements and downloadable application forms please visithttp://www.unitedway.org.uk/grants
  • United Way UK has announced two new grants for Spring 2016, Give Local and Community Impact. United Way UK collaborates with businesses and community partners in the voluntary sector to achieve positive change in education, income stability and health. Community Impact Grants There are 3 Community Impact Grants of £10,000 each These grants are aimed at increasing opportunities for disadvantaged children and young people. All proposed programmes should have a positive impact on educational attainment, including (but not limited to): Programmes encouraging healthier early childhood development for disadvantaged children (ages 0-8) with a focus on school readiness & success, language acquisition, and nutrition The development of numeracy and literacy skills for disadvantaged children of all ages (up to age 18) Increasing the employability of disadvantaged young people (ages 12-24) through the development of soft or hard skills outside of school   Give Local Grants There are 28 Give Local Grants of £1,000 each These grants are open to community based groups working in education, income stability and/or health.Applicants should: Demonstrate an understanding of local needs and solutions (within their geographic area)  Demonstrate the impact donors can have on causes local to their own homes/places of work Support the most disadvantaged or otherwise socially excluded     United Way UK often develops long term relationships with its community partners. It therefore favours projects with  the potential for scalability and/or replicability in other communities or regions. For further details including eligibility requirements and downloadable application forms please visithttp://www.unitedway.org.uk/grants
    Mar 22, 2016 4120
  • 21 Mar 2016
    For most of us, Boxing Day 2015 was the usual mix of family films and limp leftovers. Sadly, the residents of Calderdale, West Yorkshire witnessed very different scenes. Lashing overnight storms saw the River Calder burst it's banks - the results were devastating.   That night, the news brought the whole country images of upturned trucks, streets turned into canals and blanketed, huddled people. On seeing these images, many people were moved to offer their support. As these events unfolded, Localgiving member, Community Foundation for Calderdale (CFFC), found itself at the centre of this (meteorological and media) storm. Through their quick and decisive response, CFFC turned this extra attention into essential funds. As I write, CFFC has raised over £2.5 million to support the community in its recovery. £250,000 of which has come through its Localgiving appeals page. This has made Calderdale Flood Relief Appeal the most successful Localgiving appeal to date. We recently spoke to Emma Bolger, Marketing and Events Manager at CFFC, to discuss how they worked with the national media, the impact of the appeal, and any lessons that other local charities could take from their experience. Tell us about Community Foundation for Calderdale, your history and what you do? CFFC is one of 42 Community Foundations in the UK, we are dedicated to strengthening local communities, creating opportunities and tackling issues of disadvantage and exclusion. We manage funds donated by individuals and organisations, building endowment and acting as the vital link between donors and local needs, connecting people with causes, and enabling clients to achieve far more than they could ever by themselves. This year we are celebrating our 25th anniversary in Calderdale, in that time we have  awarded over 8500 grants totalling over  £17m to charities, community groups and individuals in crisis locally. How have the funds from your appeal been spent and how will you use the remaining funds? We have been overwhelmed by the generosity shown by individuals and businesses from across the UK, within hours of launching our LocalGiving appeal page we had thousands of pounds donated. It is because of those amazing people were able to instantly assist those affected. The first thing we did was to purchase and deliver cleaning materials to the worst hit areas, 100’s of sweeping brushes, shovels, bottles of cleaning fluid, mops, buckets, and protective gloves and facemasks to keep those cleaning up safe. We then opened a grants program, our first support was £200 emergency grants, and these grants supported people in the immediate aftermath helping them with basic needs such as food and shelter. We have also supported people who were displaced by the flooding, many of whom will not be able to live in their own homes for 6-9 months; supporting them with further grants to help them resettle in temporary accommodation. After a couple of weeks it became apparent that people in the valley had also lost income with over 1500 local businesses affected. To address this we supported people with hardship grants. We have also supported 103 businesses in their recovery. Most recently we have support people with, white goods, carpets and flooring, furniture, and further grants to support them in their recovery. We have supported over 1500 applications from individuals and 130 applications from businesses. You were quick off the mark with your reaction the floods.  Did you already have contingency plans for such circumstances? What tips could you give other groups about setting up and coordinating a disaster appeal? We led on the 2012 flood appeal in Calderdale, and our Chief Exec has been part of four flood appeals, so we had some experience with raising funds for flooding. However, we have never seen flooding on the scale we did on Boxing Day. The experience gained from the other appeals definitely helped us, but there is no amount of planning that can replace the quick thinking and dedication shown by the Community Foundation team. They left their families on Boxing Day, gave up their Christmas break and started to do what they do best, support the community.  From setting up the appeal to processing grants they were here, everyday living and breathing the disaster, coming up with new and imitative ways to support people. We learnt a lot from 2012, we knew that time was of the essence, that whatever we did whether it is getting cleaning materials out to people or grants, it had to happen immediately. Emma's top tips Act immediately – Gather the team who will work on the project and agree a way forward, give people specific tasks and update each other regularly. Seek and listen to local intelligence – Don’t assume you know what is needed. Communities will tell you what they need, just ask them. Be visible and consistent – Find clear channels for communication, social media email, TV, radio. Be consistent in your messaging; don’t add to the medley of confusion that will inevitably be happening on the ground.   How did you go about obtaining press coverage during the floods? We used every media outlet we could; we contacted them via social media, telephone, and email, every way possible until they listened. We were quick to contact them and to establish our role, quickly we became the go to people to find out what was happening and soon they were calling us. What measures did you put in place to deal with the extra coverage you were receiving in this time? I was appointed to lead on media coverage. Having one person handling press, interviews, social media proved to be key in keeping the messaging clear. This enabled CFFC  to  build a mutually beneficial relationship with the press . What lessons have you learned about working with the national press? Find out what angle they want to cover from the start; don’t be afraid to lose an interview because you ask what angle they are pushing. You need to know this so that you can be prepared for the questions. Its ok to not answer a question, we were asked to comment on lots of issues that are not relevant to our role in the disaster recovery, for example we were asked to comment on cuts to flood defences. For us this is not the issue at hand. The issue is supporting people in immediate need. Do you plan to follow up on the coverage and support you received? We have some exciting initiatives launching that have come about because of the flooding. We intend to contact the press again to cover them. We are launching a legacy fund – WaterMark Calderdale. Local businesses can sign up to sell a product or service and a percentage of the sale will go in to a fund that will support people in the event of another flood. We are also launching an alternative to insurance (a problem for many in Calderdale who can’t get flood insurance) called FloodSave.  Businesses and individuals not covered by FloodRE can apply to become a member.  They save £10/£25/£50 a month with us and, in the event of a flood, we will match fund their savings by 25%. To find out more or donate to Community Foundation for Calderdale, you can visit the Calderdale Flood Relief Appeal Here   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:   How to make friend with the media by Kay Parris Get your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield    
    5965 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • For most of us, Boxing Day 2015 was the usual mix of family films and limp leftovers. Sadly, the residents of Calderdale, West Yorkshire witnessed very different scenes. Lashing overnight storms saw the River Calder burst it's banks - the results were devastating.   That night, the news brought the whole country images of upturned trucks, streets turned into canals and blanketed, huddled people. On seeing these images, many people were moved to offer their support. As these events unfolded, Localgiving member, Community Foundation for Calderdale (CFFC), found itself at the centre of this (meteorological and media) storm. Through their quick and decisive response, CFFC turned this extra attention into essential funds. As I write, CFFC has raised over £2.5 million to support the community in its recovery. £250,000 of which has come through its Localgiving appeals page. This has made Calderdale Flood Relief Appeal the most successful Localgiving appeal to date. We recently spoke to Emma Bolger, Marketing and Events Manager at CFFC, to discuss how they worked with the national media, the impact of the appeal, and any lessons that other local charities could take from their experience. Tell us about Community Foundation for Calderdale, your history and what you do? CFFC is one of 42 Community Foundations in the UK, we are dedicated to strengthening local communities, creating opportunities and tackling issues of disadvantage and exclusion. We manage funds donated by individuals and organisations, building endowment and acting as the vital link between donors and local needs, connecting people with causes, and enabling clients to achieve far more than they could ever by themselves. This year we are celebrating our 25th anniversary in Calderdale, in that time we have  awarded over 8500 grants totalling over  £17m to charities, community groups and individuals in crisis locally. How have the funds from your appeal been spent and how will you use the remaining funds? We have been overwhelmed by the generosity shown by individuals and businesses from across the UK, within hours of launching our LocalGiving appeal page we had thousands of pounds donated. It is because of those amazing people were able to instantly assist those affected. The first thing we did was to purchase and deliver cleaning materials to the worst hit areas, 100’s of sweeping brushes, shovels, bottles of cleaning fluid, mops, buckets, and protective gloves and facemasks to keep those cleaning up safe. We then opened a grants program, our first support was £200 emergency grants, and these grants supported people in the immediate aftermath helping them with basic needs such as food and shelter. We have also supported people who were displaced by the flooding, many of whom will not be able to live in their own homes for 6-9 months; supporting them with further grants to help them resettle in temporary accommodation. After a couple of weeks it became apparent that people in the valley had also lost income with over 1500 local businesses affected. To address this we supported people with hardship grants. We have also supported 103 businesses in their recovery. Most recently we have support people with, white goods, carpets and flooring, furniture, and further grants to support them in their recovery. We have supported over 1500 applications from individuals and 130 applications from businesses. You were quick off the mark with your reaction the floods.  Did you already have contingency plans for such circumstances? What tips could you give other groups about setting up and coordinating a disaster appeal? We led on the 2012 flood appeal in Calderdale, and our Chief Exec has been part of four flood appeals, so we had some experience with raising funds for flooding. However, we have never seen flooding on the scale we did on Boxing Day. The experience gained from the other appeals definitely helped us, but there is no amount of planning that can replace the quick thinking and dedication shown by the Community Foundation team. They left their families on Boxing Day, gave up their Christmas break and started to do what they do best, support the community.  From setting up the appeal to processing grants they were here, everyday living and breathing the disaster, coming up with new and imitative ways to support people. We learnt a lot from 2012, we knew that time was of the essence, that whatever we did whether it is getting cleaning materials out to people or grants, it had to happen immediately. Emma's top tips Act immediately – Gather the team who will work on the project and agree a way forward, give people specific tasks and update each other regularly. Seek and listen to local intelligence – Don’t assume you know what is needed. Communities will tell you what they need, just ask them. Be visible and consistent – Find clear channels for communication, social media email, TV, radio. Be consistent in your messaging; don’t add to the medley of confusion that will inevitably be happening on the ground.   How did you go about obtaining press coverage during the floods? We used every media outlet we could; we contacted them via social media, telephone, and email, every way possible until they listened. We were quick to contact them and to establish our role, quickly we became the go to people to find out what was happening and soon they were calling us. What measures did you put in place to deal with the extra coverage you were receiving in this time? I was appointed to lead on media coverage. Having one person handling press, interviews, social media proved to be key in keeping the messaging clear. This enabled CFFC  to  build a mutually beneficial relationship with the press . What lessons have you learned about working with the national press? Find out what angle they want to cover from the start; don’t be afraid to lose an interview because you ask what angle they are pushing. You need to know this so that you can be prepared for the questions. Its ok to not answer a question, we were asked to comment on lots of issues that are not relevant to our role in the disaster recovery, for example we were asked to comment on cuts to flood defences. For us this is not the issue at hand. The issue is supporting people in immediate need. Do you plan to follow up on the coverage and support you received? We have some exciting initiatives launching that have come about because of the flooding. We intend to contact the press again to cover them. We are launching a legacy fund – WaterMark Calderdale. Local businesses can sign up to sell a product or service and a percentage of the sale will go in to a fund that will support people in the event of another flood. We are also launching an alternative to insurance (a problem for many in Calderdale who can’t get flood insurance) called FloodSave.  Businesses and individuals not covered by FloodRE can apply to become a member.  They save £10/£25/£50 a month with us and, in the event of a flood, we will match fund their savings by 25%. To find out more or donate to Community Foundation for Calderdale, you can visit the Calderdale Flood Relief Appeal Here   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:   How to make friend with the media by Kay Parris Get your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield    
    Mar 21, 2016 5965
  • 16 Mar 2016
    Mike Zywina is an experienced fundraiser and the founder of Lime Green Consulting, providing affordable consultancy to smaller charities specialising in fundraising strategy, events management and individual giving. He is also a trustee for AbleChildAfrica and an ambassador for Good News Shared.  Sunday 20 March is World Storytelling Day, an annual celebration of the art of storytelling. Given that charities typically have a wealth of inspirational material at their fingertips, this is a timely reminder of what we could achieve if we used stories more to inspire our supporters and share our key messages. There’s no doubt about it, the humble story is still holding its own. In a world full of data, statistics and spreadsheets, there are loads of ways that charities can demonstrate their impressive impact and the hard-hitting reality of the problem they’re trying to solve. Yet studies have repeatedly proved that most people are more inspired by a great story, a compelling case study, and the impact their donation can have on a single beneficiary. Stories captivate us on an emotional level in a way that rational facts rarely can – and many of us trust our heart over our head when making decisions such as donating to a charity or buying a product. Stories can burn an image onto our brain and help us to make sense of the world and our experiences. They’re a bigger driver of our behaviour than many of us realise. Commercial Storytelling Many companies are brilliant at exploiting this. Frequently the story dominates to such an extent that the product is barely mentioned. The John Lewis Christmas advert feels like the official opening ceremony for the festive period these days – who can forget last year’s man on the moon? This love story about milk bottles is actually about something completely different, but you wouldn’t know it until the very end.   Charities are learning fast Charities are increasingly harnessing the power of storytelling to stand out in a world where there are thousands of good causes competing for our donations and attention. As charities, we enjoy the natural advantage of having powerful and inspiring stories to tell. We support people who battle against personal challenges, often showing huge courage in the face of adversity. Our heroic supporters dedicate their time, energy and creativity to volunteering and quirky fundraising efforts. Telling a story is a great way of explaining your vision of a better world and what needs to change. Stories are memorable and easy for your supporters to share with others, and they motivate staff and volunteers. In a world where we are more interconnected than ever, this is really powerful. A great example is the remarkable story of Stephen Sutton, who turned his battle with cancer into a £4million fundraising effort for Teenage Cancer Trust. Stephen’s personal story inspired millions of people to take action in a way that no statistic or charity newsletter could have done. Stories are a great ‘leveller’ for smaller charities You may not have the budget for that expensive marketing campaign or fundraising app, but your stories cost nothing to find and little to share. However, in my experience, many charities don’t capitalise on this, perhaps because they don’t take the time to look within themselves for a great story, or don’t realise quite how inspirational that story could be. Here are my six top tips for telling your own powerful stories: 1. Delve deep into your organisation – trustees and senior management don’t have a monopoly on good ideas. The best stories are unlikely to emerge from your boardroom. You need to engage project staff, volunteers, beneficiaries and fundraisers. This is a great way to find authentic content and engage everybody from top to bottom in the task of finding the story that best represents your cause. 2. Keep it positive – evidence shows that people are tired of ‘traditional’ charity appeals about suffering and pain. Increasingly we must deal in hope, change and happy endings. If you’re looking for inspiration then I’m proud to be an ambassador for Good News Shared, a website which shares brilliant stories that showcase the positive and inspiring work done by charities and social enterprises. Check out www.goodnewsshared.com for some storytelling inspiration 3. Faces not figures – a personal story is always more memorable than even a powerful statistic. Make your story about one inspiring individual and include photos and background information to make it feel more authentic. 4. Mix your media – no matter how good the story, too much text will always put people off. We live in a world full of videos, audio books and infographics, and organisations are finding ever more creative ways to share their content. So keep the text to a minimum, use plenty of vivid images and try creating a video of your story – it doesn't have to be professionally produced to be engaging. 5. Make it easy to share – why do all the hard work yourself? Every person has the potential to spread the word to others. You never know who may mention you to a company, trust or high value donor. Encourage supporters to share your stories by making them clear, memorable, short and bursting with pride. 6. What next? Don’t leave your supporters wondering what they can do to help. Finish with a clear call to action – this could be a request to donate a certain amount, sign up to an event or share the story on social media. Why not mark this year’s World Storytelling Day by spending a few minutes thinking about how your charity can be better at storytelling? Here’s some further inspiration to help you: The NCVO has published a piece by Rowan Boase on how to ‘storify’ the information that you share about your outcomes and impact This great blog by Nisha Kotecha, the Founder of Good News Shared, provides some practical tools for sharing your story Check out Localgiving’s Local Hero campaign which celebrates all the brilliant stories being created by fantastic fundraisers as they accomplish great feats in the name of raising money for local causes For further advice on supporter communication and fundraising, please visit www.limegreenconsulting.co.uk or download our free fundraising helpsheets.   Found this blog post useful? You may also like:   Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack 5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha How to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar  
    9726 Posted by Mike Zywina
  • Mike Zywina is an experienced fundraiser and the founder of Lime Green Consulting, providing affordable consultancy to smaller charities specialising in fundraising strategy, events management and individual giving. He is also a trustee for AbleChildAfrica and an ambassador for Good News Shared.  Sunday 20 March is World Storytelling Day, an annual celebration of the art of storytelling. Given that charities typically have a wealth of inspirational material at their fingertips, this is a timely reminder of what we could achieve if we used stories more to inspire our supporters and share our key messages. There’s no doubt about it, the humble story is still holding its own. In a world full of data, statistics and spreadsheets, there are loads of ways that charities can demonstrate their impressive impact and the hard-hitting reality of the problem they’re trying to solve. Yet studies have repeatedly proved that most people are more inspired by a great story, a compelling case study, and the impact their donation can have on a single beneficiary. Stories captivate us on an emotional level in a way that rational facts rarely can – and many of us trust our heart over our head when making decisions such as donating to a charity or buying a product. Stories can burn an image onto our brain and help us to make sense of the world and our experiences. They’re a bigger driver of our behaviour than many of us realise. Commercial Storytelling Many companies are brilliant at exploiting this. Frequently the story dominates to such an extent that the product is barely mentioned. The John Lewis Christmas advert feels like the official opening ceremony for the festive period these days – who can forget last year’s man on the moon? This love story about milk bottles is actually about something completely different, but you wouldn’t know it until the very end.   Charities are learning fast Charities are increasingly harnessing the power of storytelling to stand out in a world where there are thousands of good causes competing for our donations and attention. As charities, we enjoy the natural advantage of having powerful and inspiring stories to tell. We support people who battle against personal challenges, often showing huge courage in the face of adversity. Our heroic supporters dedicate their time, energy and creativity to volunteering and quirky fundraising efforts. Telling a story is a great way of explaining your vision of a better world and what needs to change. Stories are memorable and easy for your supporters to share with others, and they motivate staff and volunteers. In a world where we are more interconnected than ever, this is really powerful. A great example is the remarkable story of Stephen Sutton, who turned his battle with cancer into a £4million fundraising effort for Teenage Cancer Trust. Stephen’s personal story inspired millions of people to take action in a way that no statistic or charity newsletter could have done. Stories are a great ‘leveller’ for smaller charities You may not have the budget for that expensive marketing campaign or fundraising app, but your stories cost nothing to find and little to share. However, in my experience, many charities don’t capitalise on this, perhaps because they don’t take the time to look within themselves for a great story, or don’t realise quite how inspirational that story could be. Here are my six top tips for telling your own powerful stories: 1. Delve deep into your organisation – trustees and senior management don’t have a monopoly on good ideas. The best stories are unlikely to emerge from your boardroom. You need to engage project staff, volunteers, beneficiaries and fundraisers. This is a great way to find authentic content and engage everybody from top to bottom in the task of finding the story that best represents your cause. 2. Keep it positive – evidence shows that people are tired of ‘traditional’ charity appeals about suffering and pain. Increasingly we must deal in hope, change and happy endings. If you’re looking for inspiration then I’m proud to be an ambassador for Good News Shared, a website which shares brilliant stories that showcase the positive and inspiring work done by charities and social enterprises. Check out www.goodnewsshared.com for some storytelling inspiration 3. Faces not figures – a personal story is always more memorable than even a powerful statistic. Make your story about one inspiring individual and include photos and background information to make it feel more authentic. 4. Mix your media – no matter how good the story, too much text will always put people off. We live in a world full of videos, audio books and infographics, and organisations are finding ever more creative ways to share their content. So keep the text to a minimum, use plenty of vivid images and try creating a video of your story – it doesn't have to be professionally produced to be engaging. 5. Make it easy to share – why do all the hard work yourself? Every person has the potential to spread the word to others. You never know who may mention you to a company, trust or high value donor. Encourage supporters to share your stories by making them clear, memorable, short and bursting with pride. 6. What next? Don’t leave your supporters wondering what they can do to help. Finish with a clear call to action – this could be a request to donate a certain amount, sign up to an event or share the story on social media. Why not mark this year’s World Storytelling Day by spending a few minutes thinking about how your charity can be better at storytelling? Here’s some further inspiration to help you: The NCVO has published a piece by Rowan Boase on how to ‘storify’ the information that you share about your outcomes and impact This great blog by Nisha Kotecha, the Founder of Good News Shared, provides some practical tools for sharing your story Check out Localgiving’s Local Hero campaign which celebrates all the brilliant stories being created by fantastic fundraisers as they accomplish great feats in the name of raising money for local causes For further advice on supporter communication and fundraising, please visit www.limegreenconsulting.co.uk or download our free fundraising helpsheets.   Found this blog post useful? You may also like:   Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack 5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha How to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar  
    Mar 16, 2016 9726
  • 15 Mar 2016
    ...or Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhaoibh! St Patrick’s day is now celebrated across the world. From Dublin to Berlin, Medellin to Kings Lynn there will be somebody raising a cheer to a snakeless Ireland, warbling Whisky in the Jar or claiming emerald roots (however tenuous). Throughout the UK there are Irish cultural groups and clubs, working tirelessly to conserve their language and culture and supporting their communities. We are proud to be able to call some of these groups our members. So, what better time to celebrate and support these groups than today?  Whether you’re  gripped by gaelic games or moved to tears by Yeats’s refrains , there is bound to be a group for you. Below are just a few: Andersonstown Traditional & Contemporary Music School - Belfast - offers music classes, performances, qualifications & workshops in traditional & contemporary music An Droichead - Belfast - provides Irish language, arts and cultural classes and offers quality affordable childcare and afterschool activities.  CAIRDE Teo - Armagh - focuses on micro-business incubation; employment, training and learning opportunities. CAIRDE Teo also promotes the use of the Irish language and works closely with other linguistic and cultural minorities in Armagh to promote multi-culturalism and diversity. Milton Keynes Irish Welfare Support Group – Milton Keynes - holds a weekly lunch club for older Irish people and their friends. The Welfare support group also has an Outreach Worker who offers advice on benefits in both English and Irish. St Joseph's GAC Glenavy -Glenavy- provides Gaelic games for all ages and abilities from as young as 4 years old.  The Emerald Centre  - Leicester - works with members of the Irish community in Leicestershire who are most in need. The centre also offers  sport and social facilities and services for  senior citizens, Pragati Asian group, disability groups and creative play.   Image: Mathews at The Old Dubliner Irish Pub, Hamburg-Harburg by Hinnerk R (Hinnerk Rümenapf)      
    3151 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • ...or Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhaoibh! St Patrick’s day is now celebrated across the world. From Dublin to Berlin, Medellin to Kings Lynn there will be somebody raising a cheer to a snakeless Ireland, warbling Whisky in the Jar or claiming emerald roots (however tenuous). Throughout the UK there are Irish cultural groups and clubs, working tirelessly to conserve their language and culture and supporting their communities. We are proud to be able to call some of these groups our members. So, what better time to celebrate and support these groups than today?  Whether you’re  gripped by gaelic games or moved to tears by Yeats’s refrains , there is bound to be a group for you. Below are just a few: Andersonstown Traditional & Contemporary Music School - Belfast - offers music classes, performances, qualifications & workshops in traditional & contemporary music An Droichead - Belfast - provides Irish language, arts and cultural classes and offers quality affordable childcare and afterschool activities.  CAIRDE Teo - Armagh - focuses on micro-business incubation; employment, training and learning opportunities. CAIRDE Teo also promotes the use of the Irish language and works closely with other linguistic and cultural minorities in Armagh to promote multi-culturalism and diversity. Milton Keynes Irish Welfare Support Group – Milton Keynes - holds a weekly lunch club for older Irish people and their friends. The Welfare support group also has an Outreach Worker who offers advice on benefits in both English and Irish. St Joseph's GAC Glenavy -Glenavy- provides Gaelic games for all ages and abilities from as young as 4 years old.  The Emerald Centre  - Leicester - works with members of the Irish community in Leicestershire who are most in need. The centre also offers  sport and social facilities and services for  senior citizens, Pragati Asian group, disability groups and creative play.   Image: Mathews at The Old Dubliner Irish Pub, Hamburg-Harburg by Hinnerk R (Hinnerk Rümenapf)      
    Mar 15, 2016 3151
  • 07 Mar 2016
     Duncan is communications officer at CharityComms. He runs the Digital Benchmark and AskCharity service. A philosophy and politics graduate of Manchester University, Duncan spent three months after university in Burkina Faso volunteering with International Service. AskCharity is a free service, run by CharityComms, which connects charities with journalists. Over 3,000 charities currently use the service to get their stories in the press, with hundreds of active journalists sending out thousands of emails every week. Its premise is simple: journalists send out requests for stories to a database of charity representatives, who then respond to any requests they think they can help with. The service sees over 20 requests go out a week and leads to stories across the media, from ITV to The Sun to The Guardian to Fabulous on topics ranging from surrogate mothers to firework phobias. And best of all, it’s free and easy to sign up. Through AskCharity, just a few emails can secure your charity some positive press – just look at how Rethink and Mind got positive coverage of mental illness.   Now you've signed your charity up, how can you make the most of it? These five tips are a good place to start: Understand what journalists are looking for – read the publications you want to be featured in to get a feel for the type of stories they like. Reflect this in your response to the journalist’s request. Know their target audience and include key details to reflect it – age and occupation of case studies, their story (or a synopsis of it) and how it fits the request. There's more on what journalists look for in this interview with freelance journalist Jill Foster. Be clear in your responses – you don’t necessarily have to reveal your case study or story immediately, particularly if it’s sensitive, but do make it clear what you need to know first. So ask for their angle, if copy approval will be given (most journalists are happy to allow read backs) and anything else you need to know. Don’t just say ‘feel free to call me’ – requests are going out to thousands of charities so don’t expect to be the only person the journalist’s dealing with. Likewise, make sure to meet deadlines – this all helps to build up a good relationship with a journalist. Size isn’t everything – journalists are looking for new angles and new ideas, so small charities, who people haven’t heard from before, may be exactly what they’re looking for.Take it from Kate Hilpern, who's written for everyone from the Daily Express to Good Housekeeping: “How I would love to see some of the smaller ones getting their amazing and stirring stories out there.” You can see her wish list for how charities can help journalists here. Don’t be downhearted if you don’t get a response, but always be prepared – the requests go out to thousands of people, so it may be that the journalist was overwhelmed with responses and yours wasn't quite the best match. Rest assured, when it is, you’ll hear back. Try to have in mind a few people who might make for interesting stories so you can respond quickly and effortlessly to requests. Remember the Answer Service isn’t the only avenue to secure coverage - there’s also the search function, where journalists with a specific interest can find the charity allied to that cause. Make sure to set up a clear page for your charity with all the basic info on what your charity does (so a journalist can easily search for you) and up to date contact details (including name and job title so journalists know who they’re contacting), so if your charity happens to match a story, you’ll be the first to know.   Here’s what charities using AskCharity think of it: “AskCharity has become one of the most useful PR resources for me in my role at DEBRA. It not only helps us pitch for slots we may not have previously known about, it’s also helped me build up a great media contact list.” Sara McIlroy, marketing and PR officer, DEBRA “Through AskCharity we've secured direct media coverage and worked with journalists to expand ideas for articles and features. It's also helped us make new contacts and build on-going relationships with the media.” Kellie Stewart, communications manager, Bliss Connect with journalists who want to tell your stories: sign up for free here. Or to find out more, read our AskCharity FAQs here.   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:   The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina   A-Z of Fundraising Ideas by Localgiving 5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha       Image courtesy of Jon S/6277209256
    5868 Posted by Duncan Hatfield
  •  Duncan is communications officer at CharityComms. He runs the Digital Benchmark and AskCharity service. A philosophy and politics graduate of Manchester University, Duncan spent three months after university in Burkina Faso volunteering with International Service. AskCharity is a free service, run by CharityComms, which connects charities with journalists. Over 3,000 charities currently use the service to get their stories in the press, with hundreds of active journalists sending out thousands of emails every week. Its premise is simple: journalists send out requests for stories to a database of charity representatives, who then respond to any requests they think they can help with. The service sees over 20 requests go out a week and leads to stories across the media, from ITV to The Sun to The Guardian to Fabulous on topics ranging from surrogate mothers to firework phobias. And best of all, it’s free and easy to sign up. Through AskCharity, just a few emails can secure your charity some positive press – just look at how Rethink and Mind got positive coverage of mental illness.   Now you've signed your charity up, how can you make the most of it? These five tips are a good place to start: Understand what journalists are looking for – read the publications you want to be featured in to get a feel for the type of stories they like. Reflect this in your response to the journalist’s request. Know their target audience and include key details to reflect it – age and occupation of case studies, their story (or a synopsis of it) and how it fits the request. There's more on what journalists look for in this interview with freelance journalist Jill Foster. Be clear in your responses – you don’t necessarily have to reveal your case study or story immediately, particularly if it’s sensitive, but do make it clear what you need to know first. So ask for their angle, if copy approval will be given (most journalists are happy to allow read backs) and anything else you need to know. Don’t just say ‘feel free to call me’ – requests are going out to thousands of charities so don’t expect to be the only person the journalist’s dealing with. Likewise, make sure to meet deadlines – this all helps to build up a good relationship with a journalist. Size isn’t everything – journalists are looking for new angles and new ideas, so small charities, who people haven’t heard from before, may be exactly what they’re looking for.Take it from Kate Hilpern, who's written for everyone from the Daily Express to Good Housekeeping: “How I would love to see some of the smaller ones getting their amazing and stirring stories out there.” You can see her wish list for how charities can help journalists here. Don’t be downhearted if you don’t get a response, but always be prepared – the requests go out to thousands of people, so it may be that the journalist was overwhelmed with responses and yours wasn't quite the best match. Rest assured, when it is, you’ll hear back. Try to have in mind a few people who might make for interesting stories so you can respond quickly and effortlessly to requests. Remember the Answer Service isn’t the only avenue to secure coverage - there’s also the search function, where journalists with a specific interest can find the charity allied to that cause. Make sure to set up a clear page for your charity with all the basic info on what your charity does (so a journalist can easily search for you) and up to date contact details (including name and job title so journalists know who they’re contacting), so if your charity happens to match a story, you’ll be the first to know.   Here’s what charities using AskCharity think of it: “AskCharity has become one of the most useful PR resources for me in my role at DEBRA. It not only helps us pitch for slots we may not have previously known about, it’s also helped me build up a great media contact list.” Sara McIlroy, marketing and PR officer, DEBRA “Through AskCharity we've secured direct media coverage and worked with journalists to expand ideas for articles and features. It's also helped us make new contacts and build on-going relationships with the media.” Kellie Stewart, communications manager, Bliss Connect with journalists who want to tell your stories: sign up for free here. Or to find out more, read our AskCharity FAQs here.   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:   The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina   A-Z of Fundraising Ideas by Localgiving 5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha       Image courtesy of Jon S/6277209256
    Mar 07, 2016 5868
  • 09 Mar 2016
    It's here! After months of development, design, copywriting and editing - everyone at Localgiving is delighted to announce the launch of our brand new website! In this blog we explain both what has changed and why we have made these updates. We hope that you like the new site and find it simple and more intuitive to use. As with any big change, we're sure there will be a few bumps along the way. Some things may take us a little longer to migrate over, so we thank you for your patience whilst we complete the switch! As ever, your feedback is welcomed, so please let us know any thoughts you have about the new site by dropping an email to help@localgiving.org.      So what's changed? .COM to .ORG - As a part of the revamp, we have migrated our domain from Localgiving.com to Localgiving.org. We've made this switch to reflect who we are - a not-for-profit organisation with charitable rather than commercial goals. We've set up automatic redirecting, so that all existing links to charity and fundraising pages will continue to go to the right place without you needing to change a thing. Whenever a supporter uses a localgiving.com URL, they will automatically be redirected to localgiving.org. All charity pages, buttons, appeals and fundraisers pages will also continue to work as before.  Improved search – Our new predictive search tool enables users on the site to find the results they're looking for more quickly and easily. Search by location or keyword to find local charities, fundraisers, projects and appeals.     Refined donation flow – We've improved the donation process to make it quicker and easier for people to donate to their charity of choice, as well as making it simpler to set up a monthly donation. For more detailed information about the changes, please read our step-by-step guide to the new donation flow.     A fresh modern look – Times change, fashions move on, and expectations are constantly being raised when it comes to website layout and design. Our fresh look introduces some of the latest design best-practice to our website. The new site is fully responsive, meaning that content adapts according to the size of your screen and displays across all devices (desktops, tablets, and phones). We have also tweaked our colour palette to deliver improved accessibility for partially-sighted people. New navigation bar – A big part of the new site design is an improved navigation bar at the top of each page. We have restructured our site menu to make it easier for all users to access the content they need, be it information on our charitable mission, programmes or contact details.     Updated content – We have updated much of the content across the website. You can now view all upcoming campaigns; plan ahead with our events calendar; find out more about Localgiving's mission and current programmes; as well as read and share our recent blogs and reports. Members can also access exclusive fundraising materials from within their accounts. Updated 'Terms of Service' – To ensure all of our legal information is as clear and easy to understand as possible, we have consolidated our terms and conditions into a single Terms of Service and a Privacy Policy, both of which apply to all users. Please let us know if you have any concerns about our updated terms and we will be happy to help.  Featured charities and fundraisers – Our member's campaigns, stories and images are the lifeblood of Localgiving. We'll be featuring new groups every few weeks, so if you'd like the chance for your organisation to be shown on the homepage, then drop us an email with a few sentences explaining why!      ...and what hasn't changed? Once logged in, everything within your Localgiving account will work in exactly the same way as before. The processes for logging-in, downloading reports and resources and viewing donations are all unchanged. All links to your existing pages (including buttons) will continue to work without the need to update your URLs.    Your opinion matters We value your opinion and welcome your comments. You can call us on 0300 111 2340 or contact help@localgiving.org if you have any feedback or questions about these changes. Many thanks for your support and we look forward to hearing from you.
  • It's here! After months of development, design, copywriting and editing - everyone at Localgiving is delighted to announce the launch of our brand new website! In this blog we explain both what has changed and why we have made these updates. We hope that you like the new site and find it simple and more intuitive to use. As with any big change, we're sure there will be a few bumps along the way. Some things may take us a little longer to migrate over, so we thank you for your patience whilst we complete the switch! As ever, your feedback is welcomed, so please let us know any thoughts you have about the new site by dropping an email to help@localgiving.org.      So what's changed? .COM to .ORG - As a part of the revamp, we have migrated our domain from Localgiving.com to Localgiving.org. We've made this switch to reflect who we are - a not-for-profit organisation with charitable rather than commercial goals. We've set up automatic redirecting, so that all existing links to charity and fundraising pages will continue to go to the right place without you needing to change a thing. Whenever a supporter uses a localgiving.com URL, they will automatically be redirected to localgiving.org. All charity pages, buttons, appeals and fundraisers pages will also continue to work as before.  Improved search – Our new predictive search tool enables users on the site to find the results they're looking for more quickly and easily. Search by location or keyword to find local charities, fundraisers, projects and appeals.     Refined donation flow – We've improved the donation process to make it quicker and easier for people to donate to their charity of choice, as well as making it simpler to set up a monthly donation. For more detailed information about the changes, please read our step-by-step guide to the new donation flow.     A fresh modern look – Times change, fashions move on, and expectations are constantly being raised when it comes to website layout and design. Our fresh look introduces some of the latest design best-practice to our website. The new site is fully responsive, meaning that content adapts according to the size of your screen and displays across all devices (desktops, tablets, and phones). We have also tweaked our colour palette to deliver improved accessibility for partially-sighted people. New navigation bar – A big part of the new site design is an improved navigation bar at the top of each page. We have restructured our site menu to make it easier for all users to access the content they need, be it information on our charitable mission, programmes or contact details.     Updated content – We have updated much of the content across the website. You can now view all upcoming campaigns; plan ahead with our events calendar; find out more about Localgiving's mission and current programmes; as well as read and share our recent blogs and reports. Members can also access exclusive fundraising materials from within their accounts. Updated 'Terms of Service' – To ensure all of our legal information is as clear and easy to understand as possible, we have consolidated our terms and conditions into a single Terms of Service and a Privacy Policy, both of which apply to all users. Please let us know if you have any concerns about our updated terms and we will be happy to help.  Featured charities and fundraisers – Our member's campaigns, stories and images are the lifeblood of Localgiving. We'll be featuring new groups every few weeks, so if you'd like the chance for your organisation to be shown on the homepage, then drop us an email with a few sentences explaining why!      ...and what hasn't changed? Once logged in, everything within your Localgiving account will work in exactly the same way as before. The processes for logging-in, downloading reports and resources and viewing donations are all unchanged. All links to your existing pages (including buttons) will continue to work without the need to update your URLs.    Your opinion matters We value your opinion and welcome your comments. You can call us on 0300 111 2340 or contact help@localgiving.org if you have any feedback or questions about these changes. Many thanks for your support and we look forward to hearing from you.
    Mar 09, 2016 4175
  • 02 Mar 2016
    ...and why your premises should mean as much to you as your colleagues   So what is the state of your organisation’s bricks and mortar? Possibly not a question to fire the imagination of the average volunteer or community group for it is, of course, your communities which inspire you to deliver those small miracles every day.  Yet this is a vital question. After staff costs, property is always the second biggest budget item for any voluntary organisation, and as the Charity Commission will tell you, is one of the biggest areas of concern for charities seeking help. My own organisation the Ethical Property Foundation was set up in 2004 with the mission to support charities and voluntary groups with expert property advice, free at the point of access. We have advised 3000+ clients to date and last February became lead referral partners to the Charity Commission for land and property advice. These are tough times for our sector, and it has never been more important to understand the how vital property is. It is the second biggest item out of our sector’s £39bn general annual expenditure and the sector owns operating premises worth £22bn - unsurprisingly statistics for a sector comprising 160,000 organisations and employing 820,000 people. (NCVO Civil Society Almanac 2015) Yes, we are a sector worth listening to about property. However,  as we know, we are too often written off as cheap and cheerful and, by implication, unimportant. This has to stop. What we need is a clear picture of the sector’s property challenges and opportunities so we can talk to policy makers, local authorities and the property. Hence why I am now asking for your help. Charity Property Matters Survey 2016 This month the third Charity Property Matters Survey 2016 is launched by the Ethical Property Foundation 2016 in partnership with Charity Commission. This is the only one of its kind which asks voluntary groups about property. It just takes five minutes so please help us help the sector – Click here to complete survey Every week in our office we talk to voluntary and community groups about their property issues. Below are our top 10 property tips to consider for a confident property future: Review your budget. Has your organisation fully factored in the costs of running your premises: maintenance, utilities, security, service charges, etc? Are the calculations based on figures from a reliable source - the owner / landlord / a survey or guesswork? Check what repairs and maintenance obligations your organisation has with regard to the building. Have you planned how to meet these costs? Have you taken professional advice on the terms of your lease to ensure you are getting the best possible deal? If your organisation is taking on a building, ensure it has commissioned a condition survey to highlight potential problems and advise on the correct planned maintenance. Does your organisation have a planned maintenance schedule? When was the last condition survey? Has your organisation set aside money in the budget as a ‘sinking fund’? – a pot for unplanned premises expenditure should an emergency arise. How would you meet any unplanned costs?  How do you plan to / currently raise income from your building? Is the asset being used effectively? Are there other potential uses that are being missed? Re-read your business plan. Are premises needs included? Has could these needs may change over time? Check who on your team is responsible for looking after the premises in their job description? Check they have the proper training, knowledge and support. If your board decides that the organisation should rent space to other charities, are there proper tenant agreements in place? How is this managed? Is there space? Who are the tenants? As you can see property is quite a business! Do contact the Ethical Property Foundation if ever you need property support – and please Click here to complete survey   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack How to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan HatfieldDon’t save you Pitch for the Elevator by Emma Beeston    
    3019 Posted by Antonia Swinson
  • ...and why your premises should mean as much to you as your colleagues   So what is the state of your organisation’s bricks and mortar? Possibly not a question to fire the imagination of the average volunteer or community group for it is, of course, your communities which inspire you to deliver those small miracles every day.  Yet this is a vital question. After staff costs, property is always the second biggest budget item for any voluntary organisation, and as the Charity Commission will tell you, is one of the biggest areas of concern for charities seeking help. My own organisation the Ethical Property Foundation was set up in 2004 with the mission to support charities and voluntary groups with expert property advice, free at the point of access. We have advised 3000+ clients to date and last February became lead referral partners to the Charity Commission for land and property advice. These are tough times for our sector, and it has never been more important to understand the how vital property is. It is the second biggest item out of our sector’s £39bn general annual expenditure and the sector owns operating premises worth £22bn - unsurprisingly statistics for a sector comprising 160,000 organisations and employing 820,000 people. (NCVO Civil Society Almanac 2015) Yes, we are a sector worth listening to about property. However,  as we know, we are too often written off as cheap and cheerful and, by implication, unimportant. This has to stop. What we need is a clear picture of the sector’s property challenges and opportunities so we can talk to policy makers, local authorities and the property. Hence why I am now asking for your help. Charity Property Matters Survey 2016 This month the third Charity Property Matters Survey 2016 is launched by the Ethical Property Foundation 2016 in partnership with Charity Commission. This is the only one of its kind which asks voluntary groups about property. It just takes five minutes so please help us help the sector – Click here to complete survey Every week in our office we talk to voluntary and community groups about their property issues. Below are our top 10 property tips to consider for a confident property future: Review your budget. Has your organisation fully factored in the costs of running your premises: maintenance, utilities, security, service charges, etc? Are the calculations based on figures from a reliable source - the owner / landlord / a survey or guesswork? Check what repairs and maintenance obligations your organisation has with regard to the building. Have you planned how to meet these costs? Have you taken professional advice on the terms of your lease to ensure you are getting the best possible deal? If your organisation is taking on a building, ensure it has commissioned a condition survey to highlight potential problems and advise on the correct planned maintenance. Does your organisation have a planned maintenance schedule? When was the last condition survey? Has your organisation set aside money in the budget as a ‘sinking fund’? – a pot for unplanned premises expenditure should an emergency arise. How would you meet any unplanned costs?  How do you plan to / currently raise income from your building? Is the asset being used effectively? Are there other potential uses that are being missed? Re-read your business plan. Are premises needs included? Has could these needs may change over time? Check who on your team is responsible for looking after the premises in their job description? Check they have the proper training, knowledge and support. If your board decides that the organisation should rent space to other charities, are there proper tenant agreements in place? How is this managed? Is there space? Who are the tenants? As you can see property is quite a business! Do contact the Ethical Property Foundation if ever you need property support – and please Click here to complete survey   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack How to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan HatfieldDon’t save you Pitch for the Elevator by Emma Beeston    
    Mar 02, 2016 3019
  • 01 Mar 2016
    Mike Bright is the founder of Help From Home, an initiative that promotes and encourages people to participate in easy, no-commitment, microvolunteering opportunities. Mike has been involved in the microvolunteering arena since 2005, initially as a participant and then more fully from December 2008 with his 'Help From Home' initiative. He is considered one of the pioneers of the microvolunteering concept, as well as the organiser behind Microvolunteering Day that occurs every April 15th. In 2011, the United Nations published a report in which it highlighted three of the fastest growing trends in volunteering around the world, one of them being microvolunteering. Five years on, and the concept still shows no sign of abating. To borrow a definition from the Institute of Volunteering Research, 'microvolunteering is bite-size volunteering with no commitment to repeat and with minimum formality, involving short and specific actions that are quick to start and complete'. The vast majority of microvolunteering tasks can be conducted online, on-demand, and on-the-go, whilst sporting a completion time of between 1 – 120 minutes, but more usually a maximum 30.   For Volunteers If you’re a volunteer looking to squeeze in a bit of bite-sized benevolence within your busy lifestyle, then microvolunteering may be the answer.  You could be helping to cure cancer, researching penguins in the Arctic, or describing pictures for the blind, all from the comfort of your own home, during your work lunchbreak, or in the supermarket check-out queue. Basically, the actions come to you, and not the other way round – a far cry then from traditional volunteering activities. Useful websites to seek out these microvolunteering opportunities are Help From Home, SkillsForChange, and CrowdCrafting. For Nonprofits Creating a microvolunteering action that perhaps only lasts 10 minutes might seem a bit daunting, especially when most volunteer managers' question the time taken to create an action is worth the impact generated from it. Well, it all depends on what type of action you're creating. Typically there are three different types: One-off, non-repeatable skilled actions. Examples include logo design, a small bit of translation, proofreading a document etc. Such tasks could be described and uploaded to the very pro-active SkillsForChange microvolunteering platform in about 10 minutes Repeatable skilled actions. Check out PhotoFoundation for an example of this type of task. Invite your supporters to use their photography skills to submit images to their platform, which in turn then have the potential to earn a royalties income for your nonprofit Repeatable unskilled actions. These actions can range from being as simple as tapping in to your supporters' social reach using Justcoz, or conversely being as complex and costly to create like Fraxinus, a pattern recognition Facebook game to save UK Ash trees Help From Home probably has the most definitive resource on creating micro-actions in cyberland, that includes 'How To' Guides, micro-task suggestions, photos of microvolunteering events, as well as ideas on how to generate discussions on the concept amongst your supporters. Growing Trends The microvolunteering arena seems to be constantly challenging the pre-conceived ideas of how volunteering can be conducted. With the internet's reach becoming all pervasive, it's been suggested that people could potentially participate in micro-actions in-flight on airplanes, on cruise ships during activity sessions, as well as by hotel overnighters in their rooms – all places where traditional volunteering simply cannot reach. But what of the current and growing trends within the microvolunteering arena? Students and volunteer centres are using their laptops to entice visitors to their pop-up stalls at volunteering fairs and the like to take part in on-demand tasks like FreeRice Some nonprofits have been renaming their more traditional bite-sized roles and calling them microvolunteering ones, eg Mariner Management More microvolunteering smartphone apps are being created which focus on a single volunteering action rather than as a gateway into a directory of volunteering opportunities Roughly 70% of microvolunteers are aged under 29, and approximately 75% of microvolunteers are female, according to this stats source Disabled people are tapping into the convenience of the microvolunteering concept The annual Microvolunteering Day on April 15th is going from strength to strength, and is now in its third year The term microvolunteering gained its’ first blip on the voluntary radar back in 2008, and over the years has been seen as either an evolution or a revolution in volunteering. With its huge potential to transform the way in which nonprofits and volunteers can crowdsource impact, a little effort really can go a long way!   Image courtesy of winnond, at FreeDigitalPhotos.net   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:  How to make friend with the media by Kay Parris How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar  The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina     
    4665 Posted by Mike Bright
  • Mike Bright is the founder of Help From Home, an initiative that promotes and encourages people to participate in easy, no-commitment, microvolunteering opportunities. Mike has been involved in the microvolunteering arena since 2005, initially as a participant and then more fully from December 2008 with his 'Help From Home' initiative. He is considered one of the pioneers of the microvolunteering concept, as well as the organiser behind Microvolunteering Day that occurs every April 15th. In 2011, the United Nations published a report in which it highlighted three of the fastest growing trends in volunteering around the world, one of them being microvolunteering. Five years on, and the concept still shows no sign of abating. To borrow a definition from the Institute of Volunteering Research, 'microvolunteering is bite-size volunteering with no commitment to repeat and with minimum formality, involving short and specific actions that are quick to start and complete'. The vast majority of microvolunteering tasks can be conducted online, on-demand, and on-the-go, whilst sporting a completion time of between 1 – 120 minutes, but more usually a maximum 30.   For Volunteers If you’re a volunteer looking to squeeze in a bit of bite-sized benevolence within your busy lifestyle, then microvolunteering may be the answer.  You could be helping to cure cancer, researching penguins in the Arctic, or describing pictures for the blind, all from the comfort of your own home, during your work lunchbreak, or in the supermarket check-out queue. Basically, the actions come to you, and not the other way round – a far cry then from traditional volunteering activities. Useful websites to seek out these microvolunteering opportunities are Help From Home, SkillsForChange, and CrowdCrafting. For Nonprofits Creating a microvolunteering action that perhaps only lasts 10 minutes might seem a bit daunting, especially when most volunteer managers' question the time taken to create an action is worth the impact generated from it. Well, it all depends on what type of action you're creating. Typically there are three different types: One-off, non-repeatable skilled actions. Examples include logo design, a small bit of translation, proofreading a document etc. Such tasks could be described and uploaded to the very pro-active SkillsForChange microvolunteering platform in about 10 minutes Repeatable skilled actions. Check out PhotoFoundation for an example of this type of task. Invite your supporters to use their photography skills to submit images to their platform, which in turn then have the potential to earn a royalties income for your nonprofit Repeatable unskilled actions. These actions can range from being as simple as tapping in to your supporters' social reach using Justcoz, or conversely being as complex and costly to create like Fraxinus, a pattern recognition Facebook game to save UK Ash trees Help From Home probably has the most definitive resource on creating micro-actions in cyberland, that includes 'How To' Guides, micro-task suggestions, photos of microvolunteering events, as well as ideas on how to generate discussions on the concept amongst your supporters. Growing Trends The microvolunteering arena seems to be constantly challenging the pre-conceived ideas of how volunteering can be conducted. With the internet's reach becoming all pervasive, it's been suggested that people could potentially participate in micro-actions in-flight on airplanes, on cruise ships during activity sessions, as well as by hotel overnighters in their rooms – all places where traditional volunteering simply cannot reach. But what of the current and growing trends within the microvolunteering arena? Students and volunteer centres are using their laptops to entice visitors to their pop-up stalls at volunteering fairs and the like to take part in on-demand tasks like FreeRice Some nonprofits have been renaming their more traditional bite-sized roles and calling them microvolunteering ones, eg Mariner Management More microvolunteering smartphone apps are being created which focus on a single volunteering action rather than as a gateway into a directory of volunteering opportunities Roughly 70% of microvolunteers are aged under 29, and approximately 75% of microvolunteers are female, according to this stats source Disabled people are tapping into the convenience of the microvolunteering concept The annual Microvolunteering Day on April 15th is going from strength to strength, and is now in its third year The term microvolunteering gained its’ first blip on the voluntary radar back in 2008, and over the years has been seen as either an evolution or a revolution in volunteering. With its huge potential to transform the way in which nonprofits and volunteers can crowdsource impact, a little effort really can go a long way!   Image courtesy of winnond, at FreeDigitalPhotos.net   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:  How to make friend with the media by Kay Parris How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar  The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina     
    Mar 01, 2016 4665
  • 01 Mar 2016
    March 1st is Wales’ national day, celebrating the anniversary of the death of its most famous ancient saint, David, or Dewi Sant. David lived in the 6th century and was reputed to be the grandson of the king of Ceredigion. His one miraculous (and, as others have pointed out, slightly underwhelming) act is said to be the raising of a small hill so he could be heard by his followers, in the place now called Llanddewi Brefi, (the church of St David on the river Brefi). Yes, that village in Matt Lucas’s Little Britain (although the spelling has been tweaked slightly). Who said history is boring? Anyway, David certainly left his mark on Wales, and on March 1st visitors will hardly fail to be impressed by the vast array of leek and daffodil lapel- and head-wear proudly brandished by its citizens, along with the many parades and school concerts (Eisteddfodau) celebrating all things Welsh. In 2015 Charities Aid Foundation released figures that show that Wales is the most generous of the United Kingdom nations, with some 80% of those surveyed saying they had donated to a charity in the previous year. (If you want to know who was least generous, I’m not saying - you’ll have to check out the report for yourself!) But it’s not all good news for the charity sector in Wales. According to a recent report by the Garfield Weston Foundation, “in a climate of uncertainty with local government re-organisation, changes to public funding, squeezed budgets and growing service demands, small-medium sized charities lack the dedicated resources, drive and skills development needed to tackle the funding changes affecting their longer-term ability to deliver services.” These findings are confirmed by Localgiving’s own research, which is why, for the past 12 months, we have focused on finding solutions that will help raise skills, confidence and sustainability for Welsh local charities. So on this most quintessentially Welsh of days, I am thrilled to be able to announce a new and comprehensive national Welsh development programme generously funded by Big Lottery Wales. This exciting project will follow the pattern of other development programmes, currently running in Northern Ireland and Scotland, initially running for two years and employing two field development managers, stationed in the north and south of the country. Each participating charity in Wales will gain access to our training, one-on-one support, membership of the Localgiving platform and match funding that we hope will propel them to online funding success! We will be working closely with other infrastructure organisations like the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA), the Community Foundation in Wales (CFiW) and local County Voluntary Councils (CVCs). We have started the recruitment process and we hope to be running at full speed later in the Spring. David is reputed to have said “Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd” or “Do ye the little things in life”. It’s a simple exhortation that endorses the value of even the smallest effort to change things for good. Local charities may not have the vast resources of the big name international charities, but their comparatively small initiatives are nonetheless valuable and worthy of support. I think Localgiving’s mission aligns well with David’s great principle, and I hope that by next St David’s Day we’ll be able to tell some wonderful stories of Welsh charities making a big difference by doing the small things. Creative commons image licensed for reuse
    3732 Posted by Steve Mallinson
  • March 1st is Wales’ national day, celebrating the anniversary of the death of its most famous ancient saint, David, or Dewi Sant. David lived in the 6th century and was reputed to be the grandson of the king of Ceredigion. His one miraculous (and, as others have pointed out, slightly underwhelming) act is said to be the raising of a small hill so he could be heard by his followers, in the place now called Llanddewi Brefi, (the church of St David on the river Brefi). Yes, that village in Matt Lucas’s Little Britain (although the spelling has been tweaked slightly). Who said history is boring? Anyway, David certainly left his mark on Wales, and on March 1st visitors will hardly fail to be impressed by the vast array of leek and daffodil lapel- and head-wear proudly brandished by its citizens, along with the many parades and school concerts (Eisteddfodau) celebrating all things Welsh. In 2015 Charities Aid Foundation released figures that show that Wales is the most generous of the United Kingdom nations, with some 80% of those surveyed saying they had donated to a charity in the previous year. (If you want to know who was least generous, I’m not saying - you’ll have to check out the report for yourself!) But it’s not all good news for the charity sector in Wales. According to a recent report by the Garfield Weston Foundation, “in a climate of uncertainty with local government re-organisation, changes to public funding, squeezed budgets and growing service demands, small-medium sized charities lack the dedicated resources, drive and skills development needed to tackle the funding changes affecting their longer-term ability to deliver services.” These findings are confirmed by Localgiving’s own research, which is why, for the past 12 months, we have focused on finding solutions that will help raise skills, confidence and sustainability for Welsh local charities. So on this most quintessentially Welsh of days, I am thrilled to be able to announce a new and comprehensive national Welsh development programme generously funded by Big Lottery Wales. This exciting project will follow the pattern of other development programmes, currently running in Northern Ireland and Scotland, initially running for two years and employing two field development managers, stationed in the north and south of the country. Each participating charity in Wales will gain access to our training, one-on-one support, membership of the Localgiving platform and match funding that we hope will propel them to online funding success! We will be working closely with other infrastructure organisations like the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA), the Community Foundation in Wales (CFiW) and local County Voluntary Councils (CVCs). We have started the recruitment process and we hope to be running at full speed later in the Spring. David is reputed to have said “Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd” or “Do ye the little things in life”. It’s a simple exhortation that endorses the value of even the smallest effort to change things for good. Local charities may not have the vast resources of the big name international charities, but their comparatively small initiatives are nonetheless valuable and worthy of support. I think Localgiving’s mission aligns well with David’s great principle, and I hope that by next St David’s Day we’ll be able to tell some wonderful stories of Welsh charities making a big difference by doing the small things. Creative commons image licensed for reuse
    Mar 01, 2016 3732
  • 25 Feb 2016
    Kay Parris is a freelance journalist and editor with substantial experience of the voluntary sector.  Strategic planning can seem like a daunting task, but it is simply a means to setting your charity’s goals and figuring out how to progress them. Just like a strategy for any other area of work, a communications strategy begins with the overall vision and purpose of the organisation. Specific goals about your messages and media channels then spring from that central purpose. Here’s a basic template: 1. Vision and mission There is no point planning any projects that won’t help your charity to achieve its purpose. Before you do anything else, ensure you fully understand what that purpose is. Get hold of your organisation’s vision and mission statements and reproduce them. The vision is how your charity sees the future. Oxfam’s vision, for example, is: “A just world without poverty”. The mission is your core purpose, your reason for existing. Oxfam’s mission is: “To create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice”. Not every charity articulates a vision or a mission statement. Yet these brief statements are extremely valuable in helping an organisation to find its voice, focus clearly on its objectives and measure its own success. If you don’t have a vision or mission already, this could be the right moment to suggest or brainstorm one into being. It goes without saying – get any text agreed by the relevant people. 2. Set goals What are the key things your charity wants to achieve? Oxfam has six key goals arising out of its vision and mission, which include the following: • Champion equal rights for women • Safeguard global food supplies • Increase money for basic services You can agree goals to suit your charity’s context even if you do not have a mission statement. But it is easier to keep the goals focused and clear if you do. 3. Key messages What are the essential messages and values your charity wants to convey, in view of its mission and goals? In other words, what do you want people to know about you and the issues you are dealing with? Once the key messages are enshrined in your strategy document, you will have a reference point for the stories you choose to tell about your charity: do they reinforce your core messages, or could they risk undermining them?   4. Name your audiences The people who encounter, or could encounter, your messages will include internal and external audiences, those you already communicate with, and those you would like or may need to reach, for whatever reason. For example: -          members/supporters of the charity   -          volunteers – both current and former -          staff -          trustees -          press contacts -          funding agencies -          government bodies -          supporters of similar causes -          members of groups you have worked with -          members of the general public 5. Market assessment Present the results of any market research you have done (even if only a straw poll or a bit of googling) to show how your target audiences currently view your charity or its issues. What kind of information are these people likely to favour and in what format? 6. SWOT analysis Explain the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats you are working with from a communications point of view. You need to know about any constraints, and also about any potentially useful situations. The SWOT might reveal that you have a budget too tight for printing, for example, or a supporter base that lives in a dodgy wi-fi area. On the other hand, it might flag an annual event that presents a perfect awareness-raising opportunity. 7. Resources Indicate how much time and money, and how many people, can be allocated to driving your communications plan forward. Resist wishful thinking! 8. Communications tools Based on everything you have analysed so far, set out which communications channels you are planning to use. Newsletter, website, blogs, YouTube, Twitter, press/broadcast coverage, public meetings, leaflets, noticeboards – the options are endless but your resources and goals are not. Indicate the purposes intended for each channel. They could include: awareness-raising, attracting new members, raising funds, briefing volunteers. But how will these things happen? What kind of newsletter will it be? What kind of material will you be posting on YouTube, how often and why?  9. Timescales and targets: Include a list of key targets that you hope to meet through the communications strategy by a given date – often three years into the future. Perhaps you are anticipating an increase in web traffic, or a target number of social media followers, new supporters or members. Be sensible about this. It’s great to be ambitious, but there is nothing like falling short of unrealistic targets to demotivate hardworking staff or volunteers. 10. Review and adapt Return to the strategy periodically (say once a year) to review your tools, activities and messages. Consider how well they are reaching their audiences and serving their purposes. Adapt if necessary.    Found this Blog useful? You may also like:   Don't save you pitch for the elevator by Emma Beeston  The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina  Lessons for charities from Knee surgery by Richard Sved     
    7753 Posted by Kay Parris
  • Kay Parris is a freelance journalist and editor with substantial experience of the voluntary sector.  Strategic planning can seem like a daunting task, but it is simply a means to setting your charity’s goals and figuring out how to progress them. Just like a strategy for any other area of work, a communications strategy begins with the overall vision and purpose of the organisation. Specific goals about your messages and media channels then spring from that central purpose. Here’s a basic template: 1. Vision and mission There is no point planning any projects that won’t help your charity to achieve its purpose. Before you do anything else, ensure you fully understand what that purpose is. Get hold of your organisation’s vision and mission statements and reproduce them. The vision is how your charity sees the future. Oxfam’s vision, for example, is: “A just world without poverty”. The mission is your core purpose, your reason for existing. Oxfam’s mission is: “To create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice”. Not every charity articulates a vision or a mission statement. Yet these brief statements are extremely valuable in helping an organisation to find its voice, focus clearly on its objectives and measure its own success. If you don’t have a vision or mission already, this could be the right moment to suggest or brainstorm one into being. It goes without saying – get any text agreed by the relevant people. 2. Set goals What are the key things your charity wants to achieve? Oxfam has six key goals arising out of its vision and mission, which include the following: • Champion equal rights for women • Safeguard global food supplies • Increase money for basic services You can agree goals to suit your charity’s context even if you do not have a mission statement. But it is easier to keep the goals focused and clear if you do. 3. Key messages What are the essential messages and values your charity wants to convey, in view of its mission and goals? In other words, what do you want people to know about you and the issues you are dealing with? Once the key messages are enshrined in your strategy document, you will have a reference point for the stories you choose to tell about your charity: do they reinforce your core messages, or could they risk undermining them?   4. Name your audiences The people who encounter, or could encounter, your messages will include internal and external audiences, those you already communicate with, and those you would like or may need to reach, for whatever reason. For example: -          members/supporters of the charity   -          volunteers – both current and former -          staff -          trustees -          press contacts -          funding agencies -          government bodies -          supporters of similar causes -          members of groups you have worked with -          members of the general public 5. Market assessment Present the results of any market research you have done (even if only a straw poll or a bit of googling) to show how your target audiences currently view your charity or its issues. What kind of information are these people likely to favour and in what format? 6. SWOT analysis Explain the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats you are working with from a communications point of view. You need to know about any constraints, and also about any potentially useful situations. The SWOT might reveal that you have a budget too tight for printing, for example, or a supporter base that lives in a dodgy wi-fi area. On the other hand, it might flag an annual event that presents a perfect awareness-raising opportunity. 7. Resources Indicate how much time and money, and how many people, can be allocated to driving your communications plan forward. Resist wishful thinking! 8. Communications tools Based on everything you have analysed so far, set out which communications channels you are planning to use. Newsletter, website, blogs, YouTube, Twitter, press/broadcast coverage, public meetings, leaflets, noticeboards – the options are endless but your resources and goals are not. Indicate the purposes intended for each channel. They could include: awareness-raising, attracting new members, raising funds, briefing volunteers. But how will these things happen? What kind of newsletter will it be? What kind of material will you be posting on YouTube, how often and why?  9. Timescales and targets: Include a list of key targets that you hope to meet through the communications strategy by a given date – often three years into the future. Perhaps you are anticipating an increase in web traffic, or a target number of social media followers, new supporters or members. Be sensible about this. It’s great to be ambitious, but there is nothing like falling short of unrealistic targets to demotivate hardworking staff or volunteers. 10. Review and adapt Return to the strategy periodically (say once a year) to review your tools, activities and messages. Consider how well they are reaching their audiences and serving their purposes. Adapt if necessary.    Found this Blog useful? You may also like:   Don't save you pitch for the elevator by Emma Beeston  The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina  Lessons for charities from Knee surgery by Richard Sved     
    Feb 25, 2016 7753