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289 blogs
  • 08 Oct 2018
    Keeping your social media feeds fresh can be challenging when you work for a small charity where time and resources are often stretched. However, by following a few other organisations that are nailing social media, you can have a source of ideas and inspiration to apply to your charity. Here are three organisations that are doing social media really well, and worth checking out if you’re struggling to engage with and grow your networks online. The list below consists of a small, medium and large charity from different cause areas, which have all managed to create entertaining, educational and engaging social media presences using methods which can be replicated with little to no budget, by any organisation. Young Women’s Trust Young Women's Trust supports and represents women aged 16-30 struggling to live on low or no pay in England and Wales and who are at risk of being trapped in poverty. The organisation is active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and is doing great things across all platforms, however their Instagram in particular stands out from the crowd. Through their bright, catchy, branding and informative yet accessible tone-of-voice, it’s clear that the Young Women’s Trust understand their target audience and know how to talk to them through social. On Instagram, they use a number of different ways to engage with their audience through user-generated content.  User-generated content allows you to use images, videos, quotes, etc from beneficiaries, volunteers, staff, and any other brand ambassadors, to showcase the work of your charity, and is a great way to create eye-catching content for free. The Young Women’s Trust use Instagram takeovers and quotes to do just this, and are worth taking a look at for inspiration on how to do this well. The Old Vic The Old Vic is an independent not-for-profit theatre based in London, and a world leader in creativity and entertainment. As an organisation based on creativity, they understand the power of visuals. On Twitter, The Old Vic includes eye-catching media in the form of images, videos or GIFs with every single post. On Twitter, people who view videos are 50% more likely to be aware of a brand or organisation, and videos on Twitter are twice as memorable than videos viewed on other premium platforms. The Old Vic also demonstrates a strong understanding of the fact that 93% of Twitter video views take place on mobile devices, by keeping their videos short and snappy (the optimum length of a Twitter video is 45 seconds). To create video you don’t need any expensive equipment either - capturing video on your phone is a great way to show authenticity and build sentiment towards your organisation. National Trust The National Trust is a conservation charity protecting everything from historic houses, coastline, and gardens through to World Heritage Sites. They use a number of different social media channels to reach and engage with their audience, but in particular their use of Facebook is worth checking out. At the start of the year, Facebook announced they were changing the way we approach social media marketing on the platform. The new algorithm prioritises quality over quantity, to encourage sharing content your audience will find interesting. ‘Edutainment’ (educational + entertaining) content is the optimum way to ensure you’re doing this, by making sure that every post is either educational, entertaining, or ideally, both. The National Trust has really taken onboard the Facebook algorithm and posts a great mix of highly appealing ‘edutainment’ content, including ‘how to’ videos, seasonal advice, and amusing photos. By striking the balance of educating and entertaining they have built a strong and highly active Facebook audience whilst sharing the great work of their organisation. So, with a little forward planning and inspiration you can take a look at what other organisation’s are doing well, and apply their methods to your own organisation’s social media presence. Don’t be afraid to try new things and get creative - social media should be fun, and charities have such compelling stories to share. Hannah is Community Manager at Social Misfits Media, specialising in helping charities and social enterprises better use social media and digital to reach their goals. Follow Hannah and Social Misfits Media @HannahDonald20 and @MisfitsMedia.    
    4132 Posted by Hannah Donald
  • Keeping your social media feeds fresh can be challenging when you work for a small charity where time and resources are often stretched. However, by following a few other organisations that are nailing social media, you can have a source of ideas and inspiration to apply to your charity. Here are three organisations that are doing social media really well, and worth checking out if you’re struggling to engage with and grow your networks online. The list below consists of a small, medium and large charity from different cause areas, which have all managed to create entertaining, educational and engaging social media presences using methods which can be replicated with little to no budget, by any organisation. Young Women’s Trust Young Women's Trust supports and represents women aged 16-30 struggling to live on low or no pay in England and Wales and who are at risk of being trapped in poverty. The organisation is active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and is doing great things across all platforms, however their Instagram in particular stands out from the crowd. Through their bright, catchy, branding and informative yet accessible tone-of-voice, it’s clear that the Young Women’s Trust understand their target audience and know how to talk to them through social. On Instagram, they use a number of different ways to engage with their audience through user-generated content.  User-generated content allows you to use images, videos, quotes, etc from beneficiaries, volunteers, staff, and any other brand ambassadors, to showcase the work of your charity, and is a great way to create eye-catching content for free. The Young Women’s Trust use Instagram takeovers and quotes to do just this, and are worth taking a look at for inspiration on how to do this well. The Old Vic The Old Vic is an independent not-for-profit theatre based in London, and a world leader in creativity and entertainment. As an organisation based on creativity, they understand the power of visuals. On Twitter, The Old Vic includes eye-catching media in the form of images, videos or GIFs with every single post. On Twitter, people who view videos are 50% more likely to be aware of a brand or organisation, and videos on Twitter are twice as memorable than videos viewed on other premium platforms. The Old Vic also demonstrates a strong understanding of the fact that 93% of Twitter video views take place on mobile devices, by keeping their videos short and snappy (the optimum length of a Twitter video is 45 seconds). To create video you don’t need any expensive equipment either - capturing video on your phone is a great way to show authenticity and build sentiment towards your organisation. National Trust The National Trust is a conservation charity protecting everything from historic houses, coastline, and gardens through to World Heritage Sites. They use a number of different social media channels to reach and engage with their audience, but in particular their use of Facebook is worth checking out. At the start of the year, Facebook announced they were changing the way we approach social media marketing on the platform. The new algorithm prioritises quality over quantity, to encourage sharing content your audience will find interesting. ‘Edutainment’ (educational + entertaining) content is the optimum way to ensure you’re doing this, by making sure that every post is either educational, entertaining, or ideally, both. The National Trust has really taken onboard the Facebook algorithm and posts a great mix of highly appealing ‘edutainment’ content, including ‘how to’ videos, seasonal advice, and amusing photos. By striking the balance of educating and entertaining they have built a strong and highly active Facebook audience whilst sharing the great work of their organisation. So, with a little forward planning and inspiration you can take a look at what other organisation’s are doing well, and apply their methods to your own organisation’s social media presence. Don’t be afraid to try new things and get creative - social media should be fun, and charities have such compelling stories to share. Hannah is Community Manager at Social Misfits Media, specialising in helping charities and social enterprises better use social media and digital to reach their goals. Follow Hannah and Social Misfits Media @HannahDonald20 and @MisfitsMedia.    
    Oct 08, 2018 4132
  • 18 Sep 2018
    Hi, I’m Alex from Localgiving's Development Team. I’m delighted to announce a series of major updates and improvements to our fundraising product. Sometimes you need more than just a new lick of paint. This is why we’ve looked at our current fundraising pages and thought hard how we could make these pages more feature rich, easier to use and more pleasing to look at from various devices, desktop to mobile. We hope that this will help local charities and their fundraisers to better engage donors - bringing in more funding for local causes across the UK. These changes will provide a better user experience both for fundraisers and their supporters - improving both functionality, design and putting more control in the hands of fundraisers. This marks a significant upgrade to Localgiving’s core product and helps us stand out as a forward looking, value for money fundraising platform. Here are just some of the improvements we’ve made to the fundraising pages, hope you’ll like them: Fresh, friendly and accessible design Quick sign up process where you can save and come back to finish it at any time Tips at each stage to help you maximise the impact of your fundraising page Integrated social media buttons to improve communication with supporters Intuitive user interface and fundraiser page layout Ability to upload videos and up to 8 images Ability to send updates to your supporters through images and videos Optimised for smartphones and tablets Ability to choose from a range of set events or input your own activity   We hope that these improvements not only provide our valued fundraisers with a more enjoyable experience, but ultimately help them bring in even more donations for our groups. We look forward to hearing your feedback soon!
    3487 Posted by Alex Kirillov
  • Hi, I’m Alex from Localgiving's Development Team. I’m delighted to announce a series of major updates and improvements to our fundraising product. Sometimes you need more than just a new lick of paint. This is why we’ve looked at our current fundraising pages and thought hard how we could make these pages more feature rich, easier to use and more pleasing to look at from various devices, desktop to mobile. We hope that this will help local charities and their fundraisers to better engage donors - bringing in more funding for local causes across the UK. These changes will provide a better user experience both for fundraisers and their supporters - improving both functionality, design and putting more control in the hands of fundraisers. This marks a significant upgrade to Localgiving’s core product and helps us stand out as a forward looking, value for money fundraising platform. Here are just some of the improvements we’ve made to the fundraising pages, hope you’ll like them: Fresh, friendly and accessible design Quick sign up process where you can save and come back to finish it at any time Tips at each stage to help you maximise the impact of your fundraising page Integrated social media buttons to improve communication with supporters Intuitive user interface and fundraiser page layout Ability to upload videos and up to 8 images Ability to send updates to your supporters through images and videos Optimised for smartphones and tablets Ability to choose from a range of set events or input your own activity   We hope that these improvements not only provide our valued fundraisers with a more enjoyable experience, but ultimately help them bring in even more donations for our groups. We look forward to hearing your feedback soon!
    Sep 18, 2018 3487
  • 17 Sep 2018
    Few would deny that Adobe still lead the way in all things graphic design. Unfortunately, Adobe products (Illustrator, indesign, Photoshop etc) are prohibitively expensive for many people, including most small, local charities. Furthermore, not all of us require the vast array of functions offered by adobe programs. Luckily, there are some fantastic free alternatives out there for those of us who want to produce professional looking designs but are a little short on time, resources and/or design skills. Here are five few of our current favourites: Canva Canva is a simple, intuitive graphic design tool. It is excellent for creating professional looking designs for all sorts of content –from presentations, to social media posts. Canva offers a straight forward drag-and drop- interface, with a huge resource library of templates and images. This makes it the perfect starting point for those without much design experience, or who are short on time.   GIMP GIMP is one of the most sophisticated free tools for visual artists. Many argue that this open-source software offers capabilities that rival those offered by Adobe software. GIMP has an abundance of tools from colour correction to cloning, enabling  you to create refined, professional designs  for any design project. However, it can take considerable time to learn and s not the most suitable tool for those wanting simple, quick designs.   Gravit Designer Gravit designer is an  ideal halfway house between Canva and Gimp.  Gravit offers far more flexibility and opportunities for customisation than Canva but without the incredible (but somewhat intimidating) array of options offered by GIMP.     Piktochart Piktochart allows you to make engaging, interactive infographics in no time.  Infographics are an incredibly powerful tool for engaging your audience and data sharing. Piktochart requires no previous design skills and has a good range of free templates and library of icons.   Pablo Pablo is perfect for those looking to create quick, instantly shareable social media content. Its beauty lies in its simplicity – visual content can be created and posted on your social media channels in just a couple of minutes.   There are plenty of other free design tools that your charity or community  group may benefit from -  please do share these with us!
    4107 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • Few would deny that Adobe still lead the way in all things graphic design. Unfortunately, Adobe products (Illustrator, indesign, Photoshop etc) are prohibitively expensive for many people, including most small, local charities. Furthermore, not all of us require the vast array of functions offered by adobe programs. Luckily, there are some fantastic free alternatives out there for those of us who want to produce professional looking designs but are a little short on time, resources and/or design skills. Here are five few of our current favourites: Canva Canva is a simple, intuitive graphic design tool. It is excellent for creating professional looking designs for all sorts of content –from presentations, to social media posts. Canva offers a straight forward drag-and drop- interface, with a huge resource library of templates and images. This makes it the perfect starting point for those without much design experience, or who are short on time.   GIMP GIMP is one of the most sophisticated free tools for visual artists. Many argue that this open-source software offers capabilities that rival those offered by Adobe software. GIMP has an abundance of tools from colour correction to cloning, enabling  you to create refined, professional designs  for any design project. However, it can take considerable time to learn and s not the most suitable tool for those wanting simple, quick designs.   Gravit Designer Gravit designer is an  ideal halfway house between Canva and Gimp.  Gravit offers far more flexibility and opportunities for customisation than Canva but without the incredible (but somewhat intimidating) array of options offered by GIMP.     Piktochart Piktochart allows you to make engaging, interactive infographics in no time.  Infographics are an incredibly powerful tool for engaging your audience and data sharing. Piktochart requires no previous design skills and has a good range of free templates and library of icons.   Pablo Pablo is perfect for those looking to create quick, instantly shareable social media content. Its beauty lies in its simplicity – visual content can be created and posted on your social media channels in just a couple of minutes.   There are plenty of other free design tools that your charity or community  group may benefit from -  please do share these with us!
    Sep 17, 2018 4107
  • 22 Aug 2018
    Although many small charities work within a local community, you’ll recognise the importance of communicating your impact across as vast a landscape as possible. Increased awareness of your work fosters increased support, from the public, other political stakeholders and policy makers themselves. Increased support gives rise to boosted influence, better funding and stronger opportunities to continue your core efforts. Yet, when you’re concentrating on doing what you do best in the local community, it can be difficult to understand where your audience can be found, and how to encourage them to support your cause. Perhaps the true difficulty is entirely within that second part: thanks to social media, locating potentially sympathetic individuals has become easier. The problem is it has become easier for everyone, and getting the public to support you, specifically you, is a more nuanced challenge than ever before. With 90% of MPs active on Twitter, charities and campaigning bodies are rightfully heading to social media to communicate their messaging. Online, however, social media visitors aren’t settling down at a desk for the long read, ready to pay full attention: they’re scrolling through, passing by, stopping to get off the train, pausing to unpack a hurried lunch on a bench. You’ve got seconds to get people interested, to make them remember you, and you’ve got to do this knowing that they’re not reading but skimming. They’re glancing your way, and you need to make them look. This is why short animated videos work: they give us something to look at and remember. 65% of us identify as visual learners, meaning we want to see what you mean, not read it, and with videos performing on Twitter six times better than images, we want to see something that can keep up with our impatient attention spans. With videos on social media autoplaying by default, the animation arrives on screen before the viewer has decided to scroll on, the message is shown, not told, and by finishing with a link to your website or campaign, the viewer is encouraged to learn more about the cause you’ve dangled intriguingly before them. Plus once you’ve got someone’s attention, you can pack much more information into a 20-30 second video than in a static image, or in a paragraph of text - at least in a paragraph that someone is going to finish reading. Animated content stands out in the jostling social media sphere, and utilises the best ways to achieve engagement. Such clips take care of engaging the larger crowd, and you can focus on the crucial local work. Joy Dempsey is a Sales Development Representative at Senate Media, helping charities and campaigning bodies to increase engagement with their key messages, using animation. Get in touch: visualcontent@senatemedia.co.uk   
    3181 Posted by Joy Dempsey
  • Although many small charities work within a local community, you’ll recognise the importance of communicating your impact across as vast a landscape as possible. Increased awareness of your work fosters increased support, from the public, other political stakeholders and policy makers themselves. Increased support gives rise to boosted influence, better funding and stronger opportunities to continue your core efforts. Yet, when you’re concentrating on doing what you do best in the local community, it can be difficult to understand where your audience can be found, and how to encourage them to support your cause. Perhaps the true difficulty is entirely within that second part: thanks to social media, locating potentially sympathetic individuals has become easier. The problem is it has become easier for everyone, and getting the public to support you, specifically you, is a more nuanced challenge than ever before. With 90% of MPs active on Twitter, charities and campaigning bodies are rightfully heading to social media to communicate their messaging. Online, however, social media visitors aren’t settling down at a desk for the long read, ready to pay full attention: they’re scrolling through, passing by, stopping to get off the train, pausing to unpack a hurried lunch on a bench. You’ve got seconds to get people interested, to make them remember you, and you’ve got to do this knowing that they’re not reading but skimming. They’re glancing your way, and you need to make them look. This is why short animated videos work: they give us something to look at and remember. 65% of us identify as visual learners, meaning we want to see what you mean, not read it, and with videos performing on Twitter six times better than images, we want to see something that can keep up with our impatient attention spans. With videos on social media autoplaying by default, the animation arrives on screen before the viewer has decided to scroll on, the message is shown, not told, and by finishing with a link to your website or campaign, the viewer is encouraged to learn more about the cause you’ve dangled intriguingly before them. Plus once you’ve got someone’s attention, you can pack much more information into a 20-30 second video than in a static image, or in a paragraph of text - at least in a paragraph that someone is going to finish reading. Animated content stands out in the jostling social media sphere, and utilises the best ways to achieve engagement. Such clips take care of engaging the larger crowd, and you can focus on the crucial local work. Joy Dempsey is a Sales Development Representative at Senate Media, helping charities and campaigning bodies to increase engagement with their key messages, using animation. Get in touch: visualcontent@senatemedia.co.uk   
    Aug 22, 2018 3181
  • 20 Aug 2018
    On September 16th, I will swim 10K down the River Dart to raise money for Womankind, an amazing organisation supporting women in the Bristol area to improve their mental health and well-being so they can experience a better quality of life. It's a long way to swim and this summer amidst the sun and fun, I’ve been fitting in long training swims. I thought it would be a nice thing to share reflections of the training process, which could be applied to all sorts of physical challenges…here are my 5 top tips for taking on a physical challenge! Planning and recording your progress can be a real motivator. I follow a training plan and make enough time in my week to do the training session fully! I write down what I’ve done and looking back at this is a good psychological boost. Take snacks. I don’t know about you but swimming makes me peckish! If I’m doing a long session, a handful of nuts here and there makes it more manageable. I forgot to bring anything one session and by the end of it I was basically doing doggy paddle with jelly arms! All the gear can be a good idea! Buy equipment and training gear to make it more comfortable and easier. It took me weeks to find the right wetsuit, and a neck protector has helped prevent painful friction burns on the neck. Raise money for a cause you believe in- it will motivate you and help you push through those tricky training milestones. It’s amazing the number of excuses ‘that voice’ comes up with for shortening a training session or not doing it at all, but for me the stronger voice that overrides is the one saying ‘think of why you are doing it’- Womankind is an organisation I believe in, and this gives me strength. Have fun and enjoy the scenery along the way! It’s easy to start obsessing over distance and taking it too seriously, but it’s important to have a sense of humour and make it into a positive experience. Outdoor training, especially with others can be a wonderful activity so embrace this as well as the more serious task of ticking off training swims. With this physical challenge, I’m aiming to raise £1000 for Womankind and it would be great if you could support me to complete the swim! You can read more about my challenge at the link below: https://localgiving.org/fundraising/10kfor1kforwomankind/. Thanks in advance and good luck with your physical challenge!  
    3258 Posted by Elizabeth Spencer
  • On September 16th, I will swim 10K down the River Dart to raise money for Womankind, an amazing organisation supporting women in the Bristol area to improve their mental health and well-being so they can experience a better quality of life. It's a long way to swim and this summer amidst the sun and fun, I’ve been fitting in long training swims. I thought it would be a nice thing to share reflections of the training process, which could be applied to all sorts of physical challenges…here are my 5 top tips for taking on a physical challenge! Planning and recording your progress can be a real motivator. I follow a training plan and make enough time in my week to do the training session fully! I write down what I’ve done and looking back at this is a good psychological boost. Take snacks. I don’t know about you but swimming makes me peckish! If I’m doing a long session, a handful of nuts here and there makes it more manageable. I forgot to bring anything one session and by the end of it I was basically doing doggy paddle with jelly arms! All the gear can be a good idea! Buy equipment and training gear to make it more comfortable and easier. It took me weeks to find the right wetsuit, and a neck protector has helped prevent painful friction burns on the neck. Raise money for a cause you believe in- it will motivate you and help you push through those tricky training milestones. It’s amazing the number of excuses ‘that voice’ comes up with for shortening a training session or not doing it at all, but for me the stronger voice that overrides is the one saying ‘think of why you are doing it’- Womankind is an organisation I believe in, and this gives me strength. Have fun and enjoy the scenery along the way! It’s easy to start obsessing over distance and taking it too seriously, but it’s important to have a sense of humour and make it into a positive experience. Outdoor training, especially with others can be a wonderful activity so embrace this as well as the more serious task of ticking off training swims. With this physical challenge, I’m aiming to raise £1000 for Womankind and it would be great if you could support me to complete the swim! You can read more about my challenge at the link below: https://localgiving.org/fundraising/10kfor1kforwomankind/. Thanks in advance and good luck with your physical challenge!  
    Aug 20, 2018 3258
  • 16 Aug 2018
      Localgiving ambassador, Bright Light Bright Light has announced that he will be supporting seven Localgiving groups during his tour of the UK in September. Welsh born electro-pop musician, Rod Thomas (AKA Bright Light Bright Light), known for his work with Elton John, Erasure and his stunning performance on the Graham Norton Show, has always been passionate about supporting small, local charities. As an independent artist, Rod feels a real affinity with grassroots organisations. He sees his tour as an excellent opportunity both to bring in funds and raise the profile of his chosen causes. As Rod explained: “The best thing about touring is engaging with local communities and the people who try to make a difference within them. I worked with Lewis Garland of Localgiving to find charities in each city on the tour so that I could raise awareness of their fantastic work and help them out with donation collections at each of the shows. These charities are working hard to address issues where they live and make a real difference, and I want to do everything I can to help them.” Rod has chosen one Localgiving member to support for each of his upcoming tour dates. 20th Leeds : RETAS 23rd Bristol : Borderlands 24th Cardiff: Pride Cymru 25th Manchester: The Proud Trust 27th Glasgow : Theatre Nemo 28th Birmingham : Aston Performing Arts Academy  29th London: Gendered Intelligence For each date, Rod handpicked Localgiving causes that were both close to the venue and close to his heart – these include LGBTQI+ groups, refugee focussed charities and arts organisations.  There are two ways you can donate to his causes: Donate online by clicking on the charity name listed above (this will also give you the option of adding GiftAid). Remember to let us the group know you're a Bright Light Bright Light fan in the comments box! Make a cash donation at one of Bright Light Bright Light’s tour dates (Book tickets here) In the clip below Bright Light Bright Light explains why he feels supporting local charities is so important.  Found this blog interesting? You may also enjoy: Shining a Bright Light on Local Charities Fight for the right of LGBTQI asylum seekers
  •   Localgiving ambassador, Bright Light Bright Light has announced that he will be supporting seven Localgiving groups during his tour of the UK in September. Welsh born electro-pop musician, Rod Thomas (AKA Bright Light Bright Light), known for his work with Elton John, Erasure and his stunning performance on the Graham Norton Show, has always been passionate about supporting small, local charities. As an independent artist, Rod feels a real affinity with grassroots organisations. He sees his tour as an excellent opportunity both to bring in funds and raise the profile of his chosen causes. As Rod explained: “The best thing about touring is engaging with local communities and the people who try to make a difference within them. I worked with Lewis Garland of Localgiving to find charities in each city on the tour so that I could raise awareness of their fantastic work and help them out with donation collections at each of the shows. These charities are working hard to address issues where they live and make a real difference, and I want to do everything I can to help them.” Rod has chosen one Localgiving member to support for each of his upcoming tour dates. 20th Leeds : RETAS 23rd Bristol : Borderlands 24th Cardiff: Pride Cymru 25th Manchester: The Proud Trust 27th Glasgow : Theatre Nemo 28th Birmingham : Aston Performing Arts Academy  29th London: Gendered Intelligence For each date, Rod handpicked Localgiving causes that were both close to the venue and close to his heart – these include LGBTQI+ groups, refugee focussed charities and arts organisations.  There are two ways you can donate to his causes: Donate online by clicking on the charity name listed above (this will also give you the option of adding GiftAid). Remember to let us the group know you're a Bright Light Bright Light fan in the comments box! Make a cash donation at one of Bright Light Bright Light’s tour dates (Book tickets here) In the clip below Bright Light Bright Light explains why he feels supporting local charities is so important.  Found this blog interesting? You may also enjoy: Shining a Bright Light on Local Charities Fight for the right of LGBTQI asylum seekers
    Aug 16, 2018 9446
  • 13 Aug 2018
    Janine Edwards is Head of Consultancy and Development at the FSI, a charity that specialises in supporting small charities.  She provides training and consultancy across a range of impact and organisational development areas. Over the past few years the terms ‘outcomes’ and ‘impact’ have been heard increasingly across the charity sector and being able to demonstrate them is now vital. Funders, supporters, volunteers, trustees, and numerous other stakeholders are now, more than ever, interested in the impact your charity has. Not just what you do but what changes you make as an organisation. The challenge for small, local charities is how to do this effectively and efficiently, when they do not have the resources of their larger counterparts. At the FSI we regularly train and deliver consultancy projects helping small, local charities measure and demonstrate their impact more effectively. I am always amazed at the range of reasons why people want to develop in this area. A lot want to develop better relationships with funders and donors, many want to check their programmes are working and are as effective as possible, and others want to engage volunteers, trustees or staff in a more meaningful way. However with so much information out there it can be difficult to know how best to approach it. For whatever the reason you are looking to measure and demonstrate your impact, here are some practical, and we hope useful, tips and tools: 1. Get definition savvy If you’re not already familiar with the different terms it’s important to know what each of them is referring to so that you know exactly what you are measuring and what it means.  Outcomes are generally defined as the changes (positive or negative) that occur as a result of your work, which is experienced by your stakeholders. Inspiring Impact have a useful glossary available to download on their website. 2. Focus on outcomes New Philanthropy Capital published research a few years ago that showed even the largest charities overwhelmingly report on outputs rather than outcomes. It is a much more engaging story to talk about outcomes and what changed as a result of your interaction with your beneficiaries. Instead of saying we trained X people in the last year, you want to be able to demonstrate how that training made a difference to them. Keeping asking why – if they gained skills and confidence because of the training, why is that important? Did it help them secure or maintain a job, or perhaps travel independently or to administer emergency first aid and potentially save someone’s life. Sometimes the outcomes can be really hard to measure, but if you are not at least thinking about it then you are almost certainly not able to communicate and demonstrate the full value of your work. 3. Develop an impact measurement framework There are many different models you can choose from and it is important to find one which works for your organisation. At the FSI we use Logic Models and you can find a great resource guide from Evaluation Support Scotland on how to develop your own. We have also found tools like the Charities Evaluation Service (CES) Planning Triangle helpful. Importantly, whatever option you choose, you should describe your activities, inputs, outputs and outcomes, your outcome indicators and how you will measure them. You may want to go one step further and identify the need your work is addressing, the enabling factors that are important for your work to be successful and the assumptions you have made in your model. 4. Decide what to measure – and how With your framework in place you should know what your outcomes are, you then need to decide which of these are the most important for you to measure and identify your outcome indicators and measurement.  Often this will not involve redesigning your whole system but simply tweaking what you already do by, for example, inputting a few extra questions to the evaluation forms or putting in place a follow up call to previous clients.  It can be helpful to look at what measurement tools other charities are using, particularly those doing similar work to you, to see if you can adapt or use these in your own work. 5. Collect quantitative and qualitative data This will help you tell a more compelling story. Use statistics and quotes to appeal to both the head and heart. Using quotes will help you demonstrate the difference you make using your beneficiary’s direct words which can be very powerful. This previous blog for Localgiving from Becky Slack provides some great tips on storytelling. 6. Share your impact far and wide! Your annual report is a good place to start – all too often the annual reports I read include the same variation on last year’s review, with a focus on activities, outputs and the finances. This is a great place to start but remember the readership will be narrow. Identify the key statistics and stories and show them on your website, in social media, your newsletters and in other communications. There are so many ways you already communicate with stakeholders so don’t forget to miss the opportunity to share and inspire them with  your impact. NfpSynergy provide four great examples from charities including a great example of sharing impact via social media from Barnardos Scotland. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:      How digital can help small charities navigate their challenges Civil Society Strategy: Localgiving's Response How charities can use images to appeal to donors and supporters
    2578 Posted by Janine Edwards
  • Janine Edwards is Head of Consultancy and Development at the FSI, a charity that specialises in supporting small charities.  She provides training and consultancy across a range of impact and organisational development areas. Over the past few years the terms ‘outcomes’ and ‘impact’ have been heard increasingly across the charity sector and being able to demonstrate them is now vital. Funders, supporters, volunteers, trustees, and numerous other stakeholders are now, more than ever, interested in the impact your charity has. Not just what you do but what changes you make as an organisation. The challenge for small, local charities is how to do this effectively and efficiently, when they do not have the resources of their larger counterparts. At the FSI we regularly train and deliver consultancy projects helping small, local charities measure and demonstrate their impact more effectively. I am always amazed at the range of reasons why people want to develop in this area. A lot want to develop better relationships with funders and donors, many want to check their programmes are working and are as effective as possible, and others want to engage volunteers, trustees or staff in a more meaningful way. However with so much information out there it can be difficult to know how best to approach it. For whatever the reason you are looking to measure and demonstrate your impact, here are some practical, and we hope useful, tips and tools: 1. Get definition savvy If you’re not already familiar with the different terms it’s important to know what each of them is referring to so that you know exactly what you are measuring and what it means.  Outcomes are generally defined as the changes (positive or negative) that occur as a result of your work, which is experienced by your stakeholders. Inspiring Impact have a useful glossary available to download on their website. 2. Focus on outcomes New Philanthropy Capital published research a few years ago that showed even the largest charities overwhelmingly report on outputs rather than outcomes. It is a much more engaging story to talk about outcomes and what changed as a result of your interaction with your beneficiaries. Instead of saying we trained X people in the last year, you want to be able to demonstrate how that training made a difference to them. Keeping asking why – if they gained skills and confidence because of the training, why is that important? Did it help them secure or maintain a job, or perhaps travel independently or to administer emergency first aid and potentially save someone’s life. Sometimes the outcomes can be really hard to measure, but if you are not at least thinking about it then you are almost certainly not able to communicate and demonstrate the full value of your work. 3. Develop an impact measurement framework There are many different models you can choose from and it is important to find one which works for your organisation. At the FSI we use Logic Models and you can find a great resource guide from Evaluation Support Scotland on how to develop your own. We have also found tools like the Charities Evaluation Service (CES) Planning Triangle helpful. Importantly, whatever option you choose, you should describe your activities, inputs, outputs and outcomes, your outcome indicators and how you will measure them. You may want to go one step further and identify the need your work is addressing, the enabling factors that are important for your work to be successful and the assumptions you have made in your model. 4. Decide what to measure – and how With your framework in place you should know what your outcomes are, you then need to decide which of these are the most important for you to measure and identify your outcome indicators and measurement.  Often this will not involve redesigning your whole system but simply tweaking what you already do by, for example, inputting a few extra questions to the evaluation forms or putting in place a follow up call to previous clients.  It can be helpful to look at what measurement tools other charities are using, particularly those doing similar work to you, to see if you can adapt or use these in your own work. 5. Collect quantitative and qualitative data This will help you tell a more compelling story. Use statistics and quotes to appeal to both the head and heart. Using quotes will help you demonstrate the difference you make using your beneficiary’s direct words which can be very powerful. This previous blog for Localgiving from Becky Slack provides some great tips on storytelling. 6. Share your impact far and wide! Your annual report is a good place to start – all too often the annual reports I read include the same variation on last year’s review, with a focus on activities, outputs and the finances. This is a great place to start but remember the readership will be narrow. Identify the key statistics and stories and show them on your website, in social media, your newsletters and in other communications. There are so many ways you already communicate with stakeholders so don’t forget to miss the opportunity to share and inspire them with  your impact. NfpSynergy provide four great examples from charities including a great example of sharing impact via social media from Barnardos Scotland. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:      How digital can help small charities navigate their challenges Civil Society Strategy: Localgiving's Response How charities can use images to appeal to donors and supporters
    Aug 13, 2018 2578
  • 09 Aug 2018
    In our Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2017/18 we stated that new Civil Society Strategy and the consultations leading up to it represented a “real opportunity to identify the key needs of the local voluntary sector and to begin to develop the informed, substantive support programmes necessary to help local charities sustain themselves and flourish”. We are encouraged by the government’s recognition of the vital role that local charities and community groups play, and will continue to play, in tackling our society’s most pressing issues. We are pleased to see this strategy addressing many of the concerns and recommendations we have highlighted in our reports. It is positive to see the government directly recognising the importance of ‘place’. Societal issues manifest themselves differently in different communities. It is therefore essential that ‘local players’ are involved in the decisions that will affect them in a meaningful way. We are particularly interested in seeing how the government will go about stimulating cross-sector collaboration at the local level. The need for digital upskilling is rightfully at the heart of the strategy. While there have undoubtedly been strides forward in recent years, local charities and community groups continue to lag behind in this area. This strategy recognises the role that technology can play in reducing the considerable funding disparity between large and small organisations.  We are aware of the important role we can play in this upskilling process and in helping to build a better resourced, more efficient and more effective local voluntary sector. It is also pleasing to see the government seeking to alleviate the fears that many of our members have voiced about campaigning and publicly advocating for the needs of their beneficiaries.This having been said, the strategy could have gone further by revising the Lobbying Act and ending the use of anti-advocacy clauses. Local groups are uniquely positioned to understand the impact of economic changes and political decisions on the ground - it is vital that this knowledge is used to inform policy. This strategy certainly gives us grounds for optimism. However, its true value will only be seen when words become actions. Of course, the success of this strategy will ultimately rely on the government providing the sector with adequate, timely, and appropriately channeled resources. We look forward to working alongside the government to implement this strategy and where necessary holding them to account.  
  • In our Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2017/18 we stated that new Civil Society Strategy and the consultations leading up to it represented a “real opportunity to identify the key needs of the local voluntary sector and to begin to develop the informed, substantive support programmes necessary to help local charities sustain themselves and flourish”. We are encouraged by the government’s recognition of the vital role that local charities and community groups play, and will continue to play, in tackling our society’s most pressing issues. We are pleased to see this strategy addressing many of the concerns and recommendations we have highlighted in our reports. It is positive to see the government directly recognising the importance of ‘place’. Societal issues manifest themselves differently in different communities. It is therefore essential that ‘local players’ are involved in the decisions that will affect them in a meaningful way. We are particularly interested in seeing how the government will go about stimulating cross-sector collaboration at the local level. The need for digital upskilling is rightfully at the heart of the strategy. While there have undoubtedly been strides forward in recent years, local charities and community groups continue to lag behind in this area. This strategy recognises the role that technology can play in reducing the considerable funding disparity between large and small organisations.  We are aware of the important role we can play in this upskilling process and in helping to build a better resourced, more efficient and more effective local voluntary sector. It is also pleasing to see the government seeking to alleviate the fears that many of our members have voiced about campaigning and publicly advocating for the needs of their beneficiaries.This having been said, the strategy could have gone further by revising the Lobbying Act and ending the use of anti-advocacy clauses. Local groups are uniquely positioned to understand the impact of economic changes and political decisions on the ground - it is vital that this knowledge is used to inform policy. This strategy certainly gives us grounds for optimism. However, its true value will only be seen when words become actions. Of course, the success of this strategy will ultimately rely on the government providing the sector with adequate, timely, and appropriately channeled resources. We look forward to working alongside the government to implement this strategy and where necessary holding them to account.  
    Aug 09, 2018 2525
  • 16 Jul 2018
    Localgiving’s Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report shows the amount of pressure that small charities are under. I was concerned to read that only 47% of the UK’s local charities and community groups are confident they will survive beyond 5 years. It is worrying to hear how these groups are stretched to breaking point, and how many of them are shouldering the burden of increased demand; 78% of groups reported an increase in the need for their services over the past 12 months. What could help local charities in this situation? As resources are stretched even more thinly, what could help them save money and time? I’m a passionate believer in the power of digital to help small charities, and that’s why we’ve created best practice specifically to help them in The Charity Digital Code of Practice. The Code aims to increase motivation and confidence in using digital for all charities. We’ve worked closely with the Charity Commission, Small Charities Coalition, NCVO, ACEVO, Office for Civil Society, Tech Trust and others to develop a framework for success. By following it we hope that charities will be able to increase their impact, grow skills and collaborate more with others We know from Lloyds Business Digital Index that highly digitally capable charities are twice as likely to save time and to see an increase in donations, and ten times as likely to save costs. A brilliant example of this is how NAVCA (themselves a small charity) ,rebuilt how they worked by putting digital at their core. The whole team now work remotely, and they use a number of online platforms such as Breathe HR, which helps them manage appraisals, leave and absence, and Xero, I’ve also seen where small, local charities can miss out if they don’t use digital. My kids go to a school just around the corner from us, where the PTA (who are a charity) are trying to raise funds from parents and the local community for a new library. They decided to put on a fundraising dinner. Great idea, right? Yet they didn’t offer a way for parents to donate to the library fundraising campaign online, which very sadly meant not enough people donated and the dinner needed to be cancelled. Local charities will need to find new ways to raise money amidst further cuts to public funding. Making it quick, easy and simple for people to give will help, or they could potentially miss out. I’ve worked with many local charities and support several in my area, and I have seen first-hand the difference they can make in their communities. Localgiving report’s shows how local charities need our support, and that their sustainability should be a priority or our communities will suffer. Digital could help them build on the amazing work they do, freeing up time and money so that they can do what they do best. The Charity Digital Code of Practice is open for consultation until 25 September 2018. Read the draft Code and get involved.  If you enjoyed this blog you will also like: Localgiving report highlights Brexit uncertainty Employee volunteering and Localgiving's report  
    3648 Posted by Zoe Amar
  • Localgiving’s Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report shows the amount of pressure that small charities are under. I was concerned to read that only 47% of the UK’s local charities and community groups are confident they will survive beyond 5 years. It is worrying to hear how these groups are stretched to breaking point, and how many of them are shouldering the burden of increased demand; 78% of groups reported an increase in the need for their services over the past 12 months. What could help local charities in this situation? As resources are stretched even more thinly, what could help them save money and time? I’m a passionate believer in the power of digital to help small charities, and that’s why we’ve created best practice specifically to help them in The Charity Digital Code of Practice. The Code aims to increase motivation and confidence in using digital for all charities. We’ve worked closely with the Charity Commission, Small Charities Coalition, NCVO, ACEVO, Office for Civil Society, Tech Trust and others to develop a framework for success. By following it we hope that charities will be able to increase their impact, grow skills and collaborate more with others We know from Lloyds Business Digital Index that highly digitally capable charities are twice as likely to save time and to see an increase in donations, and ten times as likely to save costs. A brilliant example of this is how NAVCA (themselves a small charity) ,rebuilt how they worked by putting digital at their core. The whole team now work remotely, and they use a number of online platforms such as Breathe HR, which helps them manage appraisals, leave and absence, and Xero, I’ve also seen where small, local charities can miss out if they don’t use digital. My kids go to a school just around the corner from us, where the PTA (who are a charity) are trying to raise funds from parents and the local community for a new library. They decided to put on a fundraising dinner. Great idea, right? Yet they didn’t offer a way for parents to donate to the library fundraising campaign online, which very sadly meant not enough people donated and the dinner needed to be cancelled. Local charities will need to find new ways to raise money amidst further cuts to public funding. Making it quick, easy and simple for people to give will help, or they could potentially miss out. I’ve worked with many local charities and support several in my area, and I have seen first-hand the difference they can make in their communities. Localgiving report’s shows how local charities need our support, and that their sustainability should be a priority or our communities will suffer. Digital could help them build on the amazing work they do, freeing up time and money so that they can do what they do best. The Charity Digital Code of Practice is open for consultation until 25 September 2018. Read the draft Code and get involved.  If you enjoyed this blog you will also like: Localgiving report highlights Brexit uncertainty Employee volunteering and Localgiving's report  
    Jul 16, 2018 3648
  • 05 Jul 2018
    Amid the special edition rainbow bank cards and coffee cups, it is very easy to forget that today’s Pride celebrations have their roots in the Stonewall riots and the wider fight for justice for LGBTQI+people. There is no doubt that there have been incredible strides forward for LGBTQI+ rights over the last quarter of a century  – indeed the very fact that is has become so beneficial for big business to show its support for Pride is testament to how far we have come. However, we must not be fooled into believing the fight is in any way won. Homosexuality remains illegal in 74 countries, while hate crime and day-to-day prejudice remain issues even in the most progressive countries. Within the UK, one particularly pressing issue is the fight to protect the rights and ensure the wellbeing of LGBTQI+ asylum seekers. This week, I spoke to Leila Zadah of the UK  Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) about their work to support LGBTQI+ asylum seekers and  advocate for their needs and rights. What is UKLGIG's mission and what support do you provide to LGBTQI+ asylum seekers?  "Our mission is to support LGBTQI+ through the asylum process. We are the only charity in the UK that provides specialist support services, legal advice and information, and conducts policy and advocacy work. We provide psychosocial and practical support to LGBTQI+ people throughout the asylum process. We also provide specialist legal advice and information. We visit LGBTQI+ people if they are claiming asylum and have been placed in a detention centre. We also advocate for changes in Home Office policy and practice, including an improvement in the quality of decision-making in asylum claims based on sexual orientation or gender identity, an end to the detention of LGBTQI+ people and safer accommodation." How many  LGBTQI+ people seek asylum in the UK per year and where do the majority of these claims come from? "Home Office figures published in November 2018 revealed that around 2,000 people apply for asylum each year because of their sexual orientation. Most applications are from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria. The Home Office data did not include claims on the basis of gender identity but they have committee to publishing that data in future." Why do LGBTQI+ people need specific support through the asylum process? In what way does the UK asylum system  disadvantage LGBTQI+ people? "LGBTQI+ people who are seeking asylum are invariably highly marginalised in society. They may have been rejected by their families, friends and communities because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. They often wish to avoid places where other people from their home countries are present for fear of discrimination or harassment; and they are not always welcome in LGBTQI+ spaces because of racism or their immigration status. Many experience feelings of profound shame and/or internalised homophobia, biphobia or transphobia. Many have also experienced psychological, physical or sexual violence. They often have low self-esteem and low confidence, which impact on their ability to present their asylum claims. Most mainstream refugee organisations do not provide specific services to LGBTQI+ asylum seekers or information tailored to their needs. Claiming asylum on the basis of your sexual orientation or gender identity is inherently difficult. To be recognised as a refugee, you have to show that you have a well-founded fear of persecution. If your fear of persecution is based on your sexual orientation or gender identity, you also have to prove that you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, trans or intersex. This would be difficult for any person, but it is even harder if you have been trying to hide your sexual orientation or gender identity because your family, society or country won’t accept it and may harm you. It is also very difficult to overcome feelings of shame and internalised homophobia, biphobia or transphobia to be able to talk about your identity – particularly if any discussion of sexuality is taboo in your culture – to a figure of authority who is going to decide if you can stay in the country. Unfortunately, sometimes asylum decision-makers in the Home Office use stereotypes to try to decide if someone is LGBTQI+. Sometimes they don’t recognise the importance of cultural context. One caseworker in the Home Office once said that to try to establish someone’s sexual orientation they would “look at how they’ve explored their sexuality in a cultural context – reading Oscar Wilde perhaps, films and music”. UKLGIG is releasing a report later this month that looks at the reasons why LGBTQI+ asylum claims are rejected. People can receive it by signing up to our newsletter or following us on social media (see below). People who are seeking asylum are not allowed to work. If they need accommodation, the government will normally provide a shared room in a shared house. LGBTQI+ people in shared asylum accommodation often experience discrimination, harassment and abuse from their housemates.  People who are seeking asylum can also be held in immigration detention centres. LGBTQI+ people who are seeking asylum find themselves trapped among people who may exhibit the same prejudices and discrimination towards them as people in the country from which they are fleeing. Our joint research with Stonewall, No Safe Refuge, showed that they experience harassment and abuse as a result. Many suffer long-lasting effects on their mental health." What are you doing to celebrate Pride 2018 and can people join you? "We will be marching at Pride in London on Sat 7 July. We also have a joint event the Amnesty UK LGBTI Network and African Rainbow Family at UK Black Pride on Sunday 8 July." How can people support your work in future?  We are always looking for Volunteers and you can Donate Here. If you’d like to be involved in our governance, you can become a Member of UKLGIG. Download a form Here.   People can also: Visit our website Sign up for our newsletter  Follow us on Twitter @uklgig Like our Facebook page 
    4201 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • Amid the special edition rainbow bank cards and coffee cups, it is very easy to forget that today’s Pride celebrations have their roots in the Stonewall riots and the wider fight for justice for LGBTQI+people. There is no doubt that there have been incredible strides forward for LGBTQI+ rights over the last quarter of a century  – indeed the very fact that is has become so beneficial for big business to show its support for Pride is testament to how far we have come. However, we must not be fooled into believing the fight is in any way won. Homosexuality remains illegal in 74 countries, while hate crime and day-to-day prejudice remain issues even in the most progressive countries. Within the UK, one particularly pressing issue is the fight to protect the rights and ensure the wellbeing of LGBTQI+ asylum seekers. This week, I spoke to Leila Zadah of the UK  Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) about their work to support LGBTQI+ asylum seekers and  advocate for their needs and rights. What is UKLGIG's mission and what support do you provide to LGBTQI+ asylum seekers?  "Our mission is to support LGBTQI+ through the asylum process. We are the only charity in the UK that provides specialist support services, legal advice and information, and conducts policy and advocacy work. We provide psychosocial and practical support to LGBTQI+ people throughout the asylum process. We also provide specialist legal advice and information. We visit LGBTQI+ people if they are claiming asylum and have been placed in a detention centre. We also advocate for changes in Home Office policy and practice, including an improvement in the quality of decision-making in asylum claims based on sexual orientation or gender identity, an end to the detention of LGBTQI+ people and safer accommodation." How many  LGBTQI+ people seek asylum in the UK per year and where do the majority of these claims come from? "Home Office figures published in November 2018 revealed that around 2,000 people apply for asylum each year because of their sexual orientation. Most applications are from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria. The Home Office data did not include claims on the basis of gender identity but they have committee to publishing that data in future." Why do LGBTQI+ people need specific support through the asylum process? In what way does the UK asylum system  disadvantage LGBTQI+ people? "LGBTQI+ people who are seeking asylum are invariably highly marginalised in society. They may have been rejected by their families, friends and communities because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. They often wish to avoid places where other people from their home countries are present for fear of discrimination or harassment; and they are not always welcome in LGBTQI+ spaces because of racism or their immigration status. Many experience feelings of profound shame and/or internalised homophobia, biphobia or transphobia. Many have also experienced psychological, physical or sexual violence. They often have low self-esteem and low confidence, which impact on their ability to present their asylum claims. Most mainstream refugee organisations do not provide specific services to LGBTQI+ asylum seekers or information tailored to their needs. Claiming asylum on the basis of your sexual orientation or gender identity is inherently difficult. To be recognised as a refugee, you have to show that you have a well-founded fear of persecution. If your fear of persecution is based on your sexual orientation or gender identity, you also have to prove that you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, trans or intersex. This would be difficult for any person, but it is even harder if you have been trying to hide your sexual orientation or gender identity because your family, society or country won’t accept it and may harm you. It is also very difficult to overcome feelings of shame and internalised homophobia, biphobia or transphobia to be able to talk about your identity – particularly if any discussion of sexuality is taboo in your culture – to a figure of authority who is going to decide if you can stay in the country. Unfortunately, sometimes asylum decision-makers in the Home Office use stereotypes to try to decide if someone is LGBTQI+. Sometimes they don’t recognise the importance of cultural context. One caseworker in the Home Office once said that to try to establish someone’s sexual orientation they would “look at how they’ve explored their sexuality in a cultural context – reading Oscar Wilde perhaps, films and music”. UKLGIG is releasing a report later this month that looks at the reasons why LGBTQI+ asylum claims are rejected. People can receive it by signing up to our newsletter or following us on social media (see below). People who are seeking asylum are not allowed to work. If they need accommodation, the government will normally provide a shared room in a shared house. LGBTQI+ people in shared asylum accommodation often experience discrimination, harassment and abuse from their housemates.  People who are seeking asylum can also be held in immigration detention centres. LGBTQI+ people who are seeking asylum find themselves trapped among people who may exhibit the same prejudices and discrimination towards them as people in the country from which they are fleeing. Our joint research with Stonewall, No Safe Refuge, showed that they experience harassment and abuse as a result. Many suffer long-lasting effects on their mental health." What are you doing to celebrate Pride 2018 and can people join you? "We will be marching at Pride in London on Sat 7 July. We also have a joint event the Amnesty UK LGBTI Network and African Rainbow Family at UK Black Pride on Sunday 8 July." How can people support your work in future?  We are always looking for Volunteers and you can Donate Here. If you’d like to be involved in our governance, you can become a Member of UKLGIG. Download a form Here.   People can also: Visit our website Sign up for our newsletter  Follow us on Twitter @uklgig Like our Facebook page 
    Jul 05, 2018 4201