User's Tags

Other Blogs

  • 14 Aug 2014
    Chris Dormer and I travelled to Berkshire yesterday to meet 4 groups and see first hand what the money raised through Localgiving does to support their community. We were guests of Berkshire Community Foundation (motto: “Connecting people who care with causes that matter”), and were being ferried hither and thither around the countryside by BCF’s online development worker, Dave Soper.  Dave’s job title doesn’t really do him justice – not only does he deeply understand what makes local charities and community groups tick, but he has a fascinating perspective on the fundraising dynamic, and, for the day, we were treated to a master class on how local charities can be successful. Our first meeting - Swallowfield Community Responders It was another bright sunny August day in Berkshire: the air was warming up nicely as Chris and I met with Swallowfield Community Responders team Gary and Ian. On show was their smart BMW X1 in its unmissable ambulance livery. Swallowfield Community Responders is run by South Central Ambulance Service, and whenever a 999 call is made in the local area, an ambulance will be dispatched, and if appropriate, a first responder will also be sent to the scene. Community First Responders are trained by the Ambulance Service to deal with a variety of medical emergencies until the ambulance arrives, and their equipment includes a defibrillator to reset the heart in the event of a cardiac arrest. A special kind of volunteer First Responders are a special kind of volunteer – their lives are on hold while they’re on duty and they never know when they’ll be called upon to provide assistance, perhaps saving a life or providing emergency care. Their kit has to be paid for (although the NHS replenishes it for free), and there are considerable startup and running costs, provided by grants, fundraising events and generous donors. Hear what Gary has to say about the role Localgiving has played in helping their organisation:   Local groups deserve our gratitude As I learn more about some of the groups that look to Localgiving to help raise funds for their work, I am in awe of their dedication, expertise and commitment. Not all groups are as visible as Swallowfield Community Responders, nor are all of them engaged so directly in life-critical work, but I’m discovering that they share this common purpose and determination to do what they can to make our communities better places for the rest of us. They more than deserve our gratitude and support.  Next up - Bradfield Cricket Club Leaving Swallowfield, we whizzed off to meet Dave at Bradfield Cricket Club. In 2011 the club’s pavilion was burned down in an arson attack, and its entire future was at risk had it not been able to build a new pavilion quickly. Insurance didn’t cover the entire amount and so the club got motivated and raised £17,000 from its friends and members, including nearly £40,000 using Localgiving. Looking around their smart new building, I was impressed by the evident involvement of many, many people – folks who value the role the cricket club plays in the local community. Then on to Hurst Bowling Club Next on the agenda was Hurst Bowling Club (est. 1747) with the unforgettable Ronnie – a lady with a twinkle in the eye and a huge heart. Here, in this idyllic corner of Berkshire, nestled next to the Castle Inn, the Bowls Club has big ambitions for its clubhouse. After sourcing a new mower to tend its impeccable lawns, Ronnie is determined that the club will achieve its goals, widen its membership base and provide facilities for more people to enjoy this most social and gentle game. After being awarded the emblem of the club – a bunch of grapes badge - we were off again, to The Link Visiting Scheme in Wokingham. Our final visit - The Link Visiting Scheme Michael and Heather welcomed us with a much-needed cup of tea and we heard of the huge difference local volunteers can make in the lives of elderly people. The Link Visiting Scheme aims to befriend and support anyone who is isolated or lonely and who would benefit from receiving a regular visitor. The majority of those visited are older people, but there are no age restrictions applied. On one wall was an array of photographs of beaming older folk with their new friends. It was gratifying to hear that The Link has teamed up with Hurst Bowls Club who provide sessions for befriended and befrienders. I was left with the strong impression that running through the Link team is a strong cord of care and concern. And yet, like many small local groups, their services come at a cost, and so they have also turned to Localgiving to help them raise the funds to keep their services going. So many lives touched and changed Chris and I would like to thank all the groups we met for their warm hospitality, BCF’s Chief Executive Andrew Middleton for his encouragement and help in making this happen, and of course, to Dave Soper for his wisdom, wit and sheer enthusiasm.Our day ended with a trip back to Reading station and we reflected on what we’d seen with Dave, our host. So many lessons, so many initiatives, so many lives touched and changed. It’s clear to me that when it comes to voluntary organisations, normal rules and expectations do not necessarily apply. Volunteers will go above and beyond, but it will, in all likelihood, happen outside the normal 9 ‘til 5. We do well to remember that as we configure our services to support them.
    1588 Posted by Steve Mallinson
  • 13 Jul 2015
    You may have already heard mention of the Government's Local Sustainability Fund. Now that the details have been announced, it's worth summarising what it's all about and consider whether your charity is eligible to apply. The fund totals £20m and is intended for up to 250 organisations working in the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector - that's around £80k per group over two years. In the words of the Cabinet Office website: "The fund, which will be delivered by the Big Lottery Fund, will provide grants that will enable recipients to implement organisational changes and access professional advice that might currently be out of their reach. It will give VCSEs access to a wider range of skills and support, with all grant recipients establishing a strong volunteering relationship with a local business. These cross sector relationships will help grant recipients to strengthen their resilience and long term sustainability." Do I Qualify?  The Cabinet Office has issued this guidance: "Key eligibility requirements are that applicants: are medium sized with a turnover of between £100,000 and £1.5m have board approval have been established in some form for at least 5 years (this is for organisations facing challenges as a result of the downturn rather than newer orgs) are frontline organisations delivering services in England, providing services that directly and specifically benefit vulnerable or disadvantaged people. They do not limit the definition of vulnerable and disadvantaged people to a specific list of characteristics."  They also want to see that organisations are: facing funding and/or organisational challenges that present a serious risk to the continued delivery of their services in the longer-term; but, not at immediate risk of closure. Change takes time and applicants will need to be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient financial security to allow change to take place. What do I do if I qualify? The next thing you need to do is head over to the VCSE Sustainability Fund website and follow the instructions there: http://vcsediagnostic.org.uk/ If you want to apply you'll have to act quick: the first stage closes on the 26th July - so there's not much time. But if you do qualify, then this is certainly worth engaging with.  And if you don't qualify - don't worry - Localgiving will be running a series of campaigns and promotions through the year to help you and your charity reach out to secure more supporters and more donations. Keep your eyes peeled for more news...! UPDATE If you're thinking of applying, one of our groups has pointed out a couple of things about the VCSE Diagnostic website to be aware of: The Eligibility Checker indicated that a group wasn't eligible when in fact it was. The group was advised to continue with the application regardless. If you have doubts, it may be worth calling the BIG Advice Line on 0345 4 10 20 30. Please save your application as you go through the process. It is possible that, if you don't, your data may be lost at the end!      
    1425 Posted by Steve Mallinson
  • 01 Sep 2015
    Localgiving’s response to the case of Samuel Rae Today’s newspaper headlines make uncomfortable reading for all involved in the voluntary sector in the UK and will have serious implications for data protection practice for charities. Various media sources have reported that Mr Samuel Rae, who has dementia, lost £35,000 through scams after his details were passed on to third parties by charities he supported. As a membership organisation for local charities and community groups across the UK, Localgiving is deeply troubled by these findings and their potential implications. Firstly, we are appalled by what has happened to Mr Rae, his family and any other vulnerable people who may have had similar experiences.  We are particularly concerned by the suggestion that some of the charities implicated did not adhere to basic data protection laws or best practice. We are also concerned about the potential damage that this news may have on an already fragile charity sector. Supporters and their generosity are the lifeblood of Localgiving’s member groups. Their services, and indeed survival, are dependent on the thousands of individuals who give their time and money to these causes.  It is absolutely essential therefore that those who donate through our online giving platform can trust that the data they provide is fully protected. Our current practice Localgiving has procedures in place, intended to minimise the chance of any breaches or misuse of data. We do not provide any personal information to charities relating to donations unless we have specific and informed consent to do so (or where we are required to do so by applicable law). You can view our Privacy Policy here. Localgiving is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office in the United Kingdom which means our own processing and retention of personal information is governed by the Data Protection Act 1998. We are a member of the FRSB (Fundraising Standards Board) which allows us to remain in touch with fundraising standards that are relevant to our own charity members. Concerned donors Any donor who is  concerned or unsure about the  details they have shared with Localgiving when donating to a member group, can call our Help Desk on 0300 111 2340 or via email help@localgiving.com. We will update their  preferences, restricting the personal information accessible to the group they donated to. If donors wish to stop receiving communication from a member charity they have chosen to share  details with, we recommend that they contact the group directly. We believe that the general public needs to be made more aware of the procedure for lodging a complaint about charity behaviour, particularly around data protection and fundraising. Complaining to the FRSB is straightforward, and will enable appropriate  action to be taken to ensure that all charities  implement up-to-standard data control and fundraising practices. Moving forward In the light of this case, we understand that the industry standards will themselves come under scrutiny and may require tightening.  We will follow these discussions closely, participate where our input is relevant, and change our practice accordingly to ensure people donating through our platform will have the safest experience possible. As a membership organisation with a fundraising platform, we are looking at ways to ensure that all of our member organisations are fully aware of their own data protection responsibilities.   At present, we encourage our member charities to engage with donors who have opted to receive communications from them -  to thank them for their support and inform them about future activities.  In the light of today's news, we are compiling an information sheet on the subject of donor privacy for all of our member organisations that we will distribute shortly. Those who are involved in fundraising cannot afford to be complacent. We understand that, in order to maintain donor confidence both in Localgiving and our members, we must continue to observe best practice, while seeking improvements to our data protection measures wherever possible and appropriate.  If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  
    1162 Posted by Steve Mallinson
  • 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
    1146 Posted by Steve Mallinson
News & announcements 1,197 views Jun 18, 2015
Smart giving with Smartphones

The smartphone revolution arguably started with the launch of the iPhone, although to be fair, they’d been around for years. IBM’s Simon phone might claim to be the world’s first, hailing from as far back as 1992. It’s estimated that by 2016 there will be two billion smartphones in the world, making them one of the most widely adopted pieces of technology ever.

Enter Near Field Communications

NFC TagThe plethora of functions and applications available in today’s smartphones is mind-boggling, and I’m pretty sure that the majority of us only use a tiny fraction of their capacity. One feature that has crept into phones over the years almost unnoticed is Near Field Communications (NFC) – the ability for a phone to pass information between an NFC “tag” or terminal. This is the same technology used in modern credit cards that allows you to “tap to pay”. Although most new phones have some form of NFC functionality, including the iPhone6, the chances are you probably haven’t used it much. After all, what is it good for?

At Localgiving we’re keen to anticipate trends (technological and otherwise) so that we can understand how they can be harnessed to help local charities and community groups. And while NFC is currently comparatively unknown, we think there may be some interesting opportunities in the future.

Smart Buckets!

For example, if you’re a local charity, one of your funding strategies may be to collect cash from people in the street. We’re all used to seeing collectors in t-shirts with brightly coloured buckets, and it’s a straightforward way of raising money. But while it’s easy to do, cash collection comes with some big disadvantages – you’re unlikely to collect donor contact details and so will be unable to remain in touch with them, and Gift Aid claiming has historically been problematic, although the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) has helped a little. But fewer and fewer people carry cash with them, so while they may be willing, they can’t donate cash if they don’t have any. Can technology be deployed to overcome these issues?

NFC tagThis could be a job for NFC! Imagine if, alongside your collection bucket, you have an NFC tag, which, when tapped by a donor’s smartphone, opens up the donation page on the Localgiving website on their phone’s browser. It’s very quick (see the video), and within a few seconds a potential donor can be deciding on the amount to donate, making a Gift Aid claim, and even setting up a direct debit if they’re so inclined. As an adjunct to traditional cash collections, NFC could be very useful by increasing donations and widening the circle of supporters.  The NFC tag that is used to trigger the donation is unpowered, costs under £1 and can be easily programmed by any NFC-enabled smartphone. Not everyone will donate this way of course, and not everyone has NFC in their phone, but in time things will change and, if the industry trends are to be believed, most phones will eventually support NFC.

 

 

 

Want to try it?

Localgiving will be running a series of trials to establish whether the technology can be made to work in a practical way and we’re seeking volunteers. So if this sparks an interest, please get in touch with me via the Localgiving help line, or by email and I’ll be happy to explain more.