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  • 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!
    1982 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 1982
  • 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   
    2086 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 2086
  • 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!  
    2084 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 2084
  • 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
    1395 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 1395
  • 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  
    2268 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 2268
  • 20 Jun 2018
    Do the three lions have you purring with pride or are you primed for a month of watching paint dry?  Either way, football will be dominating the headlines until mid-July and your charity or community group should be making the most of the opportunities it brings. Whether you are looking to highlight serious human rights issues or simply making the most of the energy in the air – it’s worth taking the time to think about how the World Cup can be tied in with your cause or fundraising effort. 1) The sad reality is that many of the countries at this year’s World Cup suffer from serious human rights issues. For example, this year’s host, Russia, has seen as escalation in racism, homophobia and a crackdown on press freedoms in recent years. Leading human right groups have expressed fears that President Putin will use the World Cup to ‘sportswash’ Russia's image. The World Cup is a chance to show these issues the red card. Just a few social media posts can help bring these issues to the fore and encourage people in your community to get involved.  2) Every time there is a major sporting event there is a brief period in which we see a surge of kids out into the parks and playgrounds emulating their heroes.  Grassroots sports clubs should do their best to harness this energy and get these kids involved with their work long term. Why not set up a screening of a match, a mini world cup or penalty shoot out at your club and use it to distribute  information about your club, recruit new players or fundraise? 3) With a little thought, any charity or community group can find a way of using the World cup to promote their cause or help hit their fundraising goals. Whether you arrange a charity lunch of 'World Cup cuisines' or a 'wear your kit or colours' day – there are no end of possible ways you can turn this month’s football fever into a fundraising frenzy. We look forward to seeing the amazing ideas that your group come up with! When promoting your campaign or event on social media, remember to use one of the World Cup's official hastags ( #WorldCup, #Russia2018, #CM2018 or #Copa2018) and also include a hashtag relevent to your local area such as the name of your nearest city or town.  
    1655 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • Do the three lions have you purring with pride or are you primed for a month of watching paint dry?  Either way, football will be dominating the headlines until mid-July and your charity or community group should be making the most of the opportunities it brings. Whether you are looking to highlight serious human rights issues or simply making the most of the energy in the air – it’s worth taking the time to think about how the World Cup can be tied in with your cause or fundraising effort. 1) The sad reality is that many of the countries at this year’s World Cup suffer from serious human rights issues. For example, this year’s host, Russia, has seen as escalation in racism, homophobia and a crackdown on press freedoms in recent years. Leading human right groups have expressed fears that President Putin will use the World Cup to ‘sportswash’ Russia's image. The World Cup is a chance to show these issues the red card. Just a few social media posts can help bring these issues to the fore and encourage people in your community to get involved.  2) Every time there is a major sporting event there is a brief period in which we see a surge of kids out into the parks and playgrounds emulating their heroes.  Grassroots sports clubs should do their best to harness this energy and get these kids involved with their work long term. Why not set up a screening of a match, a mini world cup or penalty shoot out at your club and use it to distribute  information about your club, recruit new players or fundraise? 3) With a little thought, any charity or community group can find a way of using the World cup to promote their cause or help hit their fundraising goals. Whether you arrange a charity lunch of 'World Cup cuisines' or a 'wear your kit or colours' day – there are no end of possible ways you can turn this month’s football fever into a fundraising frenzy. We look forward to seeing the amazing ideas that your group come up with! When promoting your campaign or event on social media, remember to use one of the World Cup's official hastags ( #WorldCup, #Russia2018, #CM2018 or #Copa2018) and also include a hashtag relevent to your local area such as the name of your nearest city or town.  
    Jun 20, 2018 1655
  • 11 Jun 2018
    Alex Swallow is Director of Communications at Ethical Angel which seeks to transform the relationship between the private and non-profit sectors. He has a long history of working at and for charities including as the Founder of Young Charity Trustees. I wanted to add my thoughts to Localgiving’s excellent Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2018- specifically with reference to volunteering and how working with businesses might be able to help. I have three key points to make and will reference the research with respect to each. They are: Volunteering is always going to be a key part of the charity sector; charity staff at local charities are being forced to be ‘jacks of all trades’; and many local charities currently miss out on the ‘accumulator effect’ of learning new skills. Volunteering is key ‘Local charities and community groups are largely led by volunteers and reliant on their skills, time and passion. 59% of Chief Executives in the sector are volunteers, as are 65% of fundraising staff and 63% of finance staff. We estimate that the financial value of volunteers in the local voluntary sector lies between £7.5 and £10.5 billion per year.... 82% of groups with an annual income under 10k are run entirely by volunteers’ The Report, as many other pieces of research have before it, provides incontrovertible evidence that volunteers make a fundamental difference to the life of the charity sector in this country. The smallest charities rely entirely on them, the biggest charities couldn’t do without them either. Despite the fact that so many people volunteer for charities, there are still so many others who don’t think of it as an option. One way to empower such people is through employee volunteering- where their employer encourages their volunteering effort through time off work and other support. Jacks of all trades ‘Paid staff in the sector are often asked to juggle multiple roles from project management to marketing to admin’ I know from my own time working at a small charity how many things you can sometimes be expected to juggle. In my very first role, for example, I could legitimately answer a phone request for ‘the Fundraising/Development/Communications Departments’ with the honest answer ‘You are speaking to him’. By necessity and through hard work, many paid people who work for small charities do find ways to be jacks of all trades and masters of at least some. However, it can be tiring, demoralizing and plain inefficient for people to have to cope on their own with so many competing areas. This is where skilled volunteers come in. As well as helping with specific areas, thus freeing up the paid staff to do other things, they can train and familiarize the staff with new skills so that previously daunting areas of their work hold less fear for them. Which brings me to my next point... The accumulator effect ‘Year on year, local charities have cited skills gaps as a major barrier to engaging with new technologies and opportunities. As addressed in the Fundraising and Marketing chapter, 71% of groups feel they lack the skills to run a successful marketing campaign’ By the accumulator effect I mean that if you are able to take advantage of certain areas - for example new technologies- then your growth and your impact can be exponential. Conversely if you engage with such technologies later than your peers (in this case, other charities, competing for attention and resources) you are more likely to be left behind. This is a key area in which private businesses- who have the money to invest in the latest equipment and training, have a lot to offer. In many cases businesses are very keen to engage with and support good causes- there are many benefits to them doing so- as we have outlined here - and their customers are becoming ever more demanding about their social engagement with the wider world. If we can match these businesses up with good causes that need their skills it will have a real impact. So, what does this all mean? It is clear that local charities are facing enormous pressures and that something needs to be done. As the report says: ‘Fewer than half of the local organisations surveyed are confident that they will survive beyond 5 years’ Employee volunteering can provide a key way to help with this. Recommendation 8 of the report is that Inter and intra-sector collaboration should be encouraged: ‘Collaborations not only help local groups financially (resource pooling etc.) but can also open doors to wider networks, strategic alliances and help amplify their voice’ Let’s make that happen! To learn how Ethical Angel can help you get more business volunteers, take a look at our site here. 
    2860 Posted by Alex Swallow
  • Alex Swallow is Director of Communications at Ethical Angel which seeks to transform the relationship between the private and non-profit sectors. He has a long history of working at and for charities including as the Founder of Young Charity Trustees. I wanted to add my thoughts to Localgiving’s excellent Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2018- specifically with reference to volunteering and how working with businesses might be able to help. I have three key points to make and will reference the research with respect to each. They are: Volunteering is always going to be a key part of the charity sector; charity staff at local charities are being forced to be ‘jacks of all trades’; and many local charities currently miss out on the ‘accumulator effect’ of learning new skills. Volunteering is key ‘Local charities and community groups are largely led by volunteers and reliant on their skills, time and passion. 59% of Chief Executives in the sector are volunteers, as are 65% of fundraising staff and 63% of finance staff. We estimate that the financial value of volunteers in the local voluntary sector lies between £7.5 and £10.5 billion per year.... 82% of groups with an annual income under 10k are run entirely by volunteers’ The Report, as many other pieces of research have before it, provides incontrovertible evidence that volunteers make a fundamental difference to the life of the charity sector in this country. The smallest charities rely entirely on them, the biggest charities couldn’t do without them either. Despite the fact that so many people volunteer for charities, there are still so many others who don’t think of it as an option. One way to empower such people is through employee volunteering- where their employer encourages their volunteering effort through time off work and other support. Jacks of all trades ‘Paid staff in the sector are often asked to juggle multiple roles from project management to marketing to admin’ I know from my own time working at a small charity how many things you can sometimes be expected to juggle. In my very first role, for example, I could legitimately answer a phone request for ‘the Fundraising/Development/Communications Departments’ with the honest answer ‘You are speaking to him’. By necessity and through hard work, many paid people who work for small charities do find ways to be jacks of all trades and masters of at least some. However, it can be tiring, demoralizing and plain inefficient for people to have to cope on their own with so many competing areas. This is where skilled volunteers come in. As well as helping with specific areas, thus freeing up the paid staff to do other things, they can train and familiarize the staff with new skills so that previously daunting areas of their work hold less fear for them. Which brings me to my next point... The accumulator effect ‘Year on year, local charities have cited skills gaps as a major barrier to engaging with new technologies and opportunities. As addressed in the Fundraising and Marketing chapter, 71% of groups feel they lack the skills to run a successful marketing campaign’ By the accumulator effect I mean that if you are able to take advantage of certain areas - for example new technologies- then your growth and your impact can be exponential. Conversely if you engage with such technologies later than your peers (in this case, other charities, competing for attention and resources) you are more likely to be left behind. This is a key area in which private businesses- who have the money to invest in the latest equipment and training, have a lot to offer. In many cases businesses are very keen to engage with and support good causes- there are many benefits to them doing so- as we have outlined here - and their customers are becoming ever more demanding about their social engagement with the wider world. If we can match these businesses up with good causes that need their skills it will have a real impact. So, what does this all mean? It is clear that local charities are facing enormous pressures and that something needs to be done. As the report says: ‘Fewer than half of the local organisations surveyed are confident that they will survive beyond 5 years’ Employee volunteering can provide a key way to help with this. Recommendation 8 of the report is that Inter and intra-sector collaboration should be encouraged: ‘Collaborations not only help local groups financially (resource pooling etc.) but can also open doors to wider networks, strategic alliances and help amplify their voice’ Let’s make that happen! To learn how Ethical Angel can help you get more business volunteers, take a look at our site here. 
    Jun 11, 2018 2860
  • 08 May 2018
    As we are sure you are aware, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force on the 25th of May 2018. This will apply to all organisations that process and hold personal data of EU citizens residing in the European Union. Localgiving will be fully compliant with GDPR requirements by the 25th of May deadline. We will also ensure that the information you can access through your account is complaint. What is Localgiving doing? When a supporter donates to you, we currently ask them to opt-out if they do not wish to receive communications from us or Localgiving members. The consent wording on Localgiving.org is currently: “I do not wish to receive updates from the charity”. We will be changing this to an opt-in preference and seeking consent for all future communications from your supporters. We will also be removing all non-compliant data from your account and reports. What do you need to do with data obtained through Localgiving? Donor consent data collected by Localgiving before 25th May 2018 will not be GDPR compliant. All data you obtain, or have obtained through your Localgiving reports before 25th May 2018 must not be used after this date. You must seek fresh consent for all data collected through Localgiving reports before this date.We recommend that you login and download your Localgiving marketing reports as soon as possible. You should then contact your supporters before the 25th May 2018 and ask them to opt-in to your future communications. You will not be able to use this data to contact supporters after this date.Once you have downloaded this report, your charity is the data controller for this personal data and is solely responsible for compliance with GDPR. We strongly suggest conferring with your trustees/Data Protection Officer and other key stakeholders to decide your process for collecting this consent. We recommend that you: Login and download your Localgiving marketing reports today. This can be found within the My donations section, click on Reports within the menu on the left. Email all supporters whose data is included in these reports and ask them to opt in to your communications. After 25th May this data will no longer be accessible via Localgiving.     How to make sure your organisation is fully GDPR compliant?  Getting ready for GDPR is daunting. However, the fines for data breaches will be substantial and so, if you haven't already, it is essential you put your strategy in place now.The following guides provide the information you will need to ensure that you are GDPR compliant by 25th May 2018: ICO: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/charity/ NCVO: https://knowhownonprofit.org/how-to/how-to-prepare-for-gdpr-and-data-protection-reform IoF: https://secure.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/guidance/research/get-ready-for-gdpr/ FSI: http://www.thefsi.org/blog-post/gdpr-what-small-charities-can-do-now/  
  • As we are sure you are aware, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force on the 25th of May 2018. This will apply to all organisations that process and hold personal data of EU citizens residing in the European Union. Localgiving will be fully compliant with GDPR requirements by the 25th of May deadline. We will also ensure that the information you can access through your account is complaint. What is Localgiving doing? When a supporter donates to you, we currently ask them to opt-out if they do not wish to receive communications from us or Localgiving members. The consent wording on Localgiving.org is currently: “I do not wish to receive updates from the charity”. We will be changing this to an opt-in preference and seeking consent for all future communications from your supporters. We will also be removing all non-compliant data from your account and reports. What do you need to do with data obtained through Localgiving? Donor consent data collected by Localgiving before 25th May 2018 will not be GDPR compliant. All data you obtain, or have obtained through your Localgiving reports before 25th May 2018 must not be used after this date. You must seek fresh consent for all data collected through Localgiving reports before this date.We recommend that you login and download your Localgiving marketing reports as soon as possible. You should then contact your supporters before the 25th May 2018 and ask them to opt-in to your future communications. You will not be able to use this data to contact supporters after this date.Once you have downloaded this report, your charity is the data controller for this personal data and is solely responsible for compliance with GDPR. We strongly suggest conferring with your trustees/Data Protection Officer and other key stakeholders to decide your process for collecting this consent. We recommend that you: Login and download your Localgiving marketing reports today. This can be found within the My donations section, click on Reports within the menu on the left. Email all supporters whose data is included in these reports and ask them to opt in to your communications. After 25th May this data will no longer be accessible via Localgiving.     How to make sure your organisation is fully GDPR compliant?  Getting ready for GDPR is daunting. However, the fines for data breaches will be substantial and so, if you haven't already, it is essential you put your strategy in place now.The following guides provide the information you will need to ensure that you are GDPR compliant by 25th May 2018: ICO: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/charity/ NCVO: https://knowhownonprofit.org/how-to/how-to-prepare-for-gdpr-and-data-protection-reform IoF: https://secure.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/guidance/research/get-ready-for-gdpr/ FSI: http://www.thefsi.org/blog-post/gdpr-what-small-charities-can-do-now/  
    May 08, 2018 1898
  • 16 Apr 2018
    These days there are growing ways to give to charity that needn’t involve sticking your hand in your pocket. Look at it another way: there’s growing number of opportunities for charities to galvanise their supporters and raise cash without actually having to ask individuals for any more of theirs. It’s called ‘Zero Cost Giving’ to coin a phrase. So long as there is no additional cost to the individual - and there’s little effort involved - these are all easy consumer choices to make. A great example is For Good Causes which encourages members of the public to donate unspent loyalty rewards – which it has calculated are worth £7 billion – to any of the 12,000 charities signed up to the Charities Trust. Give As You Live is another. It pays a commission from any purchases made among 4,200 participating retailers and claims to have raised nearly £10 million among the 10,000 charities involved. Likewise, Amazon Smile is just getting going in the UK but pledges to donate 0.5% of its transactions and has over 2,000 charities already in line to benefit. Registration for these initiatives is free but does require a Charity Commission number and that can put smaller charities at a disadvantage. However, there is an alternative solution for both registered and unregistered charities. And, better still, it allows Joe Public to benefit financially from the choices they’re being encouraged to make - as well as the charity. A ‘Collective Energy Switch’ is unique in that it gives something back to a charity’s supporters (by cutting a fifth off their energy bills) whilst turning the commission - that would normally be pocketed by a price comparison website for doing roughly the same thing - into a donation. It can work for organisations of any size - whether a not-for-profit, charity or Community Amateur Sports Club… indeed having a strong local community presence is often better than having a formal structure. If you’ve never heard of them, Collective Energy Switches are a great way to get a group of people onto a cheaper tariff in one go, combining the buying power of the participants without everyone having to shop around themselves. The best known example is probably Martin Lewis’s Cheap Energy Club – the success of which was the main reason behind British Gas having to admit that it lost 650,000 customers in the third quarter of last year alone. So now charities - registered or not - can pool willing supporters into a Collective Energy Switch and receive £15 per household who take up the resulting cheap offer. Back of the Sofa does this through a partnership with iChoosr: a well-established collective switch organiser, running three ‘auctions’ a year among energy suppliers. Around 75,000 households take part in each one and - last time round - the winning tariff was £245 cheaper than the average annual ‘Big 6’ standard variable tariff of £1,149. Charities are able to pick and choose how regularly they participate. Offering a Collective Energy Switch opportunity to supporters once yearly, for example, means everyone has the opportunity to move on to another cheap deal as soon as the first one expires, not to mention guaranteeing a regular source of income for the charity. All the charity has to do is put a registration page under the noses of its supporters (ie via email or social media) and let common sense prevail. Those wishing to join the next one have until 22th May to apply for a registration page and garner their support. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    5 tips to avoid having your Google Grants account deactivated Back of the Sofa’s Alternative Guide to the Tax Year End  
    2860 Posted by Nick Heath
  • These days there are growing ways to give to charity that needn’t involve sticking your hand in your pocket. Look at it another way: there’s growing number of opportunities for charities to galvanise their supporters and raise cash without actually having to ask individuals for any more of theirs. It’s called ‘Zero Cost Giving’ to coin a phrase. So long as there is no additional cost to the individual - and there’s little effort involved - these are all easy consumer choices to make. A great example is For Good Causes which encourages members of the public to donate unspent loyalty rewards – which it has calculated are worth £7 billion – to any of the 12,000 charities signed up to the Charities Trust. Give As You Live is another. It pays a commission from any purchases made among 4,200 participating retailers and claims to have raised nearly £10 million among the 10,000 charities involved. Likewise, Amazon Smile is just getting going in the UK but pledges to donate 0.5% of its transactions and has over 2,000 charities already in line to benefit. Registration for these initiatives is free but does require a Charity Commission number and that can put smaller charities at a disadvantage. However, there is an alternative solution for both registered and unregistered charities. And, better still, it allows Joe Public to benefit financially from the choices they’re being encouraged to make - as well as the charity. A ‘Collective Energy Switch’ is unique in that it gives something back to a charity’s supporters (by cutting a fifth off their energy bills) whilst turning the commission - that would normally be pocketed by a price comparison website for doing roughly the same thing - into a donation. It can work for organisations of any size - whether a not-for-profit, charity or Community Amateur Sports Club… indeed having a strong local community presence is often better than having a formal structure. If you’ve never heard of them, Collective Energy Switches are a great way to get a group of people onto a cheaper tariff in one go, combining the buying power of the participants without everyone having to shop around themselves. The best known example is probably Martin Lewis’s Cheap Energy Club – the success of which was the main reason behind British Gas having to admit that it lost 650,000 customers in the third quarter of last year alone. So now charities - registered or not - can pool willing supporters into a Collective Energy Switch and receive £15 per household who take up the resulting cheap offer. Back of the Sofa does this through a partnership with iChoosr: a well-established collective switch organiser, running three ‘auctions’ a year among energy suppliers. Around 75,000 households take part in each one and - last time round - the winning tariff was £245 cheaper than the average annual ‘Big 6’ standard variable tariff of £1,149. Charities are able to pick and choose how regularly they participate. Offering a Collective Energy Switch opportunity to supporters once yearly, for example, means everyone has the opportunity to move on to another cheap deal as soon as the first one expires, not to mention guaranteeing a regular source of income for the charity. All the charity has to do is put a registration page under the noses of its supporters (ie via email or social media) and let common sense prevail. Those wishing to join the next one have until 22th May to apply for a registration page and garner their support. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    5 tips to avoid having your Google Grants account deactivated Back of the Sofa’s Alternative Guide to the Tax Year End  
    Apr 16, 2018 2860
  • 04 Apr 2018
    The Google Grants programme is an incredible free resource for charities. Many charities use the free advertising spend (which equates to around £85,000 per year) to drive website traffic, help raise awareness of their organisations and also to reach new audiences online. However several updates were recently announced to the Google Grants program policies, these changes could have a huge impact on charities access to the funding. Google has stated that ‘any account found in violation of (the updated) programme policies is subject to automatic suspension without notification.’ The following checklist can be used by Google Grants account managers, to understand what changes may need to be made to avoid account deactivation. We hope you find this checklist useful to check the current health of your Adwords account! 1) Remove single keywords from current accounts Make sure there are no single keywords in your account like ‘donate’. Expand these to be more specific such as ‘donate to an animal charity’. Google wants accounts to target highly related terms, which are specific to your charity. 2) Remove low performing keywords Google wants all accounts to have an account level click through rate (CTR) of 5% or above. This means low performing keywords need to go, as they will be driving down your account level click through rate and not providing good value. When logged into AdWords go to ‘Ads & keywords’ to view all current keywords and then sort by CTR. Once done, you can see your keywords ordered by CTR and remove or pause terms which have a CTR of lower than 5%. Also remove keywords with a quality score of 2 or lower. 3) Focus on branded terms Make sure there are branded keywords in your AdWords account, as this will drive up your account wide CTR level. This will also help to push down competitors ads in paid search, who may be bidding on your brand or organisation name. 4) Add location targeting Make sure your ads target your relevant location or locations. This can be set to United Kingdom and doesn’t need to be more specific than that. Setting geo targeting will be a great way to improve the relevance of your account and will ensure ads are only shown to your target audience. 5) Minimum 2x Ad Groups and 2x sitelink extensions Check that you have the minimum required 2x ad groups and 2x sitelink extensions in your account. It is advisable to have ad groups organised by keyword theme, as this will increase the relevance and authority of your Google Grants account. We hope that Google Grants account managers can use these 5 tips to double check compliance with the new policy terms and also to help improve their Google Adwords account setup. --- Luke is one of the co-founders of Add10, a fresh new digital marketing and branding agency, which works with charities and nonprofits of all sizes.Luke has been lucky enough to have worked with a lot of inspiring charitable organisations, and hopes to work with more in the future to help raise money for great causes!  Was this blog useful? You may also like: Back of the Sofa’s Alternative Guide to the Tax Year End  
    1868 Posted by Luke Masters
  • The Google Grants programme is an incredible free resource for charities. Many charities use the free advertising spend (which equates to around £85,000 per year) to drive website traffic, help raise awareness of their organisations and also to reach new audiences online. However several updates were recently announced to the Google Grants program policies, these changes could have a huge impact on charities access to the funding. Google has stated that ‘any account found in violation of (the updated) programme policies is subject to automatic suspension without notification.’ The following checklist can be used by Google Grants account managers, to understand what changes may need to be made to avoid account deactivation. We hope you find this checklist useful to check the current health of your Adwords account! 1) Remove single keywords from current accounts Make sure there are no single keywords in your account like ‘donate’. Expand these to be more specific such as ‘donate to an animal charity’. Google wants accounts to target highly related terms, which are specific to your charity. 2) Remove low performing keywords Google wants all accounts to have an account level click through rate (CTR) of 5% or above. This means low performing keywords need to go, as they will be driving down your account level click through rate and not providing good value. When logged into AdWords go to ‘Ads & keywords’ to view all current keywords and then sort by CTR. Once done, you can see your keywords ordered by CTR and remove or pause terms which have a CTR of lower than 5%. Also remove keywords with a quality score of 2 or lower. 3) Focus on branded terms Make sure there are branded keywords in your AdWords account, as this will drive up your account wide CTR level. This will also help to push down competitors ads in paid search, who may be bidding on your brand or organisation name. 4) Add location targeting Make sure your ads target your relevant location or locations. This can be set to United Kingdom and doesn’t need to be more specific than that. Setting geo targeting will be a great way to improve the relevance of your account and will ensure ads are only shown to your target audience. 5) Minimum 2x Ad Groups and 2x sitelink extensions Check that you have the minimum required 2x ad groups and 2x sitelink extensions in your account. It is advisable to have ad groups organised by keyword theme, as this will increase the relevance and authority of your Google Grants account. We hope that Google Grants account managers can use these 5 tips to double check compliance with the new policy terms and also to help improve their Google Adwords account setup. --- Luke is one of the co-founders of Add10, a fresh new digital marketing and branding agency, which works with charities and nonprofits of all sizes.Luke has been lucky enough to have worked with a lot of inspiring charitable organisations, and hopes to work with more in the future to help raise money for great causes!  Was this blog useful? You may also like: Back of the Sofa’s Alternative Guide to the Tax Year End  
    Apr 04, 2018 1868