View By Date

Tags

Statistics

  • 277
    Blogs
  • 97
    Active Bloggers
109 blogs
  • 02 Feb 2017
    Hello! I’m Rod, and I make music as Bright Light Bright Light. I’m a very independent (until last October, totally independent) musician, so I know how hard people are working to run charities from grassroots levels, which is why I am so thrilled to be a Localgiving ambassador. I recently set up my own fundraising page to raise money for Pride Cymru, and it was very easy to do so! Here’s how: 1) Choose a charity that means a lot to you. I grew up in the South Wales valleys as a gay man, and in places further from towns, that can be a very scary and overwhelming experience. I think Pride Cymru do excellent, year round, work to provide support for LGBTQ people, and I want to help them to keep that excellent work going, providing essential support and awareness for people. 2) Pick a challenge you'll enjoy I love running, and I have a single coming out called ‘Running Back To You’, so I thought it would fit together nicely to set up a running challenge. Not everyone can find time to be free when official races happen, and not everyone can raise the amount needed to enter, so setting up a smaller target, or fundraising for a charity closer to your heart, can be a good way to make a difference. 3) Set up you Localgiving fundraiser page Setting up the page was so easy. It took less than 5 minutes (depending on your typing speed!) I simply did it on the Localgiving page via this link : it’s painless! 4) Raising funds means raising awareness Depending on your fundraising target, you can be less or more pushy about raising awareness of the event. Social media is perfect to share what you’re doing, especially with friends or family on Facebook. They can share and re-post to their friends and family, and you can make it almost a team effort very easily. For me, I also used my artist social media like my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts. 5) Become a Local Hero Signing up before April also means that Localgiving will include you as a “Local Hero”. I love the way that they treat their charities, and their fundraisers, as without everyone making the effort, the whole thing wouldn’t work. Be a local hero, and help out a cause that you care about with their network of lovely people who can guide you through the process. In this video Rod discusses why he become a Localgiving ambassador    
    2926 Posted by Rod Thomas
  • Hello! I’m Rod, and I make music as Bright Light Bright Light. I’m a very independent (until last October, totally independent) musician, so I know how hard people are working to run charities from grassroots levels, which is why I am so thrilled to be a Localgiving ambassador. I recently set up my own fundraising page to raise money for Pride Cymru, and it was very easy to do so! Here’s how: 1) Choose a charity that means a lot to you. I grew up in the South Wales valleys as a gay man, and in places further from towns, that can be a very scary and overwhelming experience. I think Pride Cymru do excellent, year round, work to provide support for LGBTQ people, and I want to help them to keep that excellent work going, providing essential support and awareness for people. 2) Pick a challenge you'll enjoy I love running, and I have a single coming out called ‘Running Back To You’, so I thought it would fit together nicely to set up a running challenge. Not everyone can find time to be free when official races happen, and not everyone can raise the amount needed to enter, so setting up a smaller target, or fundraising for a charity closer to your heart, can be a good way to make a difference. 3) Set up you Localgiving fundraiser page Setting up the page was so easy. It took less than 5 minutes (depending on your typing speed!) I simply did it on the Localgiving page via this link : it’s painless! 4) Raising funds means raising awareness Depending on your fundraising target, you can be less or more pushy about raising awareness of the event. Social media is perfect to share what you’re doing, especially with friends or family on Facebook. They can share and re-post to their friends and family, and you can make it almost a team effort very easily. For me, I also used my artist social media like my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts. 5) Become a Local Hero Signing up before April also means that Localgiving will include you as a “Local Hero”. I love the way that they treat their charities, and their fundraisers, as without everyone making the effort, the whole thing wouldn’t work. Be a local hero, and help out a cause that you care about with their network of lovely people who can guide you through the process. In this video Rod discusses why he become a Localgiving ambassador    
    Feb 02, 2017 2926
  • 02 Feb 2017
    In this blog I look at developing ideas and strategies around a new fundraising campaign. We also have numerous resources and blogs on delivering campaigns which you can view here.  First steps Before starting any successful fundraising campaign it is always worth thinking about what will work best for your charity. Whether it is developing an existing campaign idea, or starting from scratch with a new strategy, thinking about how your charity can play to your strengths is key. The first step should be looking at your charity’s mission as well as what interests your supporters in your work. The key to any well-run campaign is linking these two things together. Designing a campaign Deciding on what your campaign's ‘mission’  is and why it will appeal to supporters should be your first step. Question yourself on issues like: What does your charity seek to address? How can you communicate that message? Is it a niche issue you deal with or do you have a large basis of public support? What could you do with this many people's support? Would it be helpful to hold an event? How could you link in other organisations and what could they bring to the table? How can you use your Localgiving page to promote what your organisation does? Why is it that you need funding to support you charity's work in the first place? You need to build a campaign around a compelling reason to fundraise. For example, a charity dealing with youth activities can draw attention to the impact you have on kids lives by getting the children and their parents to take part in the campaign. Once you have thought about your charity’s appeal you should also try to shape a campaign that plays to your strengths. For example, a sports clubs should focus on fundraising challenges that appeal to their large network of members, while a small arts groups could be creative and think of a community project that will capture people's attention. A charity dealing with a societal problem like homelessness should seek to raise awareness of their work in the wider community, while an after school children's club could focus on appealing to the people connected to the children attending. An appeal or fundraising challenge should focus on who it is that’s interested in your charity. Engaging them with a campaign that is tailored to their interests is what leads to donations. Targeting donations Once you have an idea of what kind of campaign would interest your supporters start thinking about how to get them to actually make a donation. Questions like: What would capture the interest of people who care but are are unaware of the specifics of what you do? Have you had a responsive supporter base in the past? Is there a need to raise awareness of your reason for fundraising first or is asking previous donors more important? Can your supporters help you promote the campaign online and with their networks? What sort of skills or networks do your volunteers/supporters bring to your fundraising project? Would engaged volunteers consider becoming fundraisers themselves? Once you have a better picture of how your supporters would respond to a campaign launch its time to link this in with your mission. For example, a sports club should appeal to their member base by getting their members to do a  physical challenge (like a 5k run in the local park) while a community arts group should capitalize on their supporters interest in local creative projects by doing something creative (like painting an issue raising mural in a local space). Groups with large networks of supporters could ask that everyone contribute a small amount to reach your collective target, while charities that deal with an important but niche issue could ask for larger donations from the select people who really care. ‘Targeting’ donors is simply thinking about the smartest way to go about reaching your fundraising target with your charity’s supporters in mind. Taking advantage of opportunities and putting the idea into action Once you have put the finer details of your fundraising campaign idea together it's always worth having a think about what kind of things your group has at its disposal to take advantage of. Do you have board members or trustees that can help out? What skills and networks do they have? Could you tie the campaign in with an anniversary or an event that is already coming up? Can you highlight an award your charity has won or some other significant achievement? It’s also worth thinking of media attention you can get for your campaign by linking it in with current news stories. Awareness campaigns  (e.g. ‘Mental Health Week’, ‘Black History Month’, ‘National Day of Action for the Homeless’) can be good events to link in with. Every charity has aspects that make you unique. The way to maximize your outreach is to tap into this and use it to promote your campaign. Once you have your campaign strategy you can begin putting your plan into action Remember - Localgiving has a fundraiser campaign coming up in April, Local Hero. Find out more here and best of luck fundraising! Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2016 Wise Words from Alistair Sill: Local Hero Champion 2016 Bright Lightx2 gives his Top Tips on Running for Fun and Funds!
    2486 Posted by Conor Kelly
  • In this blog I look at developing ideas and strategies around a new fundraising campaign. We also have numerous resources and blogs on delivering campaigns which you can view here.  First steps Before starting any successful fundraising campaign it is always worth thinking about what will work best for your charity. Whether it is developing an existing campaign idea, or starting from scratch with a new strategy, thinking about how your charity can play to your strengths is key. The first step should be looking at your charity’s mission as well as what interests your supporters in your work. The key to any well-run campaign is linking these two things together. Designing a campaign Deciding on what your campaign's ‘mission’  is and why it will appeal to supporters should be your first step. Question yourself on issues like: What does your charity seek to address? How can you communicate that message? Is it a niche issue you deal with or do you have a large basis of public support? What could you do with this many people's support? Would it be helpful to hold an event? How could you link in other organisations and what could they bring to the table? How can you use your Localgiving page to promote what your organisation does? Why is it that you need funding to support you charity's work in the first place? You need to build a campaign around a compelling reason to fundraise. For example, a charity dealing with youth activities can draw attention to the impact you have on kids lives by getting the children and their parents to take part in the campaign. Once you have thought about your charity’s appeal you should also try to shape a campaign that plays to your strengths. For example, a sports clubs should focus on fundraising challenges that appeal to their large network of members, while a small arts groups could be creative and think of a community project that will capture people's attention. A charity dealing with a societal problem like homelessness should seek to raise awareness of their work in the wider community, while an after school children's club could focus on appealing to the people connected to the children attending. An appeal or fundraising challenge should focus on who it is that’s interested in your charity. Engaging them with a campaign that is tailored to their interests is what leads to donations. Targeting donations Once you have an idea of what kind of campaign would interest your supporters start thinking about how to get them to actually make a donation. Questions like: What would capture the interest of people who care but are are unaware of the specifics of what you do? Have you had a responsive supporter base in the past? Is there a need to raise awareness of your reason for fundraising first or is asking previous donors more important? Can your supporters help you promote the campaign online and with their networks? What sort of skills or networks do your volunteers/supporters bring to your fundraising project? Would engaged volunteers consider becoming fundraisers themselves? Once you have a better picture of how your supporters would respond to a campaign launch its time to link this in with your mission. For example, a sports club should appeal to their member base by getting their members to do a  physical challenge (like a 5k run in the local park) while a community arts group should capitalize on their supporters interest in local creative projects by doing something creative (like painting an issue raising mural in a local space). Groups with large networks of supporters could ask that everyone contribute a small amount to reach your collective target, while charities that deal with an important but niche issue could ask for larger donations from the select people who really care. ‘Targeting’ donors is simply thinking about the smartest way to go about reaching your fundraising target with your charity’s supporters in mind. Taking advantage of opportunities and putting the idea into action Once you have put the finer details of your fundraising campaign idea together it's always worth having a think about what kind of things your group has at its disposal to take advantage of. Do you have board members or trustees that can help out? What skills and networks do they have? Could you tie the campaign in with an anniversary or an event that is already coming up? Can you highlight an award your charity has won or some other significant achievement? It’s also worth thinking of media attention you can get for your campaign by linking it in with current news stories. Awareness campaigns  (e.g. ‘Mental Health Week’, ‘Black History Month’, ‘National Day of Action for the Homeless’) can be good events to link in with. Every charity has aspects that make you unique. The way to maximize your outreach is to tap into this and use it to promote your campaign. Once you have your campaign strategy you can begin putting your plan into action Remember - Localgiving has a fundraiser campaign coming up in April, Local Hero. Find out more here and best of luck fundraising! Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2016 Wise Words from Alistair Sill: Local Hero Champion 2016 Bright Lightx2 gives his Top Tips on Running for Fun and Funds!
    Feb 02, 2017 2486
  • 12 Jan 2017
    Social media is currently the number one reason people use the Internet, according to a study from Pew Research. It dominates online activity, and chances are your charity is already using it. Compelling social media content comes in many different forms. There is no secret formula to creating great content, it doesn’t need to take up a lot of time, go viral, or be professionally produced in order to be successful. Engagement is the key, and paying more to create content won’t necessarily bring success. What really matters is how the people you want to reach engage with the content you post. These top tips will help your organisation think about creating content that actively engages the people that matter most to you, whether that’s beneficiaries, volunteers, donors, staff or others, no matter your size or budget. 1. You don’t need a massive budget Many charities will tell you that they don’t have enough time or resources to accomplish everything that they’d like on social. Think of social media as a platform for storytelling. As a charitable organisation, you are already surrounded by great original content material, from articles on your website, volunteers in action, or the stories of people or communities you have helped. There are many ways you can re-purpose this content for your social media channels. Creating a posting plan can help you get started and feel more in control, but it doesn’t have to be perfect right away. Try things out, take note of what works for your audience, and tweak your content as you go along. For further guidance and examples of good practice on this, check out our free guide ‘What’s Data Got To Do With It’. 2. It’s not all about numbers When it comes to your content, quality reigns over quantity. Engaging with a handful of relevant, switched-on people will give greater results than simply reaching as many people as possible. It sounds obvious, but be social, connect with and reach out to your closest supporters in a similar way to how you would focus your personal time on close friends. The more you engage with your target audience, the more people will respond to your content, and engage others to do the same. By using material unique to your organisation, such as sharing a short video of someone your charity has helped, you are creating authentic, high quality content that will bring people closer to your cause. 3. Make your content fun Don’t be afraid to find the light in tough subject matter. Fun and inspiring content can go a long way to engage your audience. Get creative, try out something new, and give any and all ideas a chance. Taco Bell does this really well, and we have previously written about what your charity can learn from them. For successful image and video content, authenticity and storytelling produce the highest engagement. You can easily incorporate this into your social media by telling your audience about something that has happened as a result of your organisation, such as a successful fundraising event, though a photo or video that you have created yourself. A smartphone can provide you with all the tools to create fresh, engaging images and videos for your social media channels. Simply taking a photo of a volunteer in action can be compelling content for the right audience. For more tips on creating great content for your organisation take a look at our free guide ‘Something To Tweet About’. Hannah is the Junior Communications and Social Media Advisor at Social Misfits Media, specialising in helping charities, foundations and non-profits better use social media to reach their goals. Follow Hannah and Social Misfits Media @HannahDonald20 and @MisfitsMedia. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    The Value of online Fundraising: More than just donations Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2016 What Makes Local Charities Unique?     Image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/lg-smartphone-instagram-social-media-35177/
    7847 Posted by Hannah Donald
  • Social media is currently the number one reason people use the Internet, according to a study from Pew Research. It dominates online activity, and chances are your charity is already using it. Compelling social media content comes in many different forms. There is no secret formula to creating great content, it doesn’t need to take up a lot of time, go viral, or be professionally produced in order to be successful. Engagement is the key, and paying more to create content won’t necessarily bring success. What really matters is how the people you want to reach engage with the content you post. These top tips will help your organisation think about creating content that actively engages the people that matter most to you, whether that’s beneficiaries, volunteers, donors, staff or others, no matter your size or budget. 1. You don’t need a massive budget Many charities will tell you that they don’t have enough time or resources to accomplish everything that they’d like on social. Think of social media as a platform for storytelling. As a charitable organisation, you are already surrounded by great original content material, from articles on your website, volunteers in action, or the stories of people or communities you have helped. There are many ways you can re-purpose this content for your social media channels. Creating a posting plan can help you get started and feel more in control, but it doesn’t have to be perfect right away. Try things out, take note of what works for your audience, and tweak your content as you go along. For further guidance and examples of good practice on this, check out our free guide ‘What’s Data Got To Do With It’. 2. It’s not all about numbers When it comes to your content, quality reigns over quantity. Engaging with a handful of relevant, switched-on people will give greater results than simply reaching as many people as possible. It sounds obvious, but be social, connect with and reach out to your closest supporters in a similar way to how you would focus your personal time on close friends. The more you engage with your target audience, the more people will respond to your content, and engage others to do the same. By using material unique to your organisation, such as sharing a short video of someone your charity has helped, you are creating authentic, high quality content that will bring people closer to your cause. 3. Make your content fun Don’t be afraid to find the light in tough subject matter. Fun and inspiring content can go a long way to engage your audience. Get creative, try out something new, and give any and all ideas a chance. Taco Bell does this really well, and we have previously written about what your charity can learn from them. For successful image and video content, authenticity and storytelling produce the highest engagement. You can easily incorporate this into your social media by telling your audience about something that has happened as a result of your organisation, such as a successful fundraising event, though a photo or video that you have created yourself. A smartphone can provide you with all the tools to create fresh, engaging images and videos for your social media channels. Simply taking a photo of a volunteer in action can be compelling content for the right audience. For more tips on creating great content for your organisation take a look at our free guide ‘Something To Tweet About’. Hannah is the Junior Communications and Social Media Advisor at Social Misfits Media, specialising in helping charities, foundations and non-profits better use social media to reach their goals. Follow Hannah and Social Misfits Media @HannahDonald20 and @MisfitsMedia. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    The Value of online Fundraising: More than just donations Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2016 What Makes Local Charities Unique?     Image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/lg-smartphone-instagram-social-media-35177/
    Jan 12, 2017 7847
  • 06 Jan 2017
    We spoke to our very own Emma Rawlingson (Programmes Manager at Localgiving), Localgiving member Hannah Rowan (Project Manager at West Rhyl Young People’s Project), Mike Lewis (Grant Manager Wales at Lloyds Bank Foundation) and Neil Pringle (Fund Manager at Gwynt y Môr Community Fund) to get four different perspectives on digital fundraising. 1) A source of unrestricted income that can be hard to find elsewhere Raising money for a charity online has the obvious and instant benefit of swelling the coffers - but it’s not a quick fix. It takes a little time and effort to get digital fundraising right. “Online fundraising can be difficult for ultra local organisations, especially those that lack time and resources. Add financial pressures into the mix and it can lead groups to focus heavily on grant funding,” explained Emma Rawlingson , Programmes Manager at Localgiving. That effort to make digital fundraising work pays dividends, though. “However, online fundraising provides an easy, quick and secure way for groups to raise additional, unrestricted funding - the type of funding that can be difficult to secure through grants,” Emma said. 2) A way to take control of your financial future Digital fundraising isn’t a panacea for all our funding worries - but neither are grants. In a persistently challenging economic climate, it’s important for charities to have multiple income streams. Think of fundraising, grants, and other sources of money as jigsaw pieces that, when joined, form a wider plan for how a charity generates its income. “With the current funding climate placing significant pressure on charities, we know it’s important that organisations have a mix of ways to raise money,” said Mike Lewis, Grant Manager Wales at Lloyds Bank Foundation. It’s tough out there! Our 2016 Local Charity and Community Groups Sustainability Report found that 76% of groups surveyed highlighted "competition for grants and contracts" as a financial concern. Relying on a single income source is risky, and a boost from online donations can bring some welcome breathing space when things get a bit tight. 3) A route to new supporters, partners and beneficiaries To succeed at online fundraising, a charity must first reach out to people, develop relationships and build trust - and when they do that, they get more than donations in return. “Fundraising and digital fundraising in particular is an important way charities can reach out to and engage supporters in a cost effective way so they are better placed to help the disadvantaged people they work with,” Mike added. West Rhyl Young People’s Project (WRYPP) is testament to this. They’ve received support through Localgiving’s Big Lottery funded Wales Development Programme to set up a donations page, develop new marketing materials and tap into new audiences. “Since joining Localgiving, we’re more active online and we’re enjoying an increased profile locally. Because of that, we’ve been able to connect with supporters we didn’t know we had,” explained Hannah Rowan, Project Manager at West Rhyl Young People’s Project. WRYPP has used the money raised on Localgiving so far to reach and support more young people. “With our LGBT project Viva, we have grants to work in some counties, but not others. Donations through Localgiving have helped us meet the costs of travelling to support young people in need right across North Wales, in areas not covered by our funded projects,” Hannah said. At Localgiving, we’re passionate about helping local charities like WRYPP feel empowered to take advantage of the opportunities presented by digital, and to use the tools available to get the recognition their cause deserves. It’s a passion shared by Lloyds Bank Foundation. “As a Foundation we are keen to support charities develop their digital capacity and we can fund marketing and communications consultants, website and social media developments through our grant programmes,” Mike added. 4) A method for demonstrating commitment to a project or idea We’ve established that it’s important to think of fundraising and grants as separate pieces in a larger income generation puzzle. But when the time does come to apply for a grant, don’t discount the value of your charity’s digital activities and online fundraising efforts. “Demonstrating a contribution to a project, like donations raised through online fundraising, sends a strong message to a funder that the applicant is committed,” explained Neil Pringle, Fund Manager at Gwynt y Môr Community Fund. If a charity can independently raise even a small percentage of the project cost, they can then ask for a bit less from a grant funder. That means the funder’s pot goes further, enabling them to support even more projects. Perhaps more importantly, it’s a way to show grant funders that theirs is an idea local people are genuinely interested in. “Building buy-in, and raising awareness and funds through an online campaign says to a potential funder ‘everyone is involved’. It shows that the project has credibility in the local community, and people want it to happen," Neil added. Not only will online fundraising help your charity raise some extra cash (that you can spend on the things your charity really needs), it could also help you to become more financially sustainable, expose you to new supporters and opportunities, and give you an edge during a competitive grant application process. The Wales Development Programme Thanks to our Wales Development Programme, kindly funded and supported by Big Lottery Fund Wales, West Rhyl Young People’s Project is benefitting from: Free membership of Localgiving for 12 months; £200 of match funding for donations received online, and; Face to face support to develop practical online fundraising experience. If you represent a local Third Sector Organisation in Wales and would like to take part in the Wales Development Programme, head to join.localgiving.org/wales and register your interest today! Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2016 What Makes Local Charities Unique? Open University Launches New Voluntary Sector Courses  
    5544 Posted by Emma Jones
  • We spoke to our very own Emma Rawlingson (Programmes Manager at Localgiving), Localgiving member Hannah Rowan (Project Manager at West Rhyl Young People’s Project), Mike Lewis (Grant Manager Wales at Lloyds Bank Foundation) and Neil Pringle (Fund Manager at Gwynt y Môr Community Fund) to get four different perspectives on digital fundraising. 1) A source of unrestricted income that can be hard to find elsewhere Raising money for a charity online has the obvious and instant benefit of swelling the coffers - but it’s not a quick fix. It takes a little time and effort to get digital fundraising right. “Online fundraising can be difficult for ultra local organisations, especially those that lack time and resources. Add financial pressures into the mix and it can lead groups to focus heavily on grant funding,” explained Emma Rawlingson , Programmes Manager at Localgiving. That effort to make digital fundraising work pays dividends, though. “However, online fundraising provides an easy, quick and secure way for groups to raise additional, unrestricted funding - the type of funding that can be difficult to secure through grants,” Emma said. 2) A way to take control of your financial future Digital fundraising isn’t a panacea for all our funding worries - but neither are grants. In a persistently challenging economic climate, it’s important for charities to have multiple income streams. Think of fundraising, grants, and other sources of money as jigsaw pieces that, when joined, form a wider plan for how a charity generates its income. “With the current funding climate placing significant pressure on charities, we know it’s important that organisations have a mix of ways to raise money,” said Mike Lewis, Grant Manager Wales at Lloyds Bank Foundation. It’s tough out there! Our 2016 Local Charity and Community Groups Sustainability Report found that 76% of groups surveyed highlighted "competition for grants and contracts" as a financial concern. Relying on a single income source is risky, and a boost from online donations can bring some welcome breathing space when things get a bit tight. 3) A route to new supporters, partners and beneficiaries To succeed at online fundraising, a charity must first reach out to people, develop relationships and build trust - and when they do that, they get more than donations in return. “Fundraising and digital fundraising in particular is an important way charities can reach out to and engage supporters in a cost effective way so they are better placed to help the disadvantaged people they work with,” Mike added. West Rhyl Young People’s Project (WRYPP) is testament to this. They’ve received support through Localgiving’s Big Lottery funded Wales Development Programme to set up a donations page, develop new marketing materials and tap into new audiences. “Since joining Localgiving, we’re more active online and we’re enjoying an increased profile locally. Because of that, we’ve been able to connect with supporters we didn’t know we had,” explained Hannah Rowan, Project Manager at West Rhyl Young People’s Project. WRYPP has used the money raised on Localgiving so far to reach and support more young people. “With our LGBT project Viva, we have grants to work in some counties, but not others. Donations through Localgiving have helped us meet the costs of travelling to support young people in need right across North Wales, in areas not covered by our funded projects,” Hannah said. At Localgiving, we’re passionate about helping local charities like WRYPP feel empowered to take advantage of the opportunities presented by digital, and to use the tools available to get the recognition their cause deserves. It’s a passion shared by Lloyds Bank Foundation. “As a Foundation we are keen to support charities develop their digital capacity and we can fund marketing and communications consultants, website and social media developments through our grant programmes,” Mike added. 4) A method for demonstrating commitment to a project or idea We’ve established that it’s important to think of fundraising and grants as separate pieces in a larger income generation puzzle. But when the time does come to apply for a grant, don’t discount the value of your charity’s digital activities and online fundraising efforts. “Demonstrating a contribution to a project, like donations raised through online fundraising, sends a strong message to a funder that the applicant is committed,” explained Neil Pringle, Fund Manager at Gwynt y Môr Community Fund. If a charity can independently raise even a small percentage of the project cost, they can then ask for a bit less from a grant funder. That means the funder’s pot goes further, enabling them to support even more projects. Perhaps more importantly, it’s a way to show grant funders that theirs is an idea local people are genuinely interested in. “Building buy-in, and raising awareness and funds through an online campaign says to a potential funder ‘everyone is involved’. It shows that the project has credibility in the local community, and people want it to happen," Neil added. Not only will online fundraising help your charity raise some extra cash (that you can spend on the things your charity really needs), it could also help you to become more financially sustainable, expose you to new supporters and opportunities, and give you an edge during a competitive grant application process. The Wales Development Programme Thanks to our Wales Development Programme, kindly funded and supported by Big Lottery Fund Wales, West Rhyl Young People’s Project is benefitting from: Free membership of Localgiving for 12 months; £200 of match funding for donations received online, and; Face to face support to develop practical online fundraising experience. If you represent a local Third Sector Organisation in Wales and would like to take part in the Wales Development Programme, head to join.localgiving.org/wales and register your interest today! Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report 2016 What Makes Local Charities Unique? Open University Launches New Voluntary Sector Courses  
    Jan 06, 2017 5544
  • 07 Dec 2016
    The local voluntary sector consists of thousands of groups with widely varying causes, missions and activities. Local Charities day, taking place on December 16th, will celebrate these amazing groups and draw attention to some of the challenges they are facing.  In this blog we look at what makes the UK’s local voluntary sector so unique and valuable - exploring the characteristics they share and the vital, yet too often overlooked, services that they provide to their communities. In 2015 we produced our first Local charity and community group sustainability Report. In this report we identified a number of characteristics that make the sector so special.   1) Knowledge of local needs Many Local charities are formed as a direct result of a specific local need or cause; be it saving a community centre, conserving a local place of interest etc.  These causes rarely fall into the remit of larger national or international charities as therefore, without these charities such issues would often go unaddressed entirely. A good example of this charity type is Downham Market & District Heritage Society - a group that exists to conserve and display objects, photographs and documents relating to Downham Market and the surrounding village Other local charities address wider societal issues (homelessness, disability advice, refugee support, LGBTQ  issues). These groups have a strong crossover with the work of well know national charities and groups. However, in most cases this crossover is complementary.  While more heavily resourced national or international groups excel at wide scale campaigning, infrastructural support etc, the value of grassroots groups lies in their acute knowledge of how these wider issues play out at a local level and how they are best addressed. HERe NI work to combat social exclusion and discrimination among the LGBT+ community in Northern Ireland.  Their acute knowledge of the specific issues facing LGBT+ women in Northern Ireland enable them to provide personalised support and bespoke awarenss raising. 2) Strong Trusting Relationships As well as understanding the needs of their community, the fact that local groups are often deeply embeddedness in their local community enables them to foster strong trusting relationships with their beneficiaries.  The value of these relationships, though difficult to quantify, cannot be underestimated. One clear benefit to these close relationships is that it enables these groups to access harder to reach parts of their community. Another advantage is that people often feel a strong attachment, even sense of ownership over local groups. Many local charities are not simply service providers but a key element of the fabric and character of their communities. These informal community bonds would be impossible to replicate.  However, the difference they make to the quality of service provided by groups and the resulting benefit to their service users can be huge. 3) Flexibility and reaction time Local charities and small charities should not be treated as synonymous – for example many hospices have a local or regional remit but have medium to large turnover.  However, given that 95% of local charities have an annual income of under £1 Million there is a strong crossover. One of the benefits of being small is that these groups are often far less bureaucratic and, as a consequence, more flexible and able to react  quickly. When coupled with local charities’ acute knowledge or their local demographics and resources, this often means that local groups are able to provide support quicker, more targeted support than larger, national counterparts. One example is the Community Foundation for Calderdale’s Boxing Day 2015 Flood appeal. On Boxing Day 2016 Storm Eva caused the River Calder to burst it's banks devastating businesses and homes across Calderdale. CFFC Immediately responded – launching a fundraising appeal that received national attention. Of course,  there are numerous other reasons why the local voluntary  sector is so valuable. This is a sector that continues to amaze us with its resourcefulness, passion and innovation. On Local Charities Day (16th December) make it your mission to find a charity near you and see what you can do to support their cause.   Also keep your eyes open for our 2016 Local Charity and Community Report released on the day.  Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina   Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack  5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha   
    3807 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • The local voluntary sector consists of thousands of groups with widely varying causes, missions and activities. Local Charities day, taking place on December 16th, will celebrate these amazing groups and draw attention to some of the challenges they are facing.  In this blog we look at what makes the UK’s local voluntary sector so unique and valuable - exploring the characteristics they share and the vital, yet too often overlooked, services that they provide to their communities. In 2015 we produced our first Local charity and community group sustainability Report. In this report we identified a number of characteristics that make the sector so special.   1) Knowledge of local needs Many Local charities are formed as a direct result of a specific local need or cause; be it saving a community centre, conserving a local place of interest etc.  These causes rarely fall into the remit of larger national or international charities as therefore, without these charities such issues would often go unaddressed entirely. A good example of this charity type is Downham Market & District Heritage Society - a group that exists to conserve and display objects, photographs and documents relating to Downham Market and the surrounding village Other local charities address wider societal issues (homelessness, disability advice, refugee support, LGBTQ  issues). These groups have a strong crossover with the work of well know national charities and groups. However, in most cases this crossover is complementary.  While more heavily resourced national or international groups excel at wide scale campaigning, infrastructural support etc, the value of grassroots groups lies in their acute knowledge of how these wider issues play out at a local level and how they are best addressed. HERe NI work to combat social exclusion and discrimination among the LGBT+ community in Northern Ireland.  Their acute knowledge of the specific issues facing LGBT+ women in Northern Ireland enable them to provide personalised support and bespoke awarenss raising. 2) Strong Trusting Relationships As well as understanding the needs of their community, the fact that local groups are often deeply embeddedness in their local community enables them to foster strong trusting relationships with their beneficiaries.  The value of these relationships, though difficult to quantify, cannot be underestimated. One clear benefit to these close relationships is that it enables these groups to access harder to reach parts of their community. Another advantage is that people often feel a strong attachment, even sense of ownership over local groups. Many local charities are not simply service providers but a key element of the fabric and character of their communities. These informal community bonds would be impossible to replicate.  However, the difference they make to the quality of service provided by groups and the resulting benefit to their service users can be huge. 3) Flexibility and reaction time Local charities and small charities should not be treated as synonymous – for example many hospices have a local or regional remit but have medium to large turnover.  However, given that 95% of local charities have an annual income of under £1 Million there is a strong crossover. One of the benefits of being small is that these groups are often far less bureaucratic and, as a consequence, more flexible and able to react  quickly. When coupled with local charities’ acute knowledge or their local demographics and resources, this often means that local groups are able to provide support quicker, more targeted support than larger, national counterparts. One example is the Community Foundation for Calderdale’s Boxing Day 2015 Flood appeal. On Boxing Day 2016 Storm Eva caused the River Calder to burst it's banks devastating businesses and homes across Calderdale. CFFC Immediately responded – launching a fundraising appeal that received national attention. Of course,  there are numerous other reasons why the local voluntary  sector is so valuable. This is a sector that continues to amaze us with its resourcefulness, passion and innovation. On Local Charities Day (16th December) make it your mission to find a charity near you and see what you can do to support their cause.   Also keep your eyes open for our 2016 Local Charity and Community Report released on the day.  Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina   Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack  5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha   
    Dec 07, 2016 3807
  • 07 Nov 2016
    You cannot be an expert in everything, but staff and volunteers at small charities often feel like they need to be, as they don’t have the budget to hire experts when they need them. Getting pro-bono support can be a huge help to a campaign or project, but finding the time to actually find this free expertise can be off-putting.   Here are three organisations providing pro-bono support that you should bookmark, so when the time comes you will know exactly where to look: LawWorks LawWorks is a charity working in England and Wales to connect volunteer lawyers with people in need of legal advice. Their Not-For-Profits Programme gives free legal advice to small not-for-profit organisations on a wide range of issues. These can include drafting a contract, reviewing a lease, updating a constitution/articles, or clarifying rights in a commercial dispute. The application process is simple: check your organisation is eligible, if it is you then need to fill in an online application form and send over your accounts. Once an application is approved, LawWorks try to find a volunteer to help you within a few weeks. Pimp My Cause Pimp my Cause is a web based platform bringing good causes in need of professional marketing support together with professional experts who are able to contribute this expertise for free. “Kay did a fantastic technical graphic for our small charity to use on the new website we are designing. Hughes syndrome is a blood clotting disorder that can affect any part of the body, so we wanted to have a clear image to show patient possible danger areas. Kay came to our rescue and produced a brilliant, clear graphic which our web designers are very happy to use. She also did it in record time and I feel a bit guilty that we won't be in a position to use it until the website launch in autumn. Our charity and, no doubt, patients in the future are truly grateful for Kay's expertise and time - thank you :) ” - Hughes Syndrome Foundation Whether you would like help on a new website design, a marketing campaign or a new logo, Pimp My Cause can help you find the expert you need. The process is simple – Register for free on the Pimp My Cause website, create a profile for your cause, then create an advert for the help you want. You can then search for volunteer experts and send them a message to see if they can help you, and you might even get experts getting in touch with you to offer their support. Jolly Good Causes Jolly Good Causes is a social enterprise offering pro-bono marketing support to small charities through their Pay It Forward scheme. “Jolly Good Causes responded to our request for help in filling charity marathon places at very short notice. They quickly got a press release together… hugely increasing the exposure we got for this important fundraising event.” - Simon Halsey, Founder of Little Gems. Individuals, businesses and larger charities cover the cost of one of the Jolly Good Causes stand alone services, ranging in price from £120 to £740. Once purchased, the service will be listed on the ‘notice board’ page on their website, and will remain available until it is redeemed by a qualifying charity (those with an income of less than £100,000 per year). Do you (or an organisation you know of) offer small charities pro-bono support? Let us know the details in the comments below! Found this blog post useful? Why not try these by the same author  3 Tips on How To Tell Your Charity Story on Instagram5 free tools to use to share your organisation's story 
    6285 Posted by Nisha Kotecha
  • You cannot be an expert in everything, but staff and volunteers at small charities often feel like they need to be, as they don’t have the budget to hire experts when they need them. Getting pro-bono support can be a huge help to a campaign or project, but finding the time to actually find this free expertise can be off-putting.   Here are three organisations providing pro-bono support that you should bookmark, so when the time comes you will know exactly where to look: LawWorks LawWorks is a charity working in England and Wales to connect volunteer lawyers with people in need of legal advice. Their Not-For-Profits Programme gives free legal advice to small not-for-profit organisations on a wide range of issues. These can include drafting a contract, reviewing a lease, updating a constitution/articles, or clarifying rights in a commercial dispute. The application process is simple: check your organisation is eligible, if it is you then need to fill in an online application form and send over your accounts. Once an application is approved, LawWorks try to find a volunteer to help you within a few weeks. Pimp My Cause Pimp my Cause is a web based platform bringing good causes in need of professional marketing support together with professional experts who are able to contribute this expertise for free. “Kay did a fantastic technical graphic for our small charity to use on the new website we are designing. Hughes syndrome is a blood clotting disorder that can affect any part of the body, so we wanted to have a clear image to show patient possible danger areas. Kay came to our rescue and produced a brilliant, clear graphic which our web designers are very happy to use. She also did it in record time and I feel a bit guilty that we won't be in a position to use it until the website launch in autumn. Our charity and, no doubt, patients in the future are truly grateful for Kay's expertise and time - thank you :) ” - Hughes Syndrome Foundation Whether you would like help on a new website design, a marketing campaign or a new logo, Pimp My Cause can help you find the expert you need. The process is simple – Register for free on the Pimp My Cause website, create a profile for your cause, then create an advert for the help you want. You can then search for volunteer experts and send them a message to see if they can help you, and you might even get experts getting in touch with you to offer their support. Jolly Good Causes Jolly Good Causes is a social enterprise offering pro-bono marketing support to small charities through their Pay It Forward scheme. “Jolly Good Causes responded to our request for help in filling charity marathon places at very short notice. They quickly got a press release together… hugely increasing the exposure we got for this important fundraising event.” - Simon Halsey, Founder of Little Gems. Individuals, businesses and larger charities cover the cost of one of the Jolly Good Causes stand alone services, ranging in price from £120 to £740. Once purchased, the service will be listed on the ‘notice board’ page on their website, and will remain available until it is redeemed by a qualifying charity (those with an income of less than £100,000 per year). Do you (or an organisation you know of) offer small charities pro-bono support? Let us know the details in the comments below! Found this blog post useful? Why not try these by the same author  3 Tips on How To Tell Your Charity Story on Instagram5 free tools to use to share your organisation's story 
    Nov 07, 2016 6285
  • 27 Oct 2016
    Most people spend a good few weeks, months sometimes, looking forward to Christmas - buying presents, planning menus, and generally getting into the festive spirit. Unfortunately though, not everybody gets to enjoy the Christmas period. For many who are living on the streets or are on very low incomes Christmas is an extremely difficult time of year. According to a report by the charity Crisis almost one in ten people say they have been homeless at some point. Crisis also points out that all forms of homelessness have risen due to the effects of the economic recession of recent years as well as the continuing shortage of housing in the UK. It became obvious to us at Jack’s beans that providing help and support to the homeless people in the UK is more important than ever. So, this year the Jack’s beans Coffee Company has partnered with Localgiving to bring some festive cheer to the very people that need it the most. Jack’s beans is getting festive and our first ever Christmas Cup will be on sale across the UK in independent newsagents and convenience stores from 1st November 2016. The best bit is that 5 pence from every cup of Jack’s beans that is sold will be donated to a selection of regional charities that are part of the Localgiving network. Jack’s beans and Localgiving have identified fourteen charities to share the proceeds from the Christmas Cup campaign Each of the charities will use the funds to provide a hot meal, warm jacket or simply somewhere for a homeless person to sleep during this Christmas period. Every little bit helps and by selling as many Christmas cups of Jack’s beans delicious coffee or hot chocolate we can really make a difference to homeless people this Christmas time. Jack’s beans is a barista style, self-serve coffee that uses only fair trade beans. Jack’s beans is proud to be served by independent retailers across the country. We are keen to unite local communities through the Jack’s beans brand and working the Localgiving on our Christmas Cup Campaign really helps us to this.    Look out for your nearest Jack’s beans machine and join in with our festive giving. We really want to make a difference to as many people as we can this Christmas. The more cups we sell, the more people we can help. Go on, grab a Jack’s beans! List of charities: Launchpad Reading CHAS (Bristol) Housing Advice Service Churches Housing Action Team (CHAT) Mid-Devon Ltd 1625 Independent People Camrose Quaker Homeless Action The Northampton Hope Centre Doorstep Homeless Families Project The House of Bread Open Door Stoke-on-Trent Big Breakfast +  Milton Keynes YMCA Step by Step The Vine Centre Natalie Waters is Digital Marketing Executive for Smiths News. UWE graduate & CIPR diploma holder who loves all things social media. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:      The Power of the Twitter Hour by Richard Barker4 Steps to the perfect charity VideoHow Small charities can overcome barriers to brand investment      
    4188 Posted by Natalie Waters
  • Most people spend a good few weeks, months sometimes, looking forward to Christmas - buying presents, planning menus, and generally getting into the festive spirit. Unfortunately though, not everybody gets to enjoy the Christmas period. For many who are living on the streets or are on very low incomes Christmas is an extremely difficult time of year. According to a report by the charity Crisis almost one in ten people say they have been homeless at some point. Crisis also points out that all forms of homelessness have risen due to the effects of the economic recession of recent years as well as the continuing shortage of housing in the UK. It became obvious to us at Jack’s beans that providing help and support to the homeless people in the UK is more important than ever. So, this year the Jack’s beans Coffee Company has partnered with Localgiving to bring some festive cheer to the very people that need it the most. Jack’s beans is getting festive and our first ever Christmas Cup will be on sale across the UK in independent newsagents and convenience stores from 1st November 2016. The best bit is that 5 pence from every cup of Jack’s beans that is sold will be donated to a selection of regional charities that are part of the Localgiving network. Jack’s beans and Localgiving have identified fourteen charities to share the proceeds from the Christmas Cup campaign Each of the charities will use the funds to provide a hot meal, warm jacket or simply somewhere for a homeless person to sleep during this Christmas period. Every little bit helps and by selling as many Christmas cups of Jack’s beans delicious coffee or hot chocolate we can really make a difference to homeless people this Christmas time. Jack’s beans is a barista style, self-serve coffee that uses only fair trade beans. Jack’s beans is proud to be served by independent retailers across the country. We are keen to unite local communities through the Jack’s beans brand and working the Localgiving on our Christmas Cup Campaign really helps us to this.    Look out for your nearest Jack’s beans machine and join in with our festive giving. We really want to make a difference to as many people as we can this Christmas. The more cups we sell, the more people we can help. Go on, grab a Jack’s beans! List of charities: Launchpad Reading CHAS (Bristol) Housing Advice Service Churches Housing Action Team (CHAT) Mid-Devon Ltd 1625 Independent People Camrose Quaker Homeless Action The Northampton Hope Centre Doorstep Homeless Families Project The House of Bread Open Door Stoke-on-Trent Big Breakfast +  Milton Keynes YMCA Step by Step The Vine Centre Natalie Waters is Digital Marketing Executive for Smiths News. UWE graduate & CIPR diploma holder who loves all things social media. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:      The Power of the Twitter Hour by Richard Barker4 Steps to the perfect charity VideoHow Small charities can overcome barriers to brand investment      
    Oct 27, 2016 4188
  • 10 Oct 2016
    For those of you who are involved with small charities and groups the idea of running a telephone fundraising campaign probably seems beyond your capabilities but as long as you have a phone, a list of previous donors and some perseverance it can be a great way to directly engage with your audience. For example as part of the Bath City FC Supporters Society "Back the Bid" scheme to buy the club on behalf of the community I set up a makeshift call centre in our Treasurer’s hallway one Friday afternoon in 2015. I had a spreadsheet of all the Society's members, a battered landline phone, and a stool to sit on. I called each member in turn asking if they had heard of the bid, whether they were going to support it and if they had any questions. Many people told me it was the first time they had ever had a phone call from Bath City FC and the response was fantastic with a number saying that this had been a great reminder and they were going to purchase shares immediately. For those that weren't able to support it was still worth taking the time to correct basic details like email address and update them on the latest "Back the Bid" news.  In September 2016 we had to reconfirm the pledges made in 2015 so that we could relaunch our ultimately successful bid to become a majority shareholder. Four volunteers called over 100 people during the course of 3 hours and we confirmed pledges worth £10,000 in that time. Smaller charities and groups have a great opportunity to build a personal connection with their supporters as the volumes are typically much smaller, they will often know many of the people in person and they have all believed in your cause at some point in the past. Some of the larger charities have lost this personal connection due to their size, outsourcing of operations and the sheer complexity of their business processes. This presents a great opportunity for smaller charities and groups to demonstrate their agility and reach out to people directly. I would recommend you start any call with a simple thank you for previous support, provide an update on any new appeals that you might be running and finish with a pointer to where they can donate online. Do not take card details over the phone, just refer them to your Localgiving page, if you have one. Remember that taking time over each call and really listening might make all the difference to a supporter who receives frequent, more impersonal requests from larger organisations. Follow the legislation and make personal connections Last year, just as I'd started my previous role as Telephone Fundraising Manager for the University of Bristol, the tragic events of the Olive Cooke story were all over the newspapers and many Universities decided not to run their telephone campaigns that academic year. Unfortunately a handful of unscrupulous telemarketing agencies had given the wider telephone fundraising sector a bad name so make sure you follow the new legislation which was issued in response to those complaints. This includes handling each call sensitively, never asking for a donation more than 3 times, use a telephone number which can be identified by the recipient and end the call immediately if requested. Provided you follow the legislation then there is no need to shy away from a channel that allows you to make a personal connection with your donors, is essentially free (other than call charges and your time) and requires significantly less administration than say putting on a fundraising event.  Finally, it is crucial to check that you have permission to call your supporters in future so make sure you explicitly ask for permission to make fundraising calls at some point in the conversation and then record this consent in your spreadsheet, list or database. As a general rule I would avoid calling anyone over 80, anyone who appears to be confused or vulnerable and I would never makes calls after 8pm because many people find this intrusive. Provided you follow these guidelines and the legislation mentioned above then you should find that a telephone call can be a great opportunity to really connect with your most loyal supporters. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack  How to make friend with the media by Kay Parris  Get your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar Shining a Bright Light on local charities   Photographer: Karolina Grabowska.
    5998 Posted by James Carlin
  • For those of you who are involved with small charities and groups the idea of running a telephone fundraising campaign probably seems beyond your capabilities but as long as you have a phone, a list of previous donors and some perseverance it can be a great way to directly engage with your audience. For example as part of the Bath City FC Supporters Society "Back the Bid" scheme to buy the club on behalf of the community I set up a makeshift call centre in our Treasurer’s hallway one Friday afternoon in 2015. I had a spreadsheet of all the Society's members, a battered landline phone, and a stool to sit on. I called each member in turn asking if they had heard of the bid, whether they were going to support it and if they had any questions. Many people told me it was the first time they had ever had a phone call from Bath City FC and the response was fantastic with a number saying that this had been a great reminder and they were going to purchase shares immediately. For those that weren't able to support it was still worth taking the time to correct basic details like email address and update them on the latest "Back the Bid" news.  In September 2016 we had to reconfirm the pledges made in 2015 so that we could relaunch our ultimately successful bid to become a majority shareholder. Four volunteers called over 100 people during the course of 3 hours and we confirmed pledges worth £10,000 in that time. Smaller charities and groups have a great opportunity to build a personal connection with their supporters as the volumes are typically much smaller, they will often know many of the people in person and they have all believed in your cause at some point in the past. Some of the larger charities have lost this personal connection due to their size, outsourcing of operations and the sheer complexity of their business processes. This presents a great opportunity for smaller charities and groups to demonstrate their agility and reach out to people directly. I would recommend you start any call with a simple thank you for previous support, provide an update on any new appeals that you might be running and finish with a pointer to where they can donate online. Do not take card details over the phone, just refer them to your Localgiving page, if you have one. Remember that taking time over each call and really listening might make all the difference to a supporter who receives frequent, more impersonal requests from larger organisations. Follow the legislation and make personal connections Last year, just as I'd started my previous role as Telephone Fundraising Manager for the University of Bristol, the tragic events of the Olive Cooke story were all over the newspapers and many Universities decided not to run their telephone campaigns that academic year. Unfortunately a handful of unscrupulous telemarketing agencies had given the wider telephone fundraising sector a bad name so make sure you follow the new legislation which was issued in response to those complaints. This includes handling each call sensitively, never asking for a donation more than 3 times, use a telephone number which can be identified by the recipient and end the call immediately if requested. Provided you follow the legislation then there is no need to shy away from a channel that allows you to make a personal connection with your donors, is essentially free (other than call charges and your time) and requires significantly less administration than say putting on a fundraising event.  Finally, it is crucial to check that you have permission to call your supporters in future so make sure you explicitly ask for permission to make fundraising calls at some point in the conversation and then record this consent in your spreadsheet, list or database. As a general rule I would avoid calling anyone over 80, anyone who appears to be confused or vulnerable and I would never makes calls after 8pm because many people find this intrusive. Provided you follow these guidelines and the legislation mentioned above then you should find that a telephone call can be a great opportunity to really connect with your most loyal supporters. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack  How to make friend with the media by Kay Parris  Get your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar Shining a Bright Light on local charities   Photographer: Karolina Grabowska.
    Oct 10, 2016 5998
  • 10 Oct 2016
    Since the inaugural Small Charity CEO Support Network event (must find a catchier name for this – suggestions welcome!), I’ve been considering the feedback of those who joined us, and researching peer support and peer support networks. I’m a firm advocate of the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid), and everything suggests this network should be simply that – a peer support network. We are not alone It quickly became clear from contributions, networking and feedback that what leaders of small charities want and need from this group is the chance to share problems and challenges confidentially, with those in the same boat; to explore potential solutions and develop their knowledge; to get support. As soon as we understand that we are not alone, the load (and the isolation that can come from being at the top of a small organisation) lightens considerably. There are some superb services out there providing lifelines for CEOs who need practical and legal support – such as ACEVO’s CEOs in Crisis service. However, I (and many of you) know from painful experience, that prevention is better than cure. Those who have faced similar challenges and feelings can be better placed to offer the kind of support that prevents crisis. It is critical that the sector galvanizes to support this group of passionate and committed professionals and their charities, to avoid crisis and burnout, and the toll that takes on mental and physical health. Preventing burnout and preserving strong mental health in this valuable group of sector leaders requires more than practical approaches. Peer support offers benefits that are the fundamentals for effectiveness and strong performance As peer support develops as a practice, research is increasingly finding that sharing challenges with peers who have lived experience of the same issues increases knowledge, confidence and effectiveness, and decreases anxiety, isolation, depression and suicidal ideation. Peer support provides hope, helps people make sense of their situations, find meaning in their lives, take control over their destinies, develop their knowledge-base and manage their challenges. The power of social networks has become increasingly apparent over recent years. I believe passionately that a national peer support network of small charity CEOs can not only improve the mental health and effectiveness of leaders in our wonderful, innovative and highly professional sector, but also thereby improve the efficiency of our hundreds of thousands of small charities. I believe passionately that structured support is needed for small charity CEOs. This means support for charities and ultimately better services for our beneficiaries – a goal we should all aspire to. Since its launch, there has been a phenomenal amount of interest in the network from individuals, groups and organisations; this suggests there is an appetite for change in the sector. The CEO network is an influential group of innovative and skilled leaders, committed to peer support, and that’s a step towards change for the better. So, if you’re a small charity CEO and you’re wondering about whether to join the network, please don’t hesitate. It is full of fellow small charity experts who can help you solve your work challenges! It is full of people who are tackling the same issues as you and probably feeling the same way too. It is full of people ready to support you, and that means support for your charity, your beneficiaries, volunteers, staff. Some of you have already suggested topics for discussion, such as managing workload, when to outsource, finding a mentor and many more (we will be exploring your ideas for future sessions during the event!). The group is restricted to charity CEOs, Directors and Leaders – whether a registered charity or informal voluntary organisation, whatever the legal structure – you are welcome. We will observe Chatham House rules – you can speak freely and be heard. At each monthly meeting, someone from the network will present a problem, challenge, solution or simply their thoughts on a topic, and the group will then do their magic! There will be plenty of networking time too. I look forward to seeing you in October, and setting out on this journey with you!   Jane Hudson Jones is CEO at Lotus Consultancy & Coaching: www.lotusconsultancy.org    Follow @jane_ceo    Found this article useful? Why not read more by this contributor?   The loneliness of the Small Charity Chief Executive   
    1112 Posted by Jane Hudson Jones
  • Since the inaugural Small Charity CEO Support Network event (must find a catchier name for this – suggestions welcome!), I’ve been considering the feedback of those who joined us, and researching peer support and peer support networks. I’m a firm advocate of the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid), and everything suggests this network should be simply that – a peer support network. We are not alone It quickly became clear from contributions, networking and feedback that what leaders of small charities want and need from this group is the chance to share problems and challenges confidentially, with those in the same boat; to explore potential solutions and develop their knowledge; to get support. As soon as we understand that we are not alone, the load (and the isolation that can come from being at the top of a small organisation) lightens considerably. There are some superb services out there providing lifelines for CEOs who need practical and legal support – such as ACEVO’s CEOs in Crisis service. However, I (and many of you) know from painful experience, that prevention is better than cure. Those who have faced similar challenges and feelings can be better placed to offer the kind of support that prevents crisis. It is critical that the sector galvanizes to support this group of passionate and committed professionals and their charities, to avoid crisis and burnout, and the toll that takes on mental and physical health. Preventing burnout and preserving strong mental health in this valuable group of sector leaders requires more than practical approaches. Peer support offers benefits that are the fundamentals for effectiveness and strong performance As peer support develops as a practice, research is increasingly finding that sharing challenges with peers who have lived experience of the same issues increases knowledge, confidence and effectiveness, and decreases anxiety, isolation, depression and suicidal ideation. Peer support provides hope, helps people make sense of their situations, find meaning in their lives, take control over their destinies, develop their knowledge-base and manage their challenges. The power of social networks has become increasingly apparent over recent years. I believe passionately that a national peer support network of small charity CEOs can not only improve the mental health and effectiveness of leaders in our wonderful, innovative and highly professional sector, but also thereby improve the efficiency of our hundreds of thousands of small charities. I believe passionately that structured support is needed for small charity CEOs. This means support for charities and ultimately better services for our beneficiaries – a goal we should all aspire to. Since its launch, there has been a phenomenal amount of interest in the network from individuals, groups and organisations; this suggests there is an appetite for change in the sector. The CEO network is an influential group of innovative and skilled leaders, committed to peer support, and that’s a step towards change for the better. So, if you’re a small charity CEO and you’re wondering about whether to join the network, please don’t hesitate. It is full of fellow small charity experts who can help you solve your work challenges! It is full of people who are tackling the same issues as you and probably feeling the same way too. It is full of people ready to support you, and that means support for your charity, your beneficiaries, volunteers, staff. Some of you have already suggested topics for discussion, such as managing workload, when to outsource, finding a mentor and many more (we will be exploring your ideas for future sessions during the event!). The group is restricted to charity CEOs, Directors and Leaders – whether a registered charity or informal voluntary organisation, whatever the legal structure – you are welcome. We will observe Chatham House rules – you can speak freely and be heard. At each monthly meeting, someone from the network will present a problem, challenge, solution or simply their thoughts on a topic, and the group will then do their magic! There will be plenty of networking time too. I look forward to seeing you in October, and setting out on this journey with you!   Jane Hudson Jones is CEO at Lotus Consultancy & Coaching: www.lotusconsultancy.org    Follow @jane_ceo    Found this article useful? Why not read more by this contributor?   The loneliness of the Small Charity Chief Executive   
    Oct 10, 2016 1112
  • 03 Oct 2016
    You wake at 5am, bleary eyed, from a troubled night, the alarm saving you from sinking back into sleep. You don’t feel rested today. Around 3am you were surreptitiously whispering into your phone’s audio recorder. Your partner heard you anyway, and so your work disrupted their sleep once again. Yes, that’s right – you were working. Adding to your to-do list – operational tasks you’ve remembered that slipped under the radar earlier on. An exciting idea for fundraising that you really must explore. A difficult staff appraisal to prepare for. Inspiration for solving a common problem a beneficiary told you about over coffee. Worrying about covering the budget without any statutory funding. Wondering how much more you can ask your heroic staff to take on, over and above the 45 hours a week they already work, for a salary that is modest to say the least. Wondering how you will cope with tomorrow’s challenges without a decent night’s sleep yet again, and feeling overwhelmed…   Yes, I feel your pain, because I’ve been there. I’ve been a new small charity Chief Executive and I’ve been a seasoned one – and I know it doesn’t feel much easier either way. Feeling overwhelmed can dampen all the passion in the world. Why is this peculiar to small charities? Because conventional organisation structure – Board, CEO, staff – applies to small charities too, but doesn’t fit. Four or five key, but junior people staff the majority of small charities. So the small charity Chief Executive is also the Director of Finance. Director of HR too. And Director of Fundraising. Yes, and Service Director. Oh, and Facilities Manager and PA. And don’t forget they’re the Chief Executive, responsible for strategy, ambassadoring, leading and thinking – those exciting and wonderful aspects of the role that they rarely get time to do. I know of small charity Chief Execs who literally work round the clock, sending emails at 1am on Monday morning, just to be able to keep up with a workload that is Herculean in breadth and volume. I know some live on the verge of breakdown. All Chief Executives, in any sector or organization, expect a heavy workload, but this is a real structural problem for which there seems to be no impetus to change. There’s no time for that, and perhaps there are appearances to keep up. There are no peers for the small charity Chief Exec – no one within the organisation you can talk to for support. This is a long distance runner who carries a whole organisation on their back. Can this really be acceptable? And how does this segment of the wider sector find the time to fight back against the current charity-bashing trend (which could actually be one manifestation of a paradigm change for the sector, but that’s another blog!). Trustees of small charities can often be found feeling depleted – they generally take a far more hands-on role than their colleagues in big organisations. But it is the Chief Executives who are paid to run the show, and – given the current structure - there’s a huge amount of pressure to perform. All of this usually with ever decreasing resources. Of course Chairs can and should be a strong source of support and partnership for the small charity Chief Exec, though in reality it doesn’t always work out that way. I’ll talk about working relationships in small charities more in a forthcoming blog. 97% of registered charities are defined as ‘small’ – that means there are up to 155,000 small charity Chief Execs in the UK (Small Charities Coalition, 2016). I have begun to wonder why this ill-fitting structure exists for the majority of the sector. I don’t have answers yet, but I hope to find them in partnership with sector leaders. So I’ve taken the plunge and gone freelance to unleash my passion for supporting charity leaders and their teams. With a fellow former small charity Chief Exec (who calls herself a ‘reformed Chief Executive’) I’m setting up a peer support system for this dynamic and dedicated, but beleaguered group. We’re not sure exactly how it will look yet – we want your steer on that, but we know from our networks that it is much needed. We know that it will be a supportive group, but also an expert group that comes up with solutions to common problems. Hopefully we can work together to find support and innovations. Watch this space! Jane Hudson Jones is CEO at Lotus Consultancy & Coaching: www.lotusconsultancy.org  Follow @jane_ceo  Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    How Google Grants can provide £78,000 to your Charity Shining a Bright Light on local charities NCVO, FSI, Sported & SCC offer free Localgiving memberships  
    2857 Posted by Jane Hudson Jones
  • You wake at 5am, bleary eyed, from a troubled night, the alarm saving you from sinking back into sleep. You don’t feel rested today. Around 3am you were surreptitiously whispering into your phone’s audio recorder. Your partner heard you anyway, and so your work disrupted their sleep once again. Yes, that’s right – you were working. Adding to your to-do list – operational tasks you’ve remembered that slipped under the radar earlier on. An exciting idea for fundraising that you really must explore. A difficult staff appraisal to prepare for. Inspiration for solving a common problem a beneficiary told you about over coffee. Worrying about covering the budget without any statutory funding. Wondering how much more you can ask your heroic staff to take on, over and above the 45 hours a week they already work, for a salary that is modest to say the least. Wondering how you will cope with tomorrow’s challenges without a decent night’s sleep yet again, and feeling overwhelmed…   Yes, I feel your pain, because I’ve been there. I’ve been a new small charity Chief Executive and I’ve been a seasoned one – and I know it doesn’t feel much easier either way. Feeling overwhelmed can dampen all the passion in the world. Why is this peculiar to small charities? Because conventional organisation structure – Board, CEO, staff – applies to small charities too, but doesn’t fit. Four or five key, but junior people staff the majority of small charities. So the small charity Chief Executive is also the Director of Finance. Director of HR too. And Director of Fundraising. Yes, and Service Director. Oh, and Facilities Manager and PA. And don’t forget they’re the Chief Executive, responsible for strategy, ambassadoring, leading and thinking – those exciting and wonderful aspects of the role that they rarely get time to do. I know of small charity Chief Execs who literally work round the clock, sending emails at 1am on Monday morning, just to be able to keep up with a workload that is Herculean in breadth and volume. I know some live on the verge of breakdown. All Chief Executives, in any sector or organization, expect a heavy workload, but this is a real structural problem for which there seems to be no impetus to change. There’s no time for that, and perhaps there are appearances to keep up. There are no peers for the small charity Chief Exec – no one within the organisation you can talk to for support. This is a long distance runner who carries a whole organisation on their back. Can this really be acceptable? And how does this segment of the wider sector find the time to fight back against the current charity-bashing trend (which could actually be one manifestation of a paradigm change for the sector, but that’s another blog!). Trustees of small charities can often be found feeling depleted – they generally take a far more hands-on role than their colleagues in big organisations. But it is the Chief Executives who are paid to run the show, and – given the current structure - there’s a huge amount of pressure to perform. All of this usually with ever decreasing resources. Of course Chairs can and should be a strong source of support and partnership for the small charity Chief Exec, though in reality it doesn’t always work out that way. I’ll talk about working relationships in small charities more in a forthcoming blog. 97% of registered charities are defined as ‘small’ – that means there are up to 155,000 small charity Chief Execs in the UK (Small Charities Coalition, 2016). I have begun to wonder why this ill-fitting structure exists for the majority of the sector. I don’t have answers yet, but I hope to find them in partnership with sector leaders. So I’ve taken the plunge and gone freelance to unleash my passion for supporting charity leaders and their teams. With a fellow former small charity Chief Exec (who calls herself a ‘reformed Chief Executive’) I’m setting up a peer support system for this dynamic and dedicated, but beleaguered group. We’re not sure exactly how it will look yet – we want your steer on that, but we know from our networks that it is much needed. We know that it will be a supportive group, but also an expert group that comes up with solutions to common problems. Hopefully we can work together to find support and innovations. Watch this space! Jane Hudson Jones is CEO at Lotus Consultancy & Coaching: www.lotusconsultancy.org  Follow @jane_ceo  Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    How Google Grants can provide £78,000 to your Charity Shining a Bright Light on local charities NCVO, FSI, Sported & SCC offer free Localgiving memberships  
    Oct 03, 2016 2857