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  • 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   
    3612 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 3612
  • 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 
    6094 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 6094
  • 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      
    4036 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 4036
  • 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.
    5867 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 5867
  • 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   
    1025 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 1025
  • 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  
    2701 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 2701
  • 19 Sep 2016
    How to obtain, train and retain good trustees. Non-profit organisations, as you will know, really struggle to recruit good trustees: trustees who are fully engaged, know how they can make a difference and where they fit into the organisation. Recruiting new trustees is about getting the right people. Training trustees is about growing the right people. Retaining trustees is about engaging the right people. Recruiting A recent figure from the UK governing bodies showed that 47 per cent of organisations have a vacancy for a trustee at any given time. This matches my experience of working with non-profit organisations in general, and trustees in particular. So, how do you recruit a trustee who is the right fit for your organisation? Many organisations naturally look to their supporters, service users, family, friends and colleagues as a first step. However, this can be difficult, especially if the potential trustee is known to you, as they will be expected to question and challenge the status quo! Is that going to be uncomfortable? Organisations which have trustees with long-term involvement who are not prepared to ask those challenging questions will run into problems. You know the famous saying – never work with family and friends! You will, of course, have to consider your networks, but before that, map out and be clear about what skills are missing from your existing trustees, and what is needed to drive your organisation forward, e.g. operations, finance, HR, third sector, communications or legal. Compare your organisation’s priorities with an assessment of your existing  trustees’ skills. Why not ask your existing board members what motivated them to join? Try to create a trustee advert that reflects this feedback. Many people will not understand what a trustee is – help them by explaining in your advert the key skills and responsibilities needed to fulfil the role. Training An induction programme is a clear and simple way to provide your newest trustee with all the information they need to be confident and productive in their role. So make sure you have a role description document which sets out the trustee’s purpose and main duties. Your induction programme can last for a few weeks or months; to find out more about what should be included, click here: http://charitypeeks.com/charity-trustee-induction/ Retaining What would make you stay interested and engaged in an organisation? Here are some points to bear in mind: Good communication – making sure trustees communicate and support one another. Provide papers for board meetings well in advance and take extra time to prepare a new trustee so that they are aware of the background of certain agenda items. Encourage and motivate trustees by thanking them for their support and contribution – they are often the forgotten volunteers! Remember that without trustees you will struggle to drive your organisation forward, and governance will get lost in the ‘to-do’ list. After a few months it is worth reviewing the process – ask your trustee how they are settling in to the role and if there’s any more you can do to support them, and remember to ask their opinions on how things could work better. 8 Top Tips Make sure you have an honest role description. Identify gaps in your current board. Create an advert that promotes those areas of expertise. Sell the role in an honest way – could you do an interview with existing trustees? Create an induction pack that helps trustees to understand their key duties. Make sure they meet the staff, volunteers and beneficiaries to engage with the work of the organisation. Assign a ‘board member buddy’ that they can ask questions to outside of board meetings. Review how your trustees are settling into their role: ask how the process has been for them, and what could be done better or differently in the future.   Caroline is a Charity Leader, Trustee and Consultant. Her passion lies in helping not-for-profit organisations grow. She is the owner of Charity Peeks, an organisation designed to inspire and educate charity and social enterprise leaders. With 25 years of business experience, Caroline helps Trustees and Managers to have clarity on what they need to do in their organisation to deliver results. Her energy for supporting organisations to build trust and be open and transparent shines through in her training seminars, speaking roles and consultancy work. Why not join the Charity Peeks facebook group? It's free and full of hints and tips for manager and trustees, just click here to join   Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    Why a newsletter?NCVO, FSI, Sported & SCC offer free Localgiving membershipsStorytelling Tips for CharitiesHow Google Grants can provide £78,000 to your Charity  
    2060 Posted by Caroline Mckenna
  • How to obtain, train and retain good trustees. Non-profit organisations, as you will know, really struggle to recruit good trustees: trustees who are fully engaged, know how they can make a difference and where they fit into the organisation. Recruiting new trustees is about getting the right people. Training trustees is about growing the right people. Retaining trustees is about engaging the right people. Recruiting A recent figure from the UK governing bodies showed that 47 per cent of organisations have a vacancy for a trustee at any given time. This matches my experience of working with non-profit organisations in general, and trustees in particular. So, how do you recruit a trustee who is the right fit for your organisation? Many organisations naturally look to their supporters, service users, family, friends and colleagues as a first step. However, this can be difficult, especially if the potential trustee is known to you, as they will be expected to question and challenge the status quo! Is that going to be uncomfortable? Organisations which have trustees with long-term involvement who are not prepared to ask those challenging questions will run into problems. You know the famous saying – never work with family and friends! You will, of course, have to consider your networks, but before that, map out and be clear about what skills are missing from your existing trustees, and what is needed to drive your organisation forward, e.g. operations, finance, HR, third sector, communications or legal. Compare your organisation’s priorities with an assessment of your existing  trustees’ skills. Why not ask your existing board members what motivated them to join? Try to create a trustee advert that reflects this feedback. Many people will not understand what a trustee is – help them by explaining in your advert the key skills and responsibilities needed to fulfil the role. Training An induction programme is a clear and simple way to provide your newest trustee with all the information they need to be confident and productive in their role. So make sure you have a role description document which sets out the trustee’s purpose and main duties. Your induction programme can last for a few weeks or months; to find out more about what should be included, click here: http://charitypeeks.com/charity-trustee-induction/ Retaining What would make you stay interested and engaged in an organisation? Here are some points to bear in mind: Good communication – making sure trustees communicate and support one another. Provide papers for board meetings well in advance and take extra time to prepare a new trustee so that they are aware of the background of certain agenda items. Encourage and motivate trustees by thanking them for their support and contribution – they are often the forgotten volunteers! Remember that without trustees you will struggle to drive your organisation forward, and governance will get lost in the ‘to-do’ list. After a few months it is worth reviewing the process – ask your trustee how they are settling in to the role and if there’s any more you can do to support them, and remember to ask their opinions on how things could work better. 8 Top Tips Make sure you have an honest role description. Identify gaps in your current board. Create an advert that promotes those areas of expertise. Sell the role in an honest way – could you do an interview with existing trustees? Create an induction pack that helps trustees to understand their key duties. Make sure they meet the staff, volunteers and beneficiaries to engage with the work of the organisation. Assign a ‘board member buddy’ that they can ask questions to outside of board meetings. Review how your trustees are settling into their role: ask how the process has been for them, and what could be done better or differently in the future.   Caroline is a Charity Leader, Trustee and Consultant. Her passion lies in helping not-for-profit organisations grow. She is the owner of Charity Peeks, an organisation designed to inspire and educate charity and social enterprise leaders. With 25 years of business experience, Caroline helps Trustees and Managers to have clarity on what they need to do in their organisation to deliver results. Her energy for supporting organisations to build trust and be open and transparent shines through in her training seminars, speaking roles and consultancy work. Why not join the Charity Peeks facebook group? It's free and full of hints and tips for manager and trustees, just click here to join   Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    Why a newsletter?NCVO, FSI, Sported & SCC offer free Localgiving membershipsStorytelling Tips for CharitiesHow Google Grants can provide £78,000 to your Charity  
    Sep 19, 2016 2060
  • 15 Sep 2016
    Blogging, newsletters, vlogging, online marketing, hashtags, tweeting, snapchatting....connecting with people these days seems to have developed a language of its own. As a small charity it’s easy to feel drowned by the very idea of trying to market your cause, and you’d be forgiven for thinking you need a degree in social media to even start. As a small organisation with a small team, but with a big heart and even bigger aspirations for our work in our community, we decided to launch a newsletter. Why? As a small community group in Manchester passionate about our role, we had over the years built up a core of supporters. We felt a duty to let them know their support was valid and contributed to our ongoing work which continued to be rewarding. It was the simplest way to reach out to our baseline supporters and also, an opportunity for supporters to choose us! Offering individuals and companies to be added to our mailing list means that you give them the choice to find out more and the peace of mind that they are already interested in what you do. And those then receiving your newsletter are more likely to pass it on to like minded people. Since our first newsletter, we have been offered to write guest blogs, approached by local media and increased traffic to our website. So it does work! Here is what to do next. How to start your newsletter Do you know that clipboard of email addresses you collect when you’re networking or holding events? Yes that one that may be a bit dog eared or crying out to be added onto your email account. It starts with that. The people that have given their email addresses are already interested in what you are doing.  So dust it off, switch on your computer and create a list Write. Sounds simple right? The problem is in our brains, maybe we think we’re not great writers or we feel that we don’t have what it takes to engage our audience. Start with a list of what your charity has done in the last month/quarter List what you have planned for the next month/quarter Embellish the lists with your motivations/feelings around your activities. Are you particularly proud of a project/achievement? Did an experience move you emotionally? Are you passionate about any particular aspect? Tell your audience! Acknowledge your supporters. Thank them for their contributions. There’s nothing like feeling valued. Call to action: What is going on in your organisation which needs the further support of your followers? Maybe a fundraising campaign or a callout for volunteers Trust yourself; your work is valid and authentic: get that across in your newsletters and you will connect with the right people As an exercise itself, writing the newsletter is a useful reflective tool and confidence booster. It’s often amazing to actually write down all the great stuff you have done and are yet planning to do to re-affirm your own dedication to your cause. Be positive. When you start, great things happen. Remember if you don’t tell people they won’t know. Be heard! Start today.   Aisha Malik is a medical doctor and co-founder of Capoeira Conviver Community Group and Manchester Capoeira Academy. The group has been offering Brazilian Dance-Martial Arts classes in inner city Manchester since 2007, and has gone strength to strength opening a new space this year and being featured on That's Manchester TV. Capoeira Conviver continues to hold classes and provide outreach work, promoting health, well being, fitness and embracing diversity throughout the arts.   Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack 5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha How to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield  
    1804 Posted by Aisha Malik
  • Blogging, newsletters, vlogging, online marketing, hashtags, tweeting, snapchatting....connecting with people these days seems to have developed a language of its own. As a small charity it’s easy to feel drowned by the very idea of trying to market your cause, and you’d be forgiven for thinking you need a degree in social media to even start. As a small organisation with a small team, but with a big heart and even bigger aspirations for our work in our community, we decided to launch a newsletter. Why? As a small community group in Manchester passionate about our role, we had over the years built up a core of supporters. We felt a duty to let them know their support was valid and contributed to our ongoing work which continued to be rewarding. It was the simplest way to reach out to our baseline supporters and also, an opportunity for supporters to choose us! Offering individuals and companies to be added to our mailing list means that you give them the choice to find out more and the peace of mind that they are already interested in what you do. And those then receiving your newsletter are more likely to pass it on to like minded people. Since our first newsletter, we have been offered to write guest blogs, approached by local media and increased traffic to our website. So it does work! Here is what to do next. How to start your newsletter Do you know that clipboard of email addresses you collect when you’re networking or holding events? Yes that one that may be a bit dog eared or crying out to be added onto your email account. It starts with that. The people that have given their email addresses are already interested in what you are doing.  So dust it off, switch on your computer and create a list Write. Sounds simple right? The problem is in our brains, maybe we think we’re not great writers or we feel that we don’t have what it takes to engage our audience. Start with a list of what your charity has done in the last month/quarter List what you have planned for the next month/quarter Embellish the lists with your motivations/feelings around your activities. Are you particularly proud of a project/achievement? Did an experience move you emotionally? Are you passionate about any particular aspect? Tell your audience! Acknowledge your supporters. Thank them for their contributions. There’s nothing like feeling valued. Call to action: What is going on in your organisation which needs the further support of your followers? Maybe a fundraising campaign or a callout for volunteers Trust yourself; your work is valid and authentic: get that across in your newsletters and you will connect with the right people As an exercise itself, writing the newsletter is a useful reflective tool and confidence booster. It’s often amazing to actually write down all the great stuff you have done and are yet planning to do to re-affirm your own dedication to your cause. Be positive. When you start, great things happen. Remember if you don’t tell people they won’t know. Be heard! Start today.   Aisha Malik is a medical doctor and co-founder of Capoeira Conviver Community Group and Manchester Capoeira Academy. The group has been offering Brazilian Dance-Martial Arts classes in inner city Manchester since 2007, and has gone strength to strength opening a new space this year and being featured on That's Manchester TV. Capoeira Conviver continues to hold classes and provide outreach work, promoting health, well being, fitness and embracing diversity throughout the arts.   Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack 5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha How to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield  
    Sep 15, 2016 1804
  • 31 Aug 2016
    Alex Swallow is The Influence Expert, helping you to grow your influence to increase the impact that you have on the world. He is also the Founder of Young Charity Trustees and the owner of the Social Good Six interview series. He is the previous Chief Executive of the Small Charities Coalition and maintains a keen interest in the work of small charities. Having only worked in the charity sector at small charities and having been the Chief Executive of a support organisation for small charities, I know the pressure that you are under. Pressure to gain supporters behind your cause, get in enough money and cope in a challenging environment. There are three things that I’d recommend: Don’t fight alone, value your work and grow your influence.   Don’t fight alone I hope that you are already getting help from other people. This post that I wrote for Small Charity Week last year explains some of the help that you can get. You need to get all the support that you can, including bringing in new Trustees and other volunteers if you feel that you need new skills, experience or ideas. Trustees’ Week is coming up in November and is an ideal time to recruit. Value your work I hope that you are proud of the work that you do. However, it is likely that you don’t get enough recognition for it. Many small charities are not in the public spotlight despite doing amazing things for parts of society where no-one else really helps. I’m a supporter of Good News Shared- you can send them your stories if you would like to get a bit of attention! However you do it, you need to find a way to make sure that you are proud of your work because then you will be able to engage other people in what you are doing. Plus, being proud will be good motivation for you in those lonely hours when you are slogging away trying to make the world a better place. Also, this talk that I gave for The Media Trust shows why small charities should be excited about some of the opportunities that the online world now provides. Remember, among all the challenges there are lots of possibilities to take advantage of too. Grow your influence This article gives a comprehensive discussion of what I mean by influence. As a small charity you might not always be able to compete with the big boys all the time, but you can certainly punch above your weight. To have the impact that you want you need to find the appropriate ways to influence the world around you. In this speech that I gave earlier this year at an international charity conference, I outline some of those ways. Using a model called the LEAPS Model, featured in the video, I show how you can grow your influence as an individual, or apply the same concepts to an organisation. If you can effectively grow your influence you have the chance to achieve all of the things that you need to make sure that your charity not only survives, but thrives. I thank you for your important work and hope that the three principles I have outlined help you get to where you want to be. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:   5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha The Refugee Crisis: make a difference on your doorstep by Lewis GarlandGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan HatfieldDon’t save your pitch for the elevator by Emma Beeston  
    22269 Posted by Alex Swallow
  • Alex Swallow is The Influence Expert, helping you to grow your influence to increase the impact that you have on the world. He is also the Founder of Young Charity Trustees and the owner of the Social Good Six interview series. He is the previous Chief Executive of the Small Charities Coalition and maintains a keen interest in the work of small charities. Having only worked in the charity sector at small charities and having been the Chief Executive of a support organisation for small charities, I know the pressure that you are under. Pressure to gain supporters behind your cause, get in enough money and cope in a challenging environment. There are three things that I’d recommend: Don’t fight alone, value your work and grow your influence.   Don’t fight alone I hope that you are already getting help from other people. This post that I wrote for Small Charity Week last year explains some of the help that you can get. You need to get all the support that you can, including bringing in new Trustees and other volunteers if you feel that you need new skills, experience or ideas. Trustees’ Week is coming up in November and is an ideal time to recruit. Value your work I hope that you are proud of the work that you do. However, it is likely that you don’t get enough recognition for it. Many small charities are not in the public spotlight despite doing amazing things for parts of society where no-one else really helps. I’m a supporter of Good News Shared- you can send them your stories if you would like to get a bit of attention! However you do it, you need to find a way to make sure that you are proud of your work because then you will be able to engage other people in what you are doing. Plus, being proud will be good motivation for you in those lonely hours when you are slogging away trying to make the world a better place. Also, this talk that I gave for The Media Trust shows why small charities should be excited about some of the opportunities that the online world now provides. Remember, among all the challenges there are lots of possibilities to take advantage of too. Grow your influence This article gives a comprehensive discussion of what I mean by influence. As a small charity you might not always be able to compete with the big boys all the time, but you can certainly punch above your weight. To have the impact that you want you need to find the appropriate ways to influence the world around you. In this speech that I gave earlier this year at an international charity conference, I outline some of those ways. Using a model called the LEAPS Model, featured in the video, I show how you can grow your influence as an individual, or apply the same concepts to an organisation. If you can effectively grow your influence you have the chance to achieve all of the things that you need to make sure that your charity not only survives, but thrives. I thank you for your important work and hope that the three principles I have outlined help you get to where you want to be. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:   5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha The Refugee Crisis: make a difference on your doorstep by Lewis GarlandGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan HatfieldDon’t save your pitch for the elevator by Emma Beeston  
    Aug 31, 2016 22269
  • 08 Aug 2016
    If your local charity doesn’t send a regular email newsletter, you’re probably missing a trick. And did you know that email newsletters can also help you with your local promotion and publicity? The importance of email Email is used by over 75% of UK adults, with the vast majority using it every week. This makes it still more popular than all social media platforms put together (60-65% of adults). Although we may complain about getting too many emails, we do appreciate hearing from organisations we like. If you’re able to collect a supporter’s email address, it’s better for you than if they ‘like’ you on Facebook or ‘follow’ you on Twitter. Email gives you permission to get your message directly into their inbox. Your subscribers are likely to see your email (even if they choose not to open it). In contrast, they may well not see your Facebook post as Facebook doesn’t always show your post to everyone who likes your page. Your Twitter followers are also likely to miss your tweets if they’re not using Twitter around the time you tweet. Businesses regularly report that email gives them the highest payback out of all the marketing methods they use. Writing a great email newsletter Write a good subject title and compose a couple of ‘stories’ for your email newsletter. Start with the story that is likely to be the most relevant and interesting. Good subject titles are titles which make people want to open your email. Avoid titles such as 'March e-newsletter' as this isn't compelling. Use titles such as '3 things that inspired us this month'. Because an email newsletter tool allows people to unsubscribe if they’re not enjoying your newsletter, you can relax. You know that you’re writing for people who want to hear from you. So write your emails as you would write to a friend. Using an email newsletter tool I recommend using an email newsletter tool that's designed for bulk emailing, instead of using your personal email account. An email newsletter tool will make your emails look better, allowing you to include images in-line with the text. It will allow you to send all your emails at once, make sure they all get safely delivered, and show you statistics on who has opened your emails. It will also make it easy for people to sign up to your emails and, just as importantly, to unsubscribe.  But email newsletter tools can sometimes be hard to use. Most have been designed for marketing professionals, rather than for volunteers or those of us for whom digital marketing is only a tiny fraction of our role.  That’s why we’ve built one that’s as easy to use as your own email account. Our email tool is for small charities and community groups who don’t have a dedicated marketing person. We've made it simple, stripping out all the unnecessary advanced features. We’ve also made it easy to re-use and share whatever you write for your email newsletter instantly on social media. This means you don’t need to write anything twice, and you’re always encouraging people to subscribe to your email list. Joining an email newsletter network An email newsletter network such as interests.me can help you get extra local publicity and awareness. Your charity joins an email newsletter network together with other local groups and charities. Then, any stories you want to share become available for other groups to use in their own emails. Local networks have their own website, where local charities can share stories. An example is Woking.interests.me in Surrey. You can also share other groups’ stories in your emails. If you're worried that you might not have enough to say in your emails, this helps you build up your content and collaborate with other local groups. If there isn’t an interests.me newsletter network in your area, email me at helen@interests.me to find out how to create one! Our networks are often co-ordinated and promoted by Councils for Voluntary Service or Libraries in a local area. Helen Cammack is one of the founders of interests.me, after she found herself frustrated with spending too much time on managing the communications for local non profit organisations. She believes every organisation, no matter how small, deserves great digital tools. Previously Helen worked at Virgin Media and founded a deals email business called Buyometric. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:   The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina  How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar4 Steps to the perfect charity VideoHow Small charities can overcome barriers to brand investment    
    1013 Posted by Helen Cammack
  • If your local charity doesn’t send a regular email newsletter, you’re probably missing a trick. And did you know that email newsletters can also help you with your local promotion and publicity? The importance of email Email is used by over 75% of UK adults, with the vast majority using it every week. This makes it still more popular than all social media platforms put together (60-65% of adults). Although we may complain about getting too many emails, we do appreciate hearing from organisations we like. If you’re able to collect a supporter’s email address, it’s better for you than if they ‘like’ you on Facebook or ‘follow’ you on Twitter. Email gives you permission to get your message directly into their inbox. Your subscribers are likely to see your email (even if they choose not to open it). In contrast, they may well not see your Facebook post as Facebook doesn’t always show your post to everyone who likes your page. Your Twitter followers are also likely to miss your tweets if they’re not using Twitter around the time you tweet. Businesses regularly report that email gives them the highest payback out of all the marketing methods they use. Writing a great email newsletter Write a good subject title and compose a couple of ‘stories’ for your email newsletter. Start with the story that is likely to be the most relevant and interesting. Good subject titles are titles which make people want to open your email. Avoid titles such as 'March e-newsletter' as this isn't compelling. Use titles such as '3 things that inspired us this month'. Because an email newsletter tool allows people to unsubscribe if they’re not enjoying your newsletter, you can relax. You know that you’re writing for people who want to hear from you. So write your emails as you would write to a friend. Using an email newsletter tool I recommend using an email newsletter tool that's designed for bulk emailing, instead of using your personal email account. An email newsletter tool will make your emails look better, allowing you to include images in-line with the text. It will allow you to send all your emails at once, make sure they all get safely delivered, and show you statistics on who has opened your emails. It will also make it easy for people to sign up to your emails and, just as importantly, to unsubscribe.  But email newsletter tools can sometimes be hard to use. Most have been designed for marketing professionals, rather than for volunteers or those of us for whom digital marketing is only a tiny fraction of our role.  That’s why we’ve built one that’s as easy to use as your own email account. Our email tool is for small charities and community groups who don’t have a dedicated marketing person. We've made it simple, stripping out all the unnecessary advanced features. We’ve also made it easy to re-use and share whatever you write for your email newsletter instantly on social media. This means you don’t need to write anything twice, and you’re always encouraging people to subscribe to your email list. Joining an email newsletter network An email newsletter network such as interests.me can help you get extra local publicity and awareness. Your charity joins an email newsletter network together with other local groups and charities. Then, any stories you want to share become available for other groups to use in their own emails. Local networks have their own website, where local charities can share stories. An example is Woking.interests.me in Surrey. You can also share other groups’ stories in your emails. If you're worried that you might not have enough to say in your emails, this helps you build up your content and collaborate with other local groups. If there isn’t an interests.me newsletter network in your area, email me at helen@interests.me to find out how to create one! Our networks are often co-ordinated and promoted by Councils for Voluntary Service or Libraries in a local area. Helen Cammack is one of the founders of interests.me, after she found herself frustrated with spending too much time on managing the communications for local non profit organisations. She believes every organisation, no matter how small, deserves great digital tools. Previously Helen worked at Virgin Media and founded a deals email business called Buyometric. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:   The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina  How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar4 Steps to the perfect charity VideoHow Small charities can overcome barriers to brand investment    
    Aug 08, 2016 1013