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Email scammers turn their sights on youth football teams

Treasurers of community groups and small charities have been warned to be extremely wary after a youth football club was conned out of more than £28,000 by fraudsters using a fake email scam.

The Reading-based Laurel Park FC says it has had to suspend all planned spending, and the treasurer has resigned, after he was duped into making a series of payments to what he thought were companies undertaking work for the club. The scam started when he received what looked like a routine email from the chairman asking him to pay £7,000 to a supplier from the club’s Barclays account.

He had expected the request as the club, which operates 27 youth teams from playing fields on the edge of the town, was looking to spend money on its facilities. Only after he had made four payments – amounting to in excess of £28,000 into other Barclays accounts – did it emerge that the emails he’d received were false, and had come from a mocked-up lookalike account.
Barclays has washed its hands of the matter and refused to cover the losses, bar the £8.90 it says it was able to recover. The police have been similarly uninterested.

The club’s secretary says the episode has been devastating for those involved. He says the unnamed treasurer has even offered to sell his house to allow him to repay the club, although they are hoping they won’t have to take him up on the offer.

The case will send a shiver down the spine of anyone who acts as a treasurer for a club or charity. “We rely on volunteers to manage the day-to-day running, and our treasurer was just that – a volunteer doing his best”.

Read the full article from Guardian Voluntary Sector


Eat Well Spend Less

Brasshouse Community Centre is running a six week free course, learn how to cook and eat healthily on a budget. The sessions are from 10 am to 12.30 pm on Mondays.

If you wish to book a place on the course, please contact Hanna Nadershahi, the Volunteering Engagement Co-ordinator, on 0121 5555672.

Visit the website


Old Meets New As Contactless Payment Tech Added To Collection Devices

A new partnership is enabling charities to accept cashless charity donations via traditional-style collection boxes and buckets.

Charity collection box maker Angal has teamed up with cashless transaction provider Thyngs to incorporate QR/NFC technology into collection boxes and buckets, enabling charities to take card payments and Apple Pay donations as well as cash. The organisations say Android Pay and PayPal will follow later this year.

Supporters will be able to donate an amount of their choice using their smartphones, and the contactless technology will also allow Gift Aid declarations and remote monitoring of each collection device’s performance.

Lee Woodford, managing director of Angal said: “The Thyngs technology allows Angal to pioneer a safe and secure way for our clients to accept cashless donations. Supporters simply scan or tap their mobile phone on our collecting boxes and can donate in less than 15 seconds. This ease of use was one of the key reasons we joined up with Thyngs. Any boxes with the old FRSB tick logo will need replacing soon, so now is the perfect time to upgrade.”

The technology does come at a price though – the collection buckets and boxes will cost at least 60p more per unit, depending on the order volume. Thyngs, which takes a 2.5% fee on each donation in addition to any card-processing costs taken by payment processors, says a single £1 donation made using the technology will cover that cost.

Source: Charity Digital News


Charities urged to do more to protect themselves against cyber crime

Organisations large and small – including charities – are being urged to protect themselves against cyber crime after new Government statistics found nearly half of all UK organisations suffered a cyber breach or attack in the past 12 months.

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2017 reveals nearly seven in ten large organisations identified a breach or attack, with the average cost to large organisations of all breaches over the period being £20,000 and in some cases reaching millions. The survey also shows organisations holding electronic personal data on customers were much more likely to suffer cyber breaches than those that do not (51% compared to 37%).

The most common breaches or attacks were via fraudulent emails – for example coaxing staff into revealing passwords or financial information, or opening dangerous attachments – followed by viruses and malware, such as people impersonating the organisation online and ransomware.

Organisations also identified these common breaches as their single most disruptive breach, and the majority of them could have been prevented using the Government-backed, industry supported Cyber Essentials scheme, a source of expert guidance showing how to protect against these threats.

These new statistics show organisations across the UK are being targeted by cyber criminals every day and the scale and size of the threat is growing, which risks damaging profits and customer confidence.

The Government has committed to investing £1.9bn to protect the nation from cyber attacks to help make the UK the safest place to live and do business online.
Business also has a role to play to protect customer data. The government offers free advice, online training and Cyber Essentials and Cyber Aware schemes.

From Charitydigitalnews.co.uk


Great Bridge Alcohol Outreach Campaign

On 3, 4 & 5 May, 12 noon to 3 pm, James Wareham, Community Alcohol Awareness Officer for Tipton and Wednesbury, will be teaming up with colleagues from across Sandwell Council for the “Let’s Talk Alcohol in Sandwell” campaign on the High Street, Great Bridge.

Contributors include Glyn Parton: Neighbourhood Co-ordinator (West Bromwich), Nik J Wooldridge: Town Lead ASB Officer (Prevention), Katy Anderson: ASB Officer and Mark Bowhay: Senior Street Warden. Lydia Dunne: Project Manager, Community Alcohol Project, Children & Young Peoples Services will be also there, together with Sergeant David Rogers, Police Constable Claire Hankinson and Constable Angela Francis all from Tipton Police. Swanswell, the commissioned alcohol recovery service, will be delivering outreach from Great Bridge Library.

As part of the Public Health campaign, the contributors have created the “You Booze You Lose” three day drive which is aimed at engaging with street drinkers who have been the cause of some issues within Great Bridge. These issues have resulted in a number of incidents and complaints from local residents and shop owners. Swanswell will be working with street drinkers who have declared that they need help and will be attempting to set up each of them on a recovery plan.

An organised litter pick will also be taking place to help tackle the issue of alcohol related waste, as well as engaging with local members of the community.

Nash Dom CIC, the Eastern European and Russian speaking community support group, will participate on all three days. They offer independent, confidential and impartial advice on rights and responsibilities in a number of different European languages to reach out to the street drinkers whose first language is not English.


Auditions for Annual Talent show announced

Young performers are being urged take part in a series of auditions to claim a place in a popular Sandwell talent show. This year’s SHAPE Your Talent contest, supported by Sandwell Council’s Youth Service and the Library Service, is on the hunt for gifted young people who want to showcase their talents.

This could include singers, comedians, musicians, dancers, actors, poets and magicians.

Would-be stage stars can enter one of two categories – ages 8 to 13 and 14 to 19 with the winners each in line for a £500 prize.

Click here to see where audition heats will be held in May throughout Sandwell:

There are limited spaces at each of the auditions so places will be given on a first come, first served basis. Entrants may be asked to perform at an alternative venue if places are full.

Winners at each heat will go through to a public vote where members of the public can watch recordings of the auditions on the web and vote for their favourite.

Those with the most votes will then perform again at the final on Friday 30 June before judges at St Michaels School in Rowley Regis. As well as the two winners receiving £500 in each category there are also £100 prizes for second place and £50 for third.

The deadline for applications to audition is Friday 28 April. To register go to www.sandwell.gov.uk/shapeevents.

Entrants must either live, work or study in Sandwell and members of the public can watch the audition heats at Sandwell libraries for just £2 per ticket.

The talent show is part of Sandwell Council’s SHAPE programme; a series of events the council has organised after young people voiced their views on what activities they wanted. SHAPE stands for Sandwell Council’s five children and young people outcomes: staying safe, being healthy, achieving and enjoying, making a positive contribution and economic wellbeing.


Eleven Charities Fined for Data Protection Breaches

The Information Commissioner’s Office has fined eleven charities that breached the Data Protection Act by misusing donors’ personal data.

ICO investigations found many of the charities secretly screened millions of donors so they could target them for additional funds. Some charities traced and targeted new or lapsed donors by piecing together personal information obtained from other sources. And some traded personal details with other charities creating a large pool of donor data for sale.

A summary of how each charity breached the law can be found here.

The Information Commissioner has exercised her discretion in significantly reducing the level of today’s fines, taking into account the risk of adding to any distress caused to donors by the charities’ actions. The same approach was taken to fines issued to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (£25,000) and British Heart Foundation (£18,000) in December.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: “Millions of people will have been affected by these charities’ contravention of the law. They will be upset to learn the way their personal information has been analysed and shared by charities they trusted with their details and their donations.

To read the Charity Digital News article in full click here.


Instagram For Charities: How Can You Make The Most Of It?

More and more organisations are using Instagram to reach a wider audience. In 2013, a survey of 100 charities found that none of them had a presence on the popular image-sharing app. Since then, the number of charities using the platform has grown dramatically, and it has become a force to be reckoned with.

1) Why Should Your Charity Be on Instagram?
You need to be part of the conversation.

If your posts are topical, you have the potential to reach an extremely wide audience. Charities and nonprofits are often rich with compelling stories and imagery – Instagram is a great way to visually share and bring them to a new audience.
Reaching a wide audience.

Instagram is first and foremost a community-led platform – and the fastest growing one, too, with 600 million monthly users and counting. Instagram is a great platform to reach the next generation of supporters and donors – both millennials and Gen Z. In fact, 70% of all young millennials are on the platform.

Introduce yourself.
Instagram users tend to use the platform as a discovery tool – to find inspiration, engage with ideas, and find out new things. This provides a great opportunity for charities, especially as most of the content in people’s Instagram feeds is from people they don’t know, making it the perfect place to introduce your organisation or cause to a new audience.

2) What Content Should You Be Sharing?
Built for mobile.

Images that work best are compelling, consistent, and tell the viewer everything they need to know in one frame. It doesn’t have to cost the earth, either – Instagram is built for mobile, so images taken on a smartphone work well. It’s worth A/B testing different types of content to see what resonates with your audience.

Be recognisable.

Well-crafted images help drive engagement – it is essential to have your brand incorporated somehow in most images, whether its your product, a logo, a colour, or your name. This is important because people can ‘regram’ your image from their own accounts, which is fantastic in terms of reaching new audiences. However, you don’t want to lose any brand cache, so the image should have strong branding, if possible.

Keep it real.

According to Instagram, in 2016, being amusing is the top attribute millennials associate with content they like to follow (57%), followed by creative content (52%), beautiful content (48%) and inspiring content (43%). But remember – don’t force it! It’s also important to be authentic.

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.


Roll-Out Of New Pound Coin Provides Digital Opportunity For Charities

A number of charities have rolled out social media focused fundraising campaigns designed to capitalise on the introduction of the new £1 coin (released on 28 March 2017).

Numerous charities have turned to the #PoundforPound hashtag to encourage donations of the new, or old for that matter, coins.

The Institute of Fundraising (IoF), in a blog post on its website, points out that fundraising campaigns like this have been successful before – just last year, the #firstfiver and #fivergiver campaigns reportedly raised £12.5m.

“The launch of the new £1 coin is likely to provide similar opportunities for charities to invite their supporters to give generously to the causes they care about,” the blog added.

“It’s estimated that over one third of the £1.3bn worth of coins stored in piggy banks or jam jars around the UK, are the current £1 style. Government research suggests that that 5% of the public would consider donating their old £1 coins to a charity when they cash them in.”

The IoF has been working with the Royal Mint and others to encourage people to donate their old pound coins when they receive a new one, raising awareness using the hashtag #PoundforPound.

As well as the initial launch of the new coin, there is also scope for charities to think about how they might organise their fundraising activities and campaigns during the transition period over the summer as people become more aware that the old £1 will be taken out of circulation in October 2017.

Macmillan, St Margaret’s Hospice, Action for Children and Thames Hospice are just some of the charities that have turned to social media today to use the new coin’s roll-out to their benefit.

Charities are also being reminded of the need to update collection boxes, money counting machines and other tech to ensure compliance with the new coin.

Source: Charity Digital News


Jigsaw’s Fundraising Balti Evening

Jigsaw increases community inclusion by offering social opportunities for people with a learning disability living in Sandwell and Dudley. It organises a range of trips, outings, regular activities and one-off events.

Jigsaw has arranged a Fundraiser Balti Evening on Thursday, 27 April from 7.30 pm. The organisers would like to extend an invitation to anyone who wishes to join them. The venue is the Alachi International Restaurant, 126 High Gate Street, Cradley Heath B64 5RU. Tickets are £14 in advance or £15 on the door.

 Raffle and quiz!
 Donations of raffle prizes welcomed
 No drinks are included but there is a licensed bar
 Free parking in front and at the side of the restaurant

If you would like to be part of this fun social evening, contact Liz, Bill, Aldo or Michelle on 0121 559 9197 or email jigsaw@phonecoop.coop. At the same time, please advise of any special dietary requirements.

 


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