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Top Tips: How to Be the Best Charity Trustee

You’ve been appointed as a trustee. What are the first steps you should take to ensure you’re going to be a good addition to the board?

Explore the Charity Commission’s Guidance
Your starting place (whether you’re new or not!) should always be the Charity Commission. It is the body to which trustees are accountable and by which they are are regulated. As an initial step have a look at the commission’s guidance outlining the six key duties of trustees and explaining the legal responsibilities. This should be your first port of call for understanding the essential requirements of being a trustee.

Get Some Training
It is critical that trustees have the necessary skills to contribute fully to a board, so it’s a good idea to identify early on where there be might be gaps in your abilities. This isn’t about being an expert in every single element of running a charity – but trustees do need to ensure that they can maintain a general grasp of everything that’s going on.

Many boards run a skills analysis of new trustees, but it is always helpful to reflect first on where you might need support. As trustees progress through their board career, it’s useful to do regular self-appraisals, as well as encouraging the whole board to appraise itself annually as well. Self-appraisal will help trustees realise when it’s time to move on – another important element of being a good trustee.

Get a Mentor
One of the best steps you can take if you’re new to anything, not just a board, is to find yourself a mentor. At first, you may want to consider someone who is already on the board – a sympathetic ear to just sound check ideas with. If you’ve been a trustee for a while, however, and already know the organisation, it is worthwhile getting a mentor from a different board. That will allow you to compare experiences and seek best practice from elsewhere. Obviously, this doesn’t have to be formal – a coffee before a meeting or a drink afterwards will suffice. This is about networking with your peer group.

If you are already a trustee, then offer to mentor someone else – it’s always nice when a newbie enters the room and is offered support like this.

To view the full Guardian Voluntary Sector Network article click here.


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.


New Reporting Obligation to HMRC Affects Charities Making Grants

Those charities which receive more than half of their income from financial investments in any year need to check whether they have an obligation to report details of their grant recipients to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). If more than half of your charity’s income is from financial investments and those investments are managed for you in whole or in part by a broker, fund manager, independent financial adviser, or wealth manager then you may need to carry out checks on your grant recipients and make a report to HMRC to meet your obligations under the ‘Common Reporting Standard’.

The Common Reporting Standard is a global agreement to combat offshore tax evasion through the sharing of financial information between tax administrations. For more information on the Common Reporting Standard and the reporting requirements please refer to guidance issued by HMRC.

To read other Charity Commission news click here.

Want to keep up to date with all the Charity Commissions news, guidance and events? Make sure you’re following them on Twitter @ChtyCommission, LinkedIn, and sign up to their blog from their website.

Source: Charity Commission News Issue 56 – February 2017


Regulatory Alerts Issued For Fundraising Charities

The Charity Commission recently issued an alert to promote the new Charities Act fundraising rules, which came in to force on 1 November 2016. The new rules affect:

 the trustees’ annual reports of larger charities that fundraise from the public
 the agreements that must be in place when third party fundraisers raise money for charities

The changes will help charities demonstrate their commitment to protecting donors and the public from poor fundraising practices. The new law will also help to ensure that fundraising standards form part of the agreements between charities and any commercial participators or professional fundraisers with whom they work. Find out how your charity is affected by the new provisions, and when compliance with them is required. You can also look at Charity reporting and accounting: the essentials (CC15d) which have been updated to reflect the new requirements.

The Charity Commission also issued joint alerts with the Fundraising Regulator about the importance of following data protection law when handling donors’ personal information, and about complying with their legal trustee duties when working with third party fundraisers as set out in the Commission’s guidance Charity fundraising: a guide to trustee duties (CC20).

To read other Charity Commission news click here.

Want to keep up to date with all the Charity Commissions news, guidance and events? Make sure you’re following them on Twitter @ChtyCommission, LinkedIn, and sign up to their blog from their website.

Source: Charity Commission News Issue 56 – February 2017


Small Charities Lack Funds to Train Staff

New research launched today into skills gaps in the small charity sector shows small organisations lack the funding to train their workforce in key areas such as IT, working with the private sector and fund development.

The report ‘UK Small Charity Sector Skills Survey’ launched today by the Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI) surveyed 530 people and found skills areas with the poorest performance ratings include: engaging and working with businesses or companies (55%), strategic use of IT (49%), impact reporting (48%) and fundraising, specifically raising funds from major donors (67%), online (66%) and businesses (64%).

Lack of funding for training and development (61%) and lack of time available for employees to attend training (58%) were cited as the primary causes for all skills gaps within their small charity.

The main impacts of skills gaps identified were an increased workload for colleagues (59%), increased time to deliver work (46%) and decreased ability to take on new work (43%).

The report also showed within fundraising, major donor fundraising (67%), online fundraising (66%) and corporate fundraising (64%) were the top three categories in need of most upskilling by small charities.

Fundraisers were cited as the most challenging vacancy to recruit for, according to 28% of small charities surveyed. Salary (36%) was the most commonly cited barrier to why vacancies are hard to fill.

Pauline Broomhead, CEO at the FSI commented: “Our research launched today shows that small charities lack the vital funds they need to develop skills.

“We have four key recommendations from the research. First, that Government and other public funders take the lead by demonstrating long-term commitment to affordable skills development and capacity building. Secondly, that umbrella support bodies invest in delivering high quality and easily accessible learning opportunities that are tailored to a diverse audience of learners. Thirdly, that trustees understand the benefit and make a commitment to funding the development of skills within their organisations for trustees and finally staff and volunteers and that trustees and senior staff actively seek out opportunities to collaborate with one another and by so doing contribute to ensuring their long-term sustainability.

“We hope this survey demonstrates to the Government and other funders the need to support the development of skills across the sector.  It is only with an informed and skilled workforce, both staff and volunteers, that charities will become self-sustaining.”

To read the full report, click here.

Source: Charity Digital News


Expressions of Interest Invited by Walsall Council for former Library Buildings and Spaces

Walsall Council welcomes expressions of interest for alternative community use of former library buildings and library spaces from voluntary and community sector organisations, or several organisations working as a consortium.

Organisations should have the necessary expertise and imaginative proposals to take over the management of a former building or a former library space from the 14 August 2017 and make it available for use to the wider community. The primary use of the space must be non-commercial.

For further information and access to Expressions of Interest Forms, please click here.


Apps Crucial to Generation Z Donations, Survey Finds

A new study carried out by social payment app Moneymailme has found that that 72% of 18-25 year-olds would give to charity via a mobile app if given the chance.

The research also found that 48% of this generation believe physical money will be obsolete within 20 years so the ability to donate via apps will become key.

The research, which surveyed 1,000 18-25 year olds across the UK, known as Gen Z, revealed that young people prefer alternative methods of payments to cash, even for small purchases. Eight in ten (79%) say that they make purchases under £20 at least once a day, but when asked how they feel when faced with a ‘cash only’ sign at a bar or a shop nearly two thirds (62%) say that they felt frustrated. One in seven (14%) said that they would be frustrated enough to leave and go elsewhere.

Overall, 17% of those surveyed have a direct debit set up with charities of their choice and 12% regularly donate to disaster relief funds online.

Nearly three quarters (72%) say that they would donate small amounts of money on a mobile app, in real time, to charities around the world, representing a significant opportunity for the charity sector if it fully embraces digital. As well as feeling that money may become obsolete, 62% of those surveyed say they feel frustrated if they are forced to make purchases with cash.

Moneymailme CEO Mihai Ivascu said: “It’s clear that despite young people being on the lower end of the pay scale, they have a strong social conscience and a desire to help others. Technology is also incredibly important to this generation so they are keen to make charitable donations using the technology they already engage with on a daily basis. Even if it is just a small amount being donated, it soon adds up when so many people are engaged with supporting charity efforts in our increasingly globalised world.”

Source: Charity Digital News


One in Four Organisations Still Unprepared for GDPR

A quarter of marketers (26%) believe their organisations are still unprepared for the introduction of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), with just over half (56%) reporting that they feel prepared and 5% believing it’s not their responsibility.

In addition, just two-thirds (68%) of those asked said their business would be GDPR compliant in time for 2018, according to the second edition of the DMA’s ‘GDPR and you’ series of studies into the industry’s awareness and preparedness for the GDPR.

The results show that two-thirds of respondents (66%) have ‘good’ awareness – rising from 53% in June 2016 – and that marketers ‘personal’ feeling of preparedness has increased dramatically from 49% to 71%. However, there is still a clear need for urgency with many marketers not believing their businesses will be compliant before the new rules will come into place.

According to the research, over a third (37%) of marketers said profiling is one of their biggest concerns under GDPR, while half (50%) said it was legacy data and the runaway winner is consent with 70% agreeing that it would change under the GDPR. The result of these concerns is that the biggest priority for business are ‘conducting impact assessments’ (42%), ‘giving data subjects greater control of their data’ (36%) and ‘revising your data policy’ (31%). ‘Auditing your data privacy policy’ on the other hand has dropped from 39% to 30% since June 2016.

Chris Combemale, CEO of the DMA group, commented: “May 2018 should be a date that is in every marketer’s diary, giving us around 16 months before the GDPR comes into force. It is concerning that only half of our industry feels their businesses are prepared for the new rules and not that many more believe they will be ready in time. The finish line for GDPR readiness is fixed and the risk to businesses of not being compliant is significant. Our advice is to continue preparations in earnest over the coming year. Not making it across the line in time is not an option.”

To read the full article click here

Source: Charity Digital News


UK’s Digital Strategy Promises Skills Training for Millions

More than four million free digital skills training opportunities will be created as part of a Digital Strategy to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business and ensure our digital economy works for everyone.

A pioneering new Digital Skills Partnership will see Government, business, charities and voluntary organisations coming together to make sure people have the right skills for the jobs in their area and are aware of all the digital training opportunities on offer.

In total, four million free digital skills training ‘opportunities’ will be offered. The government will continue to work with partners to ensure that small businesses and charities have the skills they need to make the most of the digital economy.

Charities feature heavily in the Digital Strategy and some of the key initiatives announced include:

• Lloyds Banking Group, as part of its Helping Britain Prosper Plan, has pledged to train face-to-face 2.5 million individuals, SMEs and charities on digital skills, including internet banking, by 2020. The bank’s 23,000 Digital Champions currently work with digital skills charities to deliver digital skills training across the community where it is most needed. Lloyds also produces two important, large-scale annual reports (the Business Digital Index and the Consumer Digital Index), which track the digital capabilities of small businesses and charities, as well as the digital and financial capabilities of adults across the UK.
• The newly created Council for Digital Inclusion, which brings senior leaders from the private and charity sectors together with government, will be used to increase collaboration and deliver initiatives to help more citizens to confidently go online and take advantage of the internet.
• The role of libraries in improving digital inclusion will be developed to make them the ‘go-to’ provider of digital access, training and support for local communities. To do this we will work alongside national partners such as Good Things Foundation, who recently passed the milestone of having supported two million learners and aim to support an additional one million people to know the basics of the internet by 2020.
• Barclays will assist up to 1 million people with general digital skills and cyber awareness in 2017, grow its UK Eagle Lab network by up to 100 per cent, and teach basic coding to 45,000 children.

To read the full article click here

Source: Charity Digital News


Six Ways Charity Boards Can Make Their Workload Manageable

Is your board super busy? Top tips on sharing the burden: bring in specialist expertise, include more junior staff and work with service users.

People on voluntary sector boards have heavy workloads – so what’s the best way to share the burden? Sub-committees may not seem exciting, but, used properly, delegating tasks will help your board to be brilliant.

1. Let them delve into detail
Charity trustees often want to get involved in the nitty gritty. But in a busy board meeting, with a tight agenda, that can sometimes be a pain in the neck.

However, executives and trustees will still want to work together from time to time, to delve into detail. Sub-committees are the way to do this without taking precious time away from the primary board meeting. It’s a great way for charity staff to engage with trustees and vice versa, enabling trustees to gain a better understanding of the day-to-day issues affecting the charity while offering their own expertise.

2. Bring in specialists
If your board is proposing something new, controversial or risky, setting up a sub-committee is a clever way to use people who can bring in particular expertise but who, for whatever reason, do not want to or cannot be a full trustee.

Discussions of fundraising regulation have led to a mini governance crisis. It’s time to get trustees more involved with the day-to-day work of charities

It is also a good way to test whether people come up to scratch in terms of their style and expertise, giving you a bigger pool to choose from when recruiting for your main board.

You should also consider the “internal” outsider: someone already on your main board who is interested in a particular issue but is not an expert. They can be used as a sounding board (pun intended) and this is often a great way to test a proposal before presenting it to the rest of the board.

3. Don’t let sub-committees linger on pointlessly
It’s important to close any committee when it has run its course. For instance, you may set one up for a digital needs review and then close it when the review has been done. But committees can also evolve. Something that starts as a review of digital needs could turn into a committee that monitors the implementation of an organisational IT strategy, for instance.

To read the full Guardian article click here.

From: The Guardian – Voluntary Sector Network


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