March 2016

Monthly Archives

Wednesbury Retired Men’s Club

Retired Mens ClubTell us what you do
The purpose of the club is to get retired people to be active, have something to do and socialise. We play snooker on weekday afternoons and everyone has a good laugh. We also do occasional trips to the seaside for a nice day out.

What is your proudest achievement?
Getting people to enjoy themselves is always good to see. It’s important that retired people have something to do and a place where they can go to have fun. Seeing one of our members with osteoarthritis start to play snooker again after he thought he couldn’t anymore was lovely.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO (if relevant)?
We have not had any experience with SCVO before.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
People sometimes need a bit of encouragement to get out of the house. The club exists so that retired folk have somewhere to go and everyone is very friendly.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We just want to keep the club going. If we can help people and give them an enjoyable afternoon then that makes it all worthwhile. We recovered the tables ourselves by watching an instructional DVD so that saves money as obviously you have to keep costs down.  If we don’t save money like that then the club would fold.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
By advertising the club so that we get more members. All retired men are welcome!
For more information please ring the Wesley Centre for All on 0121 5560420 and ask for Les Green.

Sandwell Voluntary Sector Pay Survey

salary surveySCVO are this month conducting the first ever survey into pay in Sandwell’s Voluntary and Community Sector. Almost a third of our local Sector organisations use paid staff to deliver their support services, but organisations often find challenges in setting rates of pay for staff.

It is hoped that the findings of the survey will shed light on current levels of pay for different roles across our diverse sector, which will support organisations in benchmarking for comparable roles, as well as setting the record straight on salaries for higher-paid roles following recent negative publicity in the national press.

Organisations can complete the survey anonymously and individual responses will be kept strictly confidential. The survey will run until the end of April and the findings of the survey will be shared through our website shortly after.

The survey can be accessed here:

If you’ve got any queries relating to the survey, please contact Leona Bird, Strategic Engagement Officer at SCVO on 0121 525 1127 or e-mail

Trusthouse Charitable Foundation

Trusthouse Charitable FoundationTrusthouse gives grants for running costs or one-off capital costs to charities and not-for-profit organisations in accordance with criteria that are regularly reviewed and decided by the Trustees.

The current areas of focus are:
• Rural Issues – applications that address issues in rural areas e.g. projects that provide transport for the elderly, disabled or disadvantaged; employment training schemes etc;
• Urban Deprivation – applications that are working with residents of urban areas e.g. youth clubs, training schemes for young people etc.

More information at:

It’s Time for Charities To Stop Wasting Money on Social Media

Social MediaSocial media has changed the world. It has changed how we access information, communicate with our friends and it has changed how charities raise awareness and fundraise. In fact, most charities now spend countless hours and money investing in their social media channels and it is time to stop.

A recent report found that entrepreneurs say social media is a waste of time, with no discernible impact on their sales, and I believe the same could be said for charities.

In theory, social media connects you to over a billion people who are active on Facebook or 320 million on Twitter. But in reality it’s far fewer than that.

Hardly anyone sees what people are posting
Facebook’s newsfeed now only shows the posts it thinks are most relevant to its users, so messages may only reach 2.6% of a charity’s audience. On average, a tweet only reaches around 10% of followers, and the average click-through rate for a link on Twitter is around 1.6%. So it is likely that just a small fraction of the public will see the posts or make it to the charity’s website.

If that tiny audience is more likely to do the things that truly matter to the charity in question, then maybe this small reach is OK, but the problem is they often don’t. Social media traffic has a high bounce rate, which means that even if people do click through on a post or tweet most are going to leave the charity’s website immediately.

I’m not suggesting charities should immediately shut down their social media accounts, especially if they have checked the data and confirmed it works for them. Instead, they need to think carefully about how resources are allocated. What if they reallocated the same people, money and effort into places that are proven to reach the audience who need the charity most?

Get to grips with Google
One way to improve might be to dedicate resources to search engine optimisation (SEO). The public turn to Google rather than social media when they want information, including giving and receiving help. This is evident from the 3.5bn Google searches that happen every day, searches that now include Twitter content in the results.

By Matt Collins – Guardian Voluntary Sector Network

To read the full article visit:

If You Like It, You Should Put a Price on It

PriceHow often do we think of economics as a tool that can help solve every day social problems? Not that much I guess. Yet, economics is about almost everything that people do. And sometimes we can see elegant solutions to very complex social problems that affect ordinary people in their everyday lives that were designed by economists.

I’d like to share a story of how economists designed a whole new market for one hunger-relief charity and united those on the left and the right politically on the way.

It’s 2005 and we are in the US, where Feeding America, one of the largest charities, is allocating more than 60,000 tons of food donated each year to its food banks nationwide. This large network of food banks in the States managed to build an impressive number of food manufacturers as donors, and yet the charity was struggling to supply all of its food banks. The question was why?

This is how the system worked:
The charity allocated food centrally. Headquarters would call up the food banks in a priority order and offer them a truckload of food. Oddly, all food was treated equally regardless of its nutritious value, so a pound of beef was the same as a pound of cucumbers. Once a food bank accepted the truck offer, it paid for the transportation and had a truck sent to it. In cases when an offer was refused, headquarters would consider this food bank a low priority.

There were almost no rejections. Even if you have plenty of cereal already, you would rather accept another truck of it than be pushed down to a low priority list and wonder when there will be a next call. That is because food banks received on average 20% of their supplies from Feeding America, and did not want to risk losing 20% of their supply.

From: nfpSynergy
To read the full article:

Barchester Healthcare Foundation

BarchesterGrants of up to £5,000 are available to small local groups/charities to improve the quality of life for older people as well as adults with a physical or mental disability, where health and/or social care needs cannot be met by the statutory public sector or by the individual.

There are no deadlines and applications can be submitted at any time.

More information at:

A Quick Guide To Writing a Fundraising Strategy

Quick GuideThe first important component is to have a vision of what you want the strategy to achieve and which is feasible, says Michelle Chambers, managing director at Think, a consultancy dedicated to not-for-profit fundraising.

“For lots of organisations their vision might be to beat cancer or alleviate suffering, but a fundraising vision needs a monetary figure they want to achieve over the period of the strategy,” says Chambers.

To develop that vision organisations need to think about the present: what challenges they face, and the past: what has worked and what hasn’t.

“External and internal audits are really important to understand current strengths, weaknesses and threats to fundraising in the short and long term,” says Janine Edwards, who delivers fundraising strategy training and consultancy at the Foundation for Social Improvement. Edwards also notes the importance of knowing what changes are happening in the external environment that might pose a threat.
Consider the risks involved with fundraising techniques

There are many threats – what with negative press coverage, budget cuts and regulatory changes – and fundraising has taken a hit. So what can organisations do to mitigate risk?

Chambers warns there is no point developing a strategy without having recent media coverage and the fundraising review in mind, and emphasises the importance of being reactive.

“All charities, particularly those with a high element of individual giving, like direct mail, face-to-face or door-to-door, need to react quickly. Strategies should cover a shorter time period than before – three years or less,” says Chambers.

Ian Wilson, head of fundraising at Alzheimer’s Research UK, where income has risen 22% in a year, advocates having the right foundations in place. Wilson suggests having a vulnerable persons policy, as well as close alignment of different departments, particularly communications and fundraising, in order to react well to changes in the current fundraising climate.

From The Guardian Voluntary Sector Network
To read the full article visit:

The People’s Orchestra’s Fourth Birthday Concert

post - people's orchestra logoIt is the fourth birthday of The People’s Orchestra this April and they are throwing a big concert at West Bromwich Town Hall. The Orchestra have recently added to their repertoire, with even more popular scores from great movies, old and new, by some of the greatest film composers.

A very special piece has also been composed for The People’s Orchestra by famous composer and arranger, John Altman, with support from Creative Black Country for the commission. “All at C” will have its debut performance at the fourth Birthday concert and they are very excited to be part of its premier. The piece will also prominently feature saxophonist, Xhosa Cole, one of the first members of the orchestra.

Composer John Altman is an Emmy and BAFTA award winning composer, with work including Aled Jones’ Walking in the Air and additional compositions for epic films, such as Goldeneye and Titanic.

To make the event even more special, the orchestra will be welcoming past members back on stage with the current ensemble. This show will have one of the biggest orchestras to appear in West Bromwich Town Hall in many years and demonstrates how this charity has grown from strength to strength.

The event will take place at West Bromwich Town Hall, 16 April, 2016 at 7 pm. The event is open to all. Booking is available on the website, by phone on 0121 569 2616 and in person from the West Bromwich Box Office.

It is hoped as many people as possible will attend and enjoy The People’s Orchestra bringing movie music to life, from Alice in Wonderland to Transformers, The Matrix Reloaded to the Jungle Book and many more.

This is an evening not to be missed!

Evenings and Saturday morning room hire

Lordswood Boys SchoolAre you looking for a venue to hire for your evening or Saturday morning event?  Lordswood Boys School,Hagley Road, Birmingham,B17 8QB may be able to help.  The school has classrooms, conference rooms, gym and school hall available for hire at competitive prices.

All rooms available weekday evenings until 9 pm.

For more information, please telephone Rose Hegarty on 0121 429 2838 or email





Ticking all the Right Boxes!

Ticking all the Right BoxesAre you a business that would like to better understand how you can work with charities to add benefits to your company? Or perhaps you’re a charity that is looking to work more closely with businesses? We all know too well that it’s often about ticking the right boxes to get the results that will help us succeed. But what are these boxes, and how can you tick them?

Black Country Chamber of Commerce is hosting an event called “Ticking all the Right Boxes” on Wednesday 20 April 2016, 9.30 am – 1 pm at The Way Youth Zone, School Street, Wolverhampton QV3 0NR.

This event is designed to help both businesses and charities with first hand case studies and real examples of partnership working. The aim is to help you understand what boxes other organisations need to tick, and in turn what boxes you might be able to tick yourself. The topics will include:

 Ticking the Business boxes:
• Increased customer retention
• Enhanced relationships with customers, suppliers and networks
• Attract, retain and maintain a happy workforce and be an Employer of Choice
• Differentiate yourself from your competitors
• Improved business reputation and standing
• Positive publicity and media opportunities due to media interest in ethical business activities
• Improved chances of success for public sector contracts through evidencing Corporate Social Responsibility

 Ticking the Charity boxes:
• How to fine tune your charity with a successful business partner and tick their boxes
• How a company might help you in other ways than financially giving perhaps through Fund Raising Support, Volunteering, Tendering writing, Publicity
• Check you know about the most up to date tax savings
• How to team up with a beneficial CSR partner and how to get the best out of it

The morning will encourage deep thinking, storytelling and a real feel good factor in the Black Country.

To book online please visit the Black Country Chamber Events website.

Telephone 01902 912305 or e-mail

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