December 2017

Monthly Archives

ESF Bid Writing Workshop

Walsall Council, External Funding Team, will be holding a free ESF Bid Writing Workshop from 9.30 – 3 pm on Friday, 2 February 2018, at Himley Hall, Dudley, to prepare Black Country organisations to respond to upcoming ESF calls.

Please click link here for full details


Health Desire

The Health Desire programme which covers Sandwell, Dudley, Walsall, Wolverhampton, is open for applications until 1pm on the 10th January 2018.

Health Desire is part of the Active Communities programme which provides grant funding of between £5,000 and £25,000 per year for up to two years for projects that tackle health inequalities. The funding is available for projects that cover small areas such as:

  • A few streets
  • A housing estate
  • Or a small village or Communities of interest (people who have shared experiences, characteristics or common interests and wish to come together to address specific issues that are important to them).

To date Health Desire has made grants totalling £1,429,924 and previous projects supported include:

Brushstrokes, a community owned café is Smethwick which aims to empower residents in the area including newcomers (asylum seekers, refugees and migrants) to become more involved in running the café and to become café street champions.

Aspiring Futures CIC in Wolverhampton which received a grant of £46,584 to deliver regular weekly activities such as arts and fitness sessions, to isolated and marginalised older women from ethnic minority and Muslim communities.

More information

Lloyds Business Digital Index 2017 Shows Digitally Mature Charities Are Pulling Ahead

Zoe Amar takes an in-depth look at the key issues raised by the latest Lloyds Business Digital Index

On Thursday, I attended the launch of the Lloyds Business Digital Index, the bank’s fourth yearly report into where charities and SMEs are at with digital.

The key issue that the report highlights is that both the charity and SME sectors are becoming polarised, with digitally skilled organisations increasingly moving ahead whilst others are left behind.

Here are my highlights from the report:

Progress Made
• Charities with the highest digital capability have increased by 3% to 21%. Compared to 2014, when the Index first launched, the number of charities with high digital capability has grown more than five times.
• Since 2014, there are now five times the number of charities with advanced digital skills.
• 20% of charities are on the cusp of achieving full ‘Basic Digital Skills’.
• Digitally mature charities are also twice as likely to report an increase in donations, with social media proving vital – charities using it report a 51% increase.
• Highly digitally-capable charities are 10 times more likely to save money from being online.
• Digitally skilled charities are able to save a day per week thanks to digital capabilities.
• Interesting stat from SMEs – digital leaders were three times as likely to have increased their turnover.
• 69% of the most digitally-advanced charities also take advantage of simplified processes around taking payments and donations, translating into greater ability to manage cash flow and spend.
• The most digital charities are five times more likely to invest in digital skills, indicating that they are keen to retain the competitive advantage they’ve gained.

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

Cyber-Safety Company Partners with Charity to Stop Online Child Exploitation

British tech company SafeToNet has partnered with charity Safer London to help safeguard young Londoners online from exposure to gangs, exploitation and crime, and to further its mission of safeguarding millions of families worldwide using technology.

SafeToNet has built technology that prevents children from sending and receiving harmful content on their smartphone, in real-time, before it is seen and before the damage is done. Over the next year, Safer London and SafeToNet will share ideas, information and best practice, helping both organisations to improve how they keep children and young people safe, both online and off.

Safer London has helped more than 48,000 Londoners stay safe, move away from gangs and crime, and engage in employment, education or training.  Safer London works directly with vulnerable young people and frequently provides its expertise on safeguarding children and vulnerable young people using social media to other professionals. It was originally set up with a grant from the Metropolitan Police Authority and has HRH Charles, Prince of Wales on board as its Patron.

Sharon Pursey, co-founder of SafeToNet, said: “Safer London does so much valuable work in supporting, advising, guiding and reassuring young Londoners at risk. We want to offer a tangible solution that will help with this complex social issue, and working with organisations like Safer London brings us another step closer; this is where we can really make a difference.”

Sarah Castro, Director of Development and External Affairs at Safer London, added: “We believe every young person should have the opportunity to live free from gang violence, crime, vulnerability and sexual exploitation, and we work tirelessly to try and make this happen. Having a partnership with SafeToNet makes a huge difference.”

Source: Charity Digital News

By Failing to Grow, Charities Are Failing Beneficiaries

 Charities too rarely try to take their interventions to scale, says David Ainsworth, and it presents a problem for the sector.

One of the most serious issues facing our sector is its failure to successfully replicate good ideas. When charities do find a way to help people, they often don’t share it.

When a charity develops a great intervention which really helps its beneficiaries, it’s able to do things better than other charities. Outcomes in the areas where it works are better than outcomes in the areas where it doesn’t.

Yet too often, that’s where it stops. The charity remains local, delivering small-scale services, with no appetite to expand, and relatively little appetite to ensure that other charities have learned what it knows. Even when scale is an active tool for success – when local authority commissioners would prefer to deal with a bigger charity – the sector fights to stay small.

This is of course a problem. Charities exist to deliver public benefit and social impact. I would suggest there ought to be a moral duty on a charity to try to deliver as much benefit as it can. Failing to grow fails to maximise impact.

I don’t suggest that growth is easy, or that scale is without problems, of course. It’s hard to remain close to your beneficiaries if you’re focused on growth. It can be easy to lose track of what you’re about. And it requires a lot of effort and a lot of risk. Some charities, such as 4Children and the Lifeline Project, have come badly unstuck because they focused on growth.

But this isn’t an excuse to give up. If helping people is the mission of your organisation, and helping as many people as you can means you have to do something a bit uncomfortable, so be it.

The evidence is that this isn’t happening. Research by NPC in 2014, for example, found “a general lack of will to seriously pursue scale” coupled with “a number of systemic and attitudinal barriers to scaling”.

What are the barriers to growth?
One problem, of course, is money. You need cash to grow, and it’s often hard for charities to just keep the wheels on the wagon, let alone think about growth. There’s a lack of appetite from funders, for sure, who seem to actively prefer backing smaller organisations, and won’t give grants to back expansion.

There’s also the technical problem of investment. While growing a commercial enterprise is easy enough with loan and equity finance, these avenues are difficult for charities, and have only recently been available at all.

So yes, lack of money is an issue. But another problem is lack of ambition. Charity workers, unlike business owners, don’t get anything out of growth, so there is less motivation to take on the work.

Trustees boards may also be an issue. Boards may be risk averse, and slow to sign off on exciting plans to grow your impact. Even if they are commercially skilled individuals, with a history of growing companies, some may have a tendency to park those instincts at the door.

To read the full Civil Society article click here.

National Cyber Security Centre Launches Video Advice Library

The Government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has published a series of videos that discuss how organisations – including charities – can boost their cyber security.

The videos cover a diverse range of topics including backing up data, the ins and outs of password protection and keeping smartphones and tablets safe – highlighting the five quick and easy steps outlined in the NCSC’s cyber security guidance for small businesses.

The NCSC says that by following the steps could save time, money and even your charity’s reputation, making them well worth a watch. The videos can be found here.

Source: Charity Digital News

The Importance of Creativity in The Charity Sector

Robert Edmonds, managing director of NRG Digital, discusses why creativity is essential when building video marketing for the charity sector, focusing on NRG’s recent work with local terminal illness charity, Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care.

Investing in creative and inspiring content can be problematic for the non-profit organisations. As anyone who works for a non-profit knows, people don’t become regular donors and corporates don’t become sponsors without being motivated to do so. While some may be motivated by personal experience, for many it requires something more compelling to raise awareness and motivate them to support a charitable organisation.

It’s also a highly competitive field, with charities vying for a finite pool of potential funds. Combined with funding cuts, increased demand for many charities’ services, and austerity; non-profits are operating in a very challenging environment.

Inspiring and Creative Video Content
Charities have always understood that emotions can provide the motivation needed for someone to support them. However in an information age, where we’re all suffering from content overload, those simple appeals for support based on goodwill and altruism struggle to cut through the noise. Instead, I believe what is needed is a more creative and inspiring approach to charity marketing and communications.

Being inspired by something motivates us to act. If we’re inspired by someone’s charitable fundraising efforts – running a marathon, skydiving, shaving their hair off etc. – we’re more likely to sponsor them or do something for a charity ourselves. Fundraisers inspire us by telling their stories and sharing their emotions; they may not know it, but successful fundraisers are great at packaging up all the elements that will trigger an emotional response from their friends and family, in a creative and compelling way. That emotional response compels us to act by supporting the fundraising campaign.

That’s what we, the team at NRG Digital, aim to do when creating video content for our clients in the charity sector. We know that simply listing the benefits or impact of a donation is not enough any more. What is needed is a creative approach that puts inspiring storytelling and emotional resonance at the heart of any digital campaign.

To read the full Charity Digital News Article click here.

Cloud Technology Is Key to Making Charities Fit for The Future

New research from Advanced has revealed that many charities in the UK are not fit enough for the digital era.

According to the Advanced Trends Report 2017, 65% of charities use Cloud-based technology, yet nearly one in four (26%) do not have access to real-time data and 40% do not have the right tools to do their job effectively.

The software and services company believes charities will be held back if they don’t embrace the Cloud at the heart of their operations and use it to run core functions such as donor interactions and financial management.

“Charities are under immense pressure – they need to be communicating closely with donors, efficiently and effectively, to maintain and grow revenues. This is coupled with the challenges of having the right digital technology so that staff can streamline administrative tasks, to save costs and allow them to invest more time in the people that matter – supporters, members and stakeholders,” said Mark Dewell, Managing Director – Commercial and Third Sector, at Advanced.

“The reality is that charities need to have the confidence to embrace Cloud technology fully, to ensure they can transform into digital-first organisations. This will ensure they are fit for the future, ready for real and present challenges around GDPR and better prepared to address threats such as cyber security.”

Advanced is using the Cloud to help charities move forward in the digital era. It has accelerated its plans to deliver a new Cloud-first strategy. It has introduced CloudDonor, an intuitive donor relationship management system, to help charities process fundraising income, build marketing campaigns and manage merchandising and Gift Aid for example – this includes all the core elements of fundraising management. Its web-based portals provide information for both staff and donors which is accessible at all times, from one source.

This adds to Advanced’s portfolio of Software-as-a-Service solutions, such as Advanced Business Cloud Essentials, which incorporates financial management to ensure charities have a unified view of their financial affairs.

Allen Reid, Director of Client Projects at Hart Square – an independent not-for-profit consultancy – concludes: “It’s fair to say that charities know the time is ripe for transformation as the digital era impacts every aspect of life – for members, supporters and stake-holders, as well as staff. But not-for-profits want to be confident they are making the right technology choices. Getting on board with Cloud technology is without doubt the right choice for many charities wanting to harness the value of their data to drive engagement whilst ensuring the change process is successful – we’re definitely big advocates for moving to the Cloud.”

The Advanced Trends Survey was carried out online in September 2017. The full Advanced Trends Report 2017 can be found here:

Source: Charity Digital News

Funding to Support the Core Costs of Youth Organisations

Not for profit youth organisations that support young people (aged 14 – 25) facing disadvantage can apply for grants of between 10,000 and £60,000 through the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Youth Fund.

The funding is available for up to two-years and will support the core operating costs of the applicant organisation. Examples of what can be funded include part-funding the salary of a key individual, whether the Chief Executive or a post such as a Head of Operations/Finance; policy work; additional fundraising or income generation capacity; upgrading IT systems or website to reach young people online; etc.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and up to 30 awards a year will be granted through this fund.

Much of The Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s work aims to benefit young people but it is those who work directly with them who often make a difference to their lives, especially if they are vulnerable or face complex transitions to adulthood. They want to help organisations at different stages of development to improve, consolidate and spread those good practices which empower young people to achieve their potential. They  prioritise work with young people that starts by recognising and building on their strengths, and concentrate our support on those experiencing the most challenging circumstances.

For more information or to apply click here.

Helping Hand – Youth Project Funding from #iwill

Go Think Big are offering 10 grants of up to £500 to young people who have good ideas for projects that use volunteering as a way of boosting their own skills and experience and those of their peers.

The Helping Hand Youth Project Initiative encourages young people aged 15 – 24 to make a difference to their communities by getting involved in a wide range of activities such as campaigning, fundraising and volunteering.

Go Think Big are looking for creative, imaginative projects that could, for example, be based around anything from skills workshops, podcasts, journalism pieces, live events, community initiatives or apps. Most importantly, projects should offer the young people delivering the activity the chance to involve and inspire their peers in making a difference to their communities.

Projects supported will be completed within 6 months, be realistic and achievable within the £500 award.

Individuals or groups of people can apply as long as the Project Leader, who will be responsible for communications and finances, is a young person aged 15 -24.

The deadline for applications is Sunday 31st December 2017.

For more information or to apply click here.

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