February 2018

Monthly Archives

Ever Been a Victim of Crime?

Ever been a victim of crime? This is your last chance to tell us. If you live in Sandwell, please tell us about your experience in an anonymous and confidential survey. It takes 5 minutes to complete. It does not matter whether you reported the crime or not, or how long ago the crime was. If you have been affected, we want to know.

The deadline for completion has been extended to Friday, March 9th 2018. The results will help the Council, Police and other statutory and voluntary organisations help improve the services they offer to victims of crime. Your view is important.

SCVO in Sandwell is coordinating the Sandwell Victim Voices Project. If you want to know more or prefer to have a paper copy of the survey sent to you, please contact Barbara Murphy via email at barbara@scvo.info or phone 0121 525 1127.

In addition to the individual survey, we have a shorter (2-3 minutes) survey for organisations to complete and tell us how you help people who may be a victim of crime. Results will be available at https://www.scvo.info/ later in the Spring, so do look then to see how you have helped make a difference in Sandwell.

Spotlight on Camphill Village Trust Shared Lives

1 Tell us what you do.
We are developing a new and innovative service for the national charity, called Camphill Village Trust Shared Lives. Shared Lives is sometimes described as a bit like ‘foster care for adults’…but it’s so much more than that, as we enable the people we support to be in control and make their own choices in life.

People are carefully matched to stay with specially trained Shared Lives Carers on either a long-term, respite or day support basis, who provide tailored-support to maximise independence, build self-esteem and encourage new social skills, so the person can lead the same ordinary life just like you and me.

2 What is your proudest achievement?
Throughout 2017, we were busy establishing the new scheme, which to date we have already approved three households, with another four currently being assessed.

We are particularly proud of the fact that we have recruited several local Afro-Caribbean and Asian families to become Shared Lives Carers, as we are very keen that our scheme reflects the communities in which we all live.

3 What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
Mazeline has been so supportive of the new scheme from the start, by regularly publishing our articles, helping us spread the word and recruit Carers from across Sandwell.

4 What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The people we know and work with in Sandwell, are hard-working, happy to help-out and always have a smile on their faces, regardless of how stressful life might be at times. They are straight-talking and say it how it is.

5 What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We plan to carry on recruiting and training prospective carers, so that we can provide a choice of high-quality Shared Lives Arrangements across the region. However, the challenge is, in finding those special households who want to welcome someone into their home.

You don’t need any qualifications or previous experience, just the right values, commitment and of course a spare room. You are paid according to the level of support you provide and with self-employed status, qualify for tax relief.

6 How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
It’s really important to us that SCVO carry on being supportive and getting our message out across Sandwell, as research suggests that people who use Shared Lives, are known to live longer, healthier and happier lives.

If anyone is interested in finding out more about what we do, then they can go to: www.cvt.org.uk/sharedlives or follow us on twitter: @CVTSharedLives or call us on 01384 597264.

Law Society Charity Grants

The next deadline for applications to the Law Society Charity grants programme is the 24th March 2018.

The Charity provides grants of between £5,000 and £15,000 to voluntary sector organisations whose work is related to the law and the legal profession for projects that promote human rights; provide access to justice; and provide legal education.

Priority is given to projects that promote the needs of excluded, under-represented or disadvantaged groups and minorities. Organisations supported in the past include Youth Net which received funding towards the development of information to young people via alternative communication tools; and the Legal Action Group (LAG) which received funding towards the development of LAG’s monthly magazine Legal Action.

More information

Paul Hamlyn Foundation Youth Fund

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.

More information

Five Proposal Writing Tips: Part 2

Here are the last two top tips for proposal writing straight from the donors mouth.

#4 Tell brilliant stories

Good storytelling is essential to effective proposal writing (in fact, the terms are close to a euphemism). In contrast to procurement processes, “[private philanthropic donors want to be] inspired and want [you to tell them] a compelling and brilliant story,” (Adam Askew, Comic Relief).

This is also a fantastic opportunity to centre the perspectives of your beneficiaries in your proposal, and demonstrate how you include them as valued stakeholders in your work.

#5 Let your personality shine

I’ve now officially outed myself as a North American, but “passion for issues is not to be undermined,” (Alfonsina Peñaloza, Hewlett Foundation). Your proposal must have personality and give the donor a sense of the people behind the mission they are investing in. “[You need to demonstrate] passion, energy, focus and competence,” (Lynne Smitham, Kiawah Trust), and avoid jargon and technical phrases that feel dry and uninspiring. Remember, people ultimately – and always – give to people.

During our interview in Episode 3, Adam Askew (Comic Relief) lamented on the frustration of knowing a charity is brilliant but not being able to convince ultimate decision-makers of this brilliance because it doesn’t translate on paper.

You heard it from the donor first – strong written communication is utterly essential. Don’t let this stop you from securing the funding you need.

Source: Charity Digital News

Organisations Plan Bold Steps in Creating a Culture of GDPR Compliance

A study from Veritas Technologies has found that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has the potential to drive major cultural changes in businesses worldwide.

Nearly three in four  respondents plan to incentivise employees to improve data hygiene and take accountability for data compliance.

According to The Veritas 2017 GDPR Report, 88% of organisations around the world plan to drive employee GDPR behavioural changes through training, rewards, penalties and contracts. Almost half (47%) of businesses will go so far as to add mandatory GDPR policy adherence into employment agreements.

Failure to adhere to contractual guidelines could have significant implications. Nearly half (41%) of respondents also plan to implement employee disciplinary procedures if GDPR policies are violated.  A quarter of businesses (25%) would consider withholding benefits—including bonuses—from employees found to be non-compliant. At the same time, 34% say they will reward employees for complying with GDPR policies, as those employees are helping to promote proper data governance within their organisations, which can lead to better business outcomes.

Cultural Changes
The report found that the vast majority of respondents (91%) admit that their organisation does not currently hold a culture of good data governance or GDPR compliance. However, as indicated above, companies understand that training is critical to driving cultural changes within their organisations.

The majority (63%) of companies believe all employees must receive mandatory training on GDPR policies. However, respondents were also quick to identify the types of employees that should be trained: 86% believe the IT department must be prioritised, closely followed by business direction and strategy employees (85%), business development/sales/channel employees (84%), legal employees (82%) and finance employees (82%).

“Data is one of the most critical assets within an organisation, yet many businesses are struggling to implement good data hygiene practices—and that often starts with employees,” said Mike Palmer, executive vice president and chief product officer, Veritas. “However, our research shows that businesses are getting serious about driving cultural change within their organisations.”

“As businesses consider deploying new processes and policies including training, rewards and updated contracts in support of GDPR compliance, more employees will understand the role they play in protecting their organisation’s data. And, for employees that fail to take matters seriously, their bonuses and benefits may be negatively impacted.”

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

How Charity Digital Skills Have Changed Since 2017

Nonprofit digital expert Zoe Amar reveals how digital skills in the charity sector have changed over the last year, ahead of 2018’s Digital Skills Report.

Last week we partnered with Skills Platform to launch the survey to build this year’s Charity Digital Skills Report, which aims to take the pulse of where the sector is at with digital. We’ve already had lots of fascinating responses and are looking forward to sharing the results with you all on 14 March 2018.

Our 2017 report painted a worrying picture of where the charity sector is at with digital, with 50% of charities not having a digital strategy. The data on charities’ digital skills was also very mixed, with organisations rating themselves as good at email marketing and social media, but admitting skills gaps around digital fundraising (61% of charities rated their digital fundraising skills as fair to low) and 64% rating themselves as fair to low with using, managing and analysing data.

Our report was not the only one arguing that, whilst there is plenty of good practice out there, the sector needs to raise its game with digital overall. Lloyds Banking Group’s Business Digital Index 2017  showed that more than 100,000 charities do not have basic digital skills, with the number of charities with low digital capabilities growing from 12% to 16%.

Their report also showed that highly digitally capable charities are twice as likely to save time and see an increase in donations, and ten times as likely to save costs. Meanwhile Tech Trust’s recent research showed that 58% of charities don’t have a digital strategy, but 92% of those who do are confident about increasing their impact.

Whilst I don’t want to second guess the results of our report until responses close on 16 Feb, I wanted to share my observations about how I have seen digital skills change across the sector since last year.

Digital skills are now a thing, but are we doing enough? I’m frequently asked by charities what the key factors are that will help their digital transformation succeed or fail and my answer to both questions is: ‘Your people.’ With many organisations on a tight budget, the more skilled up your people are, the more they can deliver.

However I’d like organisations to take a more well rounded view of what this really means. I still see too many charities where they are just investing in training people up in SEO, social media, e-newsletters and other digital marketing channels.


To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

MOT Your Charity Website: Part 1

You wouldn’t forget to MOT your car, but it’s easy to leave your website running, unchecked, with sub-optimal performance that may be dramatically affecting online donations and engagement with supporters. Luckily, Pedalo Web Design is on hand with a series of blogs to help you check your website and ensure it’s functioning at its best.

For part one, they’re exploring three key areas of website maintenance: Google PageSpeed, security patching and broken links.

Google PageSpeed
Google PageSpeed is a collectionof tools designed to identify how quickly your web pages are displayed to users. You will be given separate scores for desktop and mobile – of between 0 and 100 points and either ‘good’, ‘needs work’, or ‘poor’. Your site speed is important as users may give up if pages take too long to load and it’s also an important component of Google search ranking – websites with better page speeds appear higher up in searches.

Our top three tips to improve your page speed are: compress images, using Photoshop, an online photo editor (such as Pixlr) or a plugin, so that images load faster; enable caching, which allows web browsers to ‘remember’ items so that they don’t have to find everything from scratch each time your site is loaded; and activate AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to ensure your mobile pages can be load as quickly as possible.

Security patching
A security patch is a small piece of software which fixes any vulnerabilities, bugs or other problems on your website which could pose a security threat. Without security patching, any ‘holes’ in your site can be exploited, enabling hackers to access supporters’ data, send out spam, or make changes to your site, with potentially severe consequences for your charity’s reputation and finances.

To keep your site safe and ‘patched’ against hacking, make sure your software is up to date and apply automatic updates to keep it this way. You should also ensure all your devices have adequate security and anti-virus protection, encrypt your site data using HTTPS (rather than HTTP), and use strong passwords to access your site.

Broken links
A broken link is a link to a webpage that doesn’t work. If a user types in or clicks on the link, they will be directed to a 404 error page. Links may be broken for a variety of reasons, including the URL being mistyped, the webpage no longer being online, or the linked page having restricted access. They disadvantage your site by leaving users frustrated and more likely to exit without engaging fully, and also negatively affect search engine rankings.

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

Tipton Library Surgery Sessions

Do you have an idea for a project and need funding to make it possible, but don’t know where to start?

Do you need a little bit of support to get your funding application at its best or to get your project idea off the ground?

Do you need advice or support with your project planning or business plans?

SCVO in partnership with Tipton Library will be commencing fortnightly surgery sessions for Sandwell Community, Voluntary  and Social Enterprise organisations at the library, located on Unity Walk, Owen Street, Tipton, DY4 8QL.

Libby Mahoney, SCVO’s Small Groups Development Officer, will be available fortnightly on Wednesday’s from 1.30pm till 4.30pm at Tipton Library for booked appointments.

This is your opportunity to discuss your project ideas, business plans or funding application(s) and receive practical support, advice and tips on how to improve the success of your project/application and much more.

The first session will take place on Wednesday 11th April 2018 from 1.30pm for booked appointments and will be fortnightly there after.

Future dates for the surgery sessions include:

  • Wednesday 20th June 2018,
  • Wednesday 4th July 2018,
  • Wednesday 1st August 2018 or
  • Wednesday 15th August 2018.

Watch this space for more dates of when our surgery sessions will be taking place.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this unique opportunity and want to book your time slot with Libby please email at libby@scvo.info or call on 0121 5251127 to avoid disappointment. Please note your organisation must be based or delivering here in Sandwell to be able to access this service.

To see what other services SCVO provides please visit our website at www.scvo.info

Co-operative Bank

Organisations that have a Community Directplus account with the Co-operative Bank have until 31st March 2018 to apply for funding from the Customer Donation Fund.

Since 2003 the Co-operative Bank Donation Fund has donated over £701,000 to 815 organisations. The money can be used to support special projects and fundraising activities; and all Community Directplus account holders are eligible to apply.

Priority will be given to projects that support The Co-operative Bank’s community themes. These are currently:

Crime, reoffending and victims of crime
Financial capability and education
Diversity and inclusion.

More information

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