Libby Mahoney

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Top Tips: Creating Effective Corporate Partnerships

A strong corporate-charity partnership is a powerful way to unlock opportunities, form key relationships, attract funding and gain longer-term support for your organisation.

Small charities play a distinct and vital role in building stronger communities and addressing some of our most persistent social challenges. That’s why Aviva works to unlock their potential by finding, funding and empowering small charities to face the future with confidence.

One way we’re doing this is through partnerships. We know that developing strong and fruitful corporate partnerships can be challenging – particularly for resource-stretched, time-poor grassroots organisations. Yet, they have the potential to fundamentally change the trajectory of your organisation.  So, we’ve distilled three fundamentals to getting corporate-charity partnerships right.

Focus on relationship building, over transactional fundraising

Lucrative, strategic partnerships take time. Focus on thoroughly researching each company and the right people to connect with, so you can develop a proposition tailored to their corporate responsibility focus and wider business objectives.

Work as a team and focus on warm prospects. Relationship building shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of fundraisers within your organisation, it’s everyone’s role to get out there, build strong relationships and tap into the connections you already have. Cold approaches rarely bear fruit, so it’s important to only consider how you can meet your contact in person – this really goes a long way.

This type of strategic partnership beyond transactional fundraising is certainly a longer-term game, however the time invested will pay off when the opportunity is ripe.

Think beyond funding and be open-minded 

So often, the first thing charities think about in partnerships is the funding opportunities. To make the most of a strategic partnership it’s important to consider other opportunities and resources you could tap into, such as skills development, IT/software, office space, staff volunteering, and more.

Many corporates out there offer capacity building and resource support, for instance Aviva runs a Facebook Group called Aviva Community Group, where charities of all shapes and sizes can join to share ideas, network with like-minded people, and get advice from experts in the sector. The key with partnership opportunities that go beyond funding is to ensure they’re shaped by clear expectations and mutually beneficial outcomes.

Demonstrate your passion

No partnership ‘pitch’ is static, so when you’re approaching a prospective corporate partner make sure your key messages and story will resonate – speak their language (it’s easy to get stuck in the habit of using industry-specific buzz words…) and make sure you clearly articulate how the partnership will solve challenges they may be facing.

Demonstrate your passion about why you love what you do and the difference you’re making in the community. One of the oldest maxims of fundraising is that “people don’t give to causes; they give to people with causes”. And, this is still true today. The most memorable stories that really shine are those by individuals who have a personal connection, an authentic relationship to the cause they’re promoting.

Source: FSI

How to Reinvigorate Your Fundraising Strategy with Storytelling

How to reinvigorate your fundraising strategy with storStorytelling has always been key to human interaction. Stories engage us, they connect us, and they shape how we make sense of the world. When it comes to fundraising, storytelling is the most powerful way to transform passion into action and connect with the hearts and minds of your supporters.

Now more than ever non-profits need to tap into the power of sharing stories and equip themselves with the tools and knowledge to share a compelling, authentic story that is captivating and memorable. Because no matter what your cause is, your future could depend on the quality of your spiel.

1.Identify your ‘why’

Knowing and clearly articulating the “why” of your organisation can be challenging, but it’s incredibly important. Share your passion for why you love what you do, why it is so important, and why someone should support your cause over another. Take a look at Simon Sinek’s famous TED Talk on ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’ starting with the golden circle.

•Share your personal connection

The most effective stories come from people who have a personal connection to the cause they’re promoting. This injects passion, life and connection as well as enabling you to demonstrate your strong belief in the impact you’re having in the community. It’s the vulnerability and the personal stories that draw people in and present a stronger, more compelling, and more memorable story.

•Know your ‘WHO’

No pitch is static. It evolves based on who you’re talking to, where you are, and what you wish to convey. That’s not to say you need to do extensive research on your audience, but it is important to do the necessary checks to make sure your language, key messages, and story will resonate. Then, you need to vary your story accordingly.

•Show don’t tell

Let your beneficiaries be heard and let them tell their own personal stories. This is the best way to provide insight into their experiences. Video and photos direct from the field is the most compelling and powerful way to achieve this. It’s also the perfect opportunity to think about how you can keep donors engaged and creatively report on how their money is being spent and the impact it is having.

Source: FSI


Summer Sale at the Art Yard

Following the success of last years sale exhibition, The Art Yard would like to invite local artists to submit their work for their Summer Sale 2019 exhibition.

This is an opportunity for artists to submit their work at a reduced fee of £1 per piece (up to 50cm in either direction) for one week only. There is no special requirement on the type of art or subject, all work is very welcome.

Attached are the following documents:-
1. Submission Form

Submission forms are to be returned by Saturday 27th July 2019.

Can you please ensure that your work is ready to hang and has cord or fixing plates fitted to the rear of the work. On the labels could you include the original price and the sale price for each piece of work you wish to exhibit

If you have any questions regarding exhibiting at The Art Yard, about hiring the Gallery facilities for future events, Martyn would be pleased to discuss your requirements either call 01384 910968 or email

Please feel free to share the attached with other artists who may also be interested in taking part.

The Art Yard is looking forward to seeing your work and supporting the development of Artists and the arts in the community.

Grants for Small Organisations Making Good Use of Volunteers

The Woodward Charitable Trust primarily funds charitable organisations (charities, social enterprises and community interest companies) in the UK and can make grants for overseas projects usually via UK charities.

Priority is given to projects that make good use of volunteers, encourage past and current users to participate, ensure that funds awarded are being well used and fall within the following areas:

  • Children / young people who are isolated, at risk of exclusion or involved in antisocial behaviour.
  • Prisoners and ex-offenders and prisoners’ families.
  • Disadvantaged women, covering refuges, domestic violence and parenting.
  • Disability projects, including rehabilitation and training.
  • Arts outreach work by local groups involving disadvantaged people.
  • Projects that promote integration and community cohesion amongst minority groups, including refugees and travellers.

Three types of grant are awarded following bi-annual meetings in February and October:

  • Small grants of £100 – £5,000
  • Large grants over £5,000 – these are usually given to charities known by the Trustees
  • Preference is given to small to medium-sized charities with an income of less than £300,000 where small grants can have more impact. Most grants made are for one-off projects although some grants fund salaries and running costs.

To apply for funding applicants will be required to complete an application form and submit it with a project budget.

The deadline for receipt of applications for the February meeting is noon on the 31st July 2019.

For more information or to apply click here.

Communications Capacity Building Tips

Follow these 10 principles and you are sure to see an improvement in not only your charity’s communications but your financial sustainability as well.

1. Ensure you have a clear mission, succinct messaging and overall objectives (your audience need to understand what it is you are offering).

You should be able to clearly convey your organisational purpose in an ‘elevator pitch’ style delivery – within no more than 30 seconds. It is important to always have a call to action which could be encouraging your target audience to visit your website, or contact a telephone number. This serves two purposes; to make it easy for people to contact you and to ultimately increase your number of supporters.

2. Understand your audience. You need to be able to clearly identify who your audience is – maybe you need to break it down into a primary target audience with other secondary audiences. It is important to frame your message for each audience.

Types of audience can range from your clients, volunteers, partners and stakeholders, as well as potential beneficiaries. Segmentation is key when communicating with and addressing your various audiences. Not only will segmentation allow you to frame and convey the correct messages for your target audience, it will also ensure that you do not saturate your audiences with irrelevant communications.

3. Always plan your communications ahead, ideally with a communications calendar. The calendar should map out all planned communications activity, content themes as well as wider landmarks in the communications calendar (like a specific Volunteer’s Week or an event on your local calendar). It is good to use a combination of social media channels, Facebook and Twitter for a general(and slightly older audience), Instagram and Youtube for a younger audience.

To read the full Media Trust Communication Tips click here.

Source: Media Trust

How to Raise More Unrestricted Income from Trusts and Foundations

Lime Green Consulting often get asked by charities and social enterprises for advice on how they can raise more unrestricted funding from trusts and foundations.

Many organisations are very successful at securing grant income, yet still find themselves in a tight financial position because the majority of funding tends to be restricted to a specific purpose. While project funding is vital, it rarely gives you the flexibility you need to thrive as a resilient and innovative organisation.

We’ve compiled some of our best tips on how to achieve the holy grail of unrestricted grant income – from some obvious funders to approach, to how to think outside the box when it comes to improving your financial position through trusts and foundations fundraising.


While it’s understandably tempting for funders to want to fund tangible and exciting projects, this doesn’t give organisations the freedom to pay key staff or cover central costs. Not unlike yoga, strengthening your core is vital and will make you much better at everything else you’re trying to achieve too.

There’s a growing recognition in the sector that smaller organisations in particular need access to more flexible funding if they are to survive and thrive, particularly at a time when so much local authority funding has dried up. Lloyds Bank Foundation CEO Paul Streets has been particularly vocal about the damage caused by ‘projectitis’.

Here are a few funders that give core funding to a broad range of charitable causes:

  • Lloyds Bank Foundation (no surprise given the above)
  • Tudor Trust
  • Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
  • Masonic Charitable Foundation
  • Paul Hamlyn Foundation

If you’re looking for core funding, here are a few tips:

  • Check out the above funders and see if your organisation is eligible to apply.
  • Use a funding directory like Funds Online or Funding Central to search for other core funders. We suspect that other funders will pop up over the coming months. These directories have a subscription fee for most organisations but it’s often a worthwhile investment, as they have an option to search specifically for core funding.
  • Develop a strong case for support for why you really need core funding. For example: why don’t you have much unrestricted funding already? Why would it be so valuable to you – would it enable you to recruit a key member of staff, respond to a new opportunity or restructure in an important way? What makes your organisation such an expert at what it does, therefore such a strong candidate for core funding?

To read the full Lime Green Consulting Blog click here.

Source: Lime Green Consulting

Funding ‘Keeps Three Quarters of Small Charity Leaders Up at Night’

Three in four small charity leaders say that worries over funding keep them up at night, according to a survey conducted for the Weston Charity Awards.

And one in three says that worrying about their own ability to do the job does likewise.

The online survey of 371 small charity leaders was conducted by Pilotlight, a charity which connects businesses with charities, and by funder the Garfield Weston Foundation, as part of its work on the Weston Charity Awards, which give core grants to small charities.

The survey mostly polled chief executives of charities under £500,000, and found that despite most of them being worried about their ability to continue delivering, optimism was on the rise.

Of those surveyed, 38 per cent expect to see an increase in funding, compared to only 16 per cent expecting to see a fall.

And 78 per cent said they expect to help more beneficiaries this year, compared to 58 per cent last year.

Small charities also expressed mixed feelings about the support they received. While 81 per cent said local people provided good or excellent support, 82 per cent said they did not get the support they needed from central government, and 45 per cent said they did not get it from local government.

Despite the difficulties, small charity leaders said they love their jobs, with 83 per cent saying they would recommend working for a small charity to a friend.

Source: Civil Society

Charity Commission Issues Cybercrime Alert for Trustees

The Charity Commission has published an alert for charity trustees with information on how to report cybercrime.

The regulator said the alert comes “amid ongoing prevalent threats, particularly around phishing emails”.

Its alert says that “all charities should be vigilant to the threat of cybercrime and make sure appropriate defences are in place, including raising awareness with their staff and volunteers”.

It adds trustees of charities which have fallen victim to cybercrime, or any other type of fraud, should report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or by visiting the organisation’s website.

The Commission recommends that charities should also report fraud to them as a serious incident.

“We require prompt, full and frank disclosure of incidents. Serious incident reporting helps us to assess the volume and impact of incidents within charities, and to understand the risks facing the sector as a whole,” it says.

“Where appropriate, we can also provide timely advice and guidance, either to assist individual charities and get them back on track, or to warn the wider sector about prevalent threats.”

The alert directs charities to other sets of guidance already published for charities to help prevent cybercrime.

It says the cost of a cyber breach to a charity can range from £300 to £100,000.

Last month, the government published its Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2019, which revealed that one fifth of charities had experiences a cyber breach last year.

Source: Civil Society

Sandwell Libraries Praised for Service

Sandwell Council provides a “very valued” and “high performing” library service to people in the borough, according to a special survey of its work.

A report by the Local Government Association’s Library Services Peer Challenge makes a point of highlighting the fact that the council had retained a good service despite significant decreases in budgets since 2011.

It reports that the library service benefits from good management and staff who display inclusive and creative working styles and work well with a large bank of volunteers and partners.

The Peer Challenge team, which spoke to 45 people including staff, councillors and partners in a number of meetings involving key stakeholders, also praised the council for the fact that all of the council’s 19 strategic libraries made a significant contribution to the quality of life in Sandwell.

“It was encouraging to hear that the council continues to invest in all its buildings, for example, even the smallest of these at Brandhall, Hill Top and Rounds Green have recently installed accessible toilets,” the report says.

“The political vision for all libraries continues to be great places of opportunity and learning with a strong family and community focus,” it adds.

The Peer Challenge team advised library bosses to look carefully at the development of community hubs in libraries, such as that already proposed at Blackheath Library.

It also urges the council to expand joint procurement activity for libraries with the four Black Country authorities to explore the potential for enhanced joint procurement.

It also suggests that the council should replace old computers and modernise the digital offer in all 19 libraries.

Councillor Bob Lloyd, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for culture, said: “The council is very pleased to have such a useful and thought-provoking report from the Peer Challenge team.

“We were delighted to see that they supported the work we are doing and will look carefully at some of their recommendations for the future.”

Source: Sandwell Council

Charity Digital Code Secures Funding Boost

The Charity Digital Code of Practice has secured funding for a second year, with technology firm Cisco and networking group Charity IT Leaders pledging to support the initiative.

The two backers join founding funders Lloyds Banking Group and the Co-op Foundation, with support from the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology (CAST) to back the code with £140,000 of support.

The Code was launched in November 2018 to increase the digital skills of those who work in charities. This has included the launch of a Charity Digital Code Quick Assessment Tool to give further help to charities looking to improve their digital capabilities.

It is voluntary and free to access for charities and includes a version tailored for small charities.

Securing Charities’ Long-Term Future

The support will be used to help the code to expand its reach among charities, connect with online audiences and help secure charities’ long-term futures.

Further work includes implementing testing and feedback mechanisms to make the code more responsive and to increase awareness and adoption of the code.

“We look forward to working with our fellow funders and the Charity Digital Code Steering Group to build a resource that will help charities of all sizes embed effective stakeholder-led digital strategies and practices into all aspects of their work and culture,” said Co-op Foundation Chair Jamie Ward-Smith.

Michelle Hill CEO of relationships charity TLC: Talk, Listen, Change, which has used the code, said: “The Charity Digital Code of Practice has been brilliant for us.

“It showed us what we were doing well, where we could stretch ourselves and what we’d not even thought of yet. From making the most of the digital systems we have to using our data to understand user insights, we have made improvements across our organisation thanks to advice and resources from the Code.

“Our digital activity is now integrated throughout our organisational strategy and business plan. We now see digital not as a bolt on or a nice added extra but as key to everything we do. It will be our blueprint for the next few years.”

Tech Trust CEO Jonathan Chevallier added: “The Digital Code can be a great help to leadership teams and trustees in achieving a balanced approach to their digital initiatives. It considers leadership and the strategic priorities whilst including other important aspects such as being user led and agile and responsive. I’m delighted to see this further funding which will help to further develop and embed the code across the sector.”

Source: Charity Digial News

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