Libby Mahoney

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Lessons from the Charity Digital Code: Principle 1 – Leadership

The Charity Digital Code of Practice was launched last year thanks to the combined efforts of a group of sector organisations, with the aim of helping charities benchmark their progress in using digital and learn from example. It focuses on seven guiding principles for success with tangible actions charities can take.

In this series, Tech Trust trustee and Chair of the Charity Digital Code of Practive Zoe Amar speaks with a charity that embodies one of each of the seven principles, sharing their lessons and experiences.

This week Amar spoke with Lara Burns, Chief Digital and Technology Officer at Age UK about the principle of ‘leadership’. An inspirational digital leader, Burns has worked across sectors leading innovation, transformation and change programmes for 25 years.

Zoe Amar: From your conversations with charity leaders, do you think more of them see digital as important? If not, what could change this?

Lara Burns: Age UK is a network of local Age UKs and we know that local leaders are keen to do things differently. We did a survey of local CEOs in our network and 65% prioritised being able to use digital to enable their service delivery, but 83% cited lack of funding as the major barriers, whilst skills were also a challenge.

I think this is fairly typical of small to medium sized charities. It is really easy when you are in a big charity in London to think digital is obvious and everyone gets it, but that is not always the case. Smaller charities can get stuck on what to do next.

This is where The Charity Digital Code of Practice is important. I also think there are more conversations happening at senior level about the Code and digital.

To read the full Charity Digital News Article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News


Free Charity Toolkit Upgrades Revealed

A free to access digital toolkit aimed at improving charity performance has been upgraded to include a tool to support income generation.

The funding tool has been developed by the Charity Excellence Framework to help charities ensure they can prove the impact of their work to the public and funders.

This offers a dashboard that tracks around 300 issues across the organisation in areas such as maximising impact, delivering value for money, financial sustainability and ability to deliver in terms of capacity and planning.

Compliance, leadership and safeguarding issues, such as tackling bullying and encouraging whistleblowing, are also included.

Response to Falling Trust

Charity Excellence Framework Founder Ian McLintock said the funding tool has been launched to help charities respond to falling trust in the sector.

“The Charity Commission Trust in Charities 2018 report found that four in 10 members of the public are donating less, as a result, and when charities are able to show that most of their donations directly reach the end cause, and they are having quantifiable positive results, both trust and willingness to donate increase,” he said.

“The dashboard assurance table enables charities to do so, by providing hard data for funding bids and annual reports.”

The funding tool is one of a number of improvements made in this first major upgrade since the toolkit launched last summer, added McLinktock.

“System navigation has been improved and the framework generation process, which creates a unique set of questionnaires for each user, has been made more sophisticated, making it not only easier to use, but also lower workload and more effective,” he said.

Last month the Charity Excellence Framework launched a resource hub available to anyone in the charity and social enterprise sector covering areas such as finding funders, mentoring and free goods and services for the sector.

Source: Charity Digital News


An Introduction to the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s new five-year Funding Framework and Grants Programme

We are pleased to invite you to an event that will tell you about the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s new funding framework and National Lottery Grants for Heritage.

Over the last six years, the National Lottery Heritage Fund (formally known as the Heritage Lottery Fund) has supported 50 new projects in Sandwell, totalling over £6.33 million.

If you are interested in applying or considering applying for funding for a heritage related project, this is your opportunity to find out more about what’s involved, check your eligibility to apply and find out about this new funding programme.

Jackie Lee, part of the development team at the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Birmingham office will lead the event. She will explain how the new funding framework provides a simpler and more flexible funding offer.  She will introduce the audience to the new single open grants programme, which is for all types of heritage project, and which includes new resources and digital guidance on the website to support applicants.

This event will help you recognise the range of heritage and activities National Lottery Heritage Fund supports and explain how you can access guidance and advice that will help your develop your heritage project idea.

The event will take place on Thursday 11th April 2019, 10am until 1pm in SCVO’s Board Room, 1st Floor, Landchard House, Victoria Street, West Bromwich, B70 8ER. Registration opens from 9.45am for a prompt 10am start for those booked onto the event.  This event is targeted primarily at those groups from Sandwell’s voluntary and community sector and groups whose main beneficiaries live in Sandwell.  Groups from outside the borough may attend but priority will be given to Sandwell groups as above.

There is a maximum of 25 places available for this workshop. Please book two tickets only per organisation. All places must be booked through Eventbrite by clicking here.

**PLEASE NOTE** – a cancellation policy applies to the workshop bookings – details will be provided at the time of booking.  There is NO public car parking available at Landchard House.  However, there is plenty of on street and pay-and-display parking in the immediate vicinity,  We are (more or less) opposite the Lodge Road Metro stop, and within 5 mins walk of West Bromwich central bus station.


A Conversation with the National Lottery Community Fund

SCVO in partnership with the National Lottery Community Fund are hosting a series of monthly surgery sessions for those wishing to discuss their submitted initial outline proposal in more detail. The surgery sessions will be held on the second Monday of the month, from 10am until 1pm at SCVO’s Offices, 1st Floor, Landchard House, Victoria Street, West Bromwich, B70 8ER.

The Lottery’s Grants Officer will be available for booked appointments to further discuss your initial proposal and potential next steps. Prior to booking an appointment you must have completed and emailed the National Lottery Community Fund at Midlandsteam@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk with your initial outline proposal (shaped around their 6 bullet points which can be found by clicking here and looking under the ‘What we need to know’ Section on their website).

Future dates for the surgery sessions include:

  • Monday 8th April 2019,
  • Monday 10th June 2019,
  • Monday 8th July 2019,
  • Monday 12th August 2019,
  • Monday 9th September 2019,
  • Monday 14th October 2019,
  • Monday 11th November 2019 and
  • Monday 9th December 2019.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this unique opportunity and want to book your time slot with The National Lottery Community Fund please email Donna Adams at Donna.Adams@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk or call on 0121 345 7661 to avoid disappointment.


Eaten by A Bear – The Art of Balancing Risk and Reward

As an organisation, how do you manage risk in your fundraising activities? Do you focus on financial or reputational risk, or both, or other things too? Do you keep going until you’ve eliminated every possible risk from your plans? If so, are your activities still worth doing by the end?

I recently popped along to the Arnolfini for the latest Bristol Fundraising Group talk about risk management in fundraising. The speaker was the excellent Ed Wyatt, an experienced Compliance Manager for multiple big charities and long-time fundraiser and trustee. Ed has kindly given us permission to share some key learning points here…

The Problem

Conversations about risk in fundraising can be frustrating and unproductive. It can feel like natural risk-takers and risk-averse people are speaking entirely alien languages, and often the loudest voice in the room wins.

This can have several consequences:
In their bid to find The Next Big Thing in fundraising, some organisations instead stumble into The Next Big Headache.
Being too risk-averse can dilute promising fundraising ideas until they’re perfectly safe but no longer appealing or profitable enough to be worth doing.

In trying to avoid risk, it’s easy to inadvertently take the biggest risk of all – stagnating in a tough fundraising climate, then hitting financial difficulties as your safer income streams dry up.

To read the full Lime Green Consulting blog click here.

Source: Lime Green Consulting


Building a Business Case for Investing In Fundraising

For many charities and social enterprises in a tight financial position, it’s the classic dilemma. You need to invest in fundraising, perhaps to replace dwindling income from other sources, but have less disposable cash than ever.

So building the case for investing in fundraising – whether that means a new staff member, hiring a consultant or increasing your marketing budget – isn’t easy. Particularly when it involves dealing with management or trustees who may know less about fundraising than you, and are naturally risk averse.

If you were asked to put together a robust and convincing case for investing in fundraising, where would you start? How would you address people’s concerns? Here are their top tips:

1. Show how fundraising success would boost your overall mission

When I’m working with an organisation on their fundraising strategy, I initially ask two questions: Why have you decided to focus on fundraising? What do you hope to achieve through successful fundraising?

Many organisations set ambitious goals for their project work, but fail to show the same fundraising ambition. But the two things are inextricably linked – if you’re trying to double the number of people you help, or move into a new region, you’ll likely need a step-change in fundraising.

So try to make people focus on how much more the organisation could achieve if it raised more money. You’ll stand a better chance of convincing management and trustees to make the investment needed.

2. Educate people about your current fundraising efforts

I’ve worked with organisations whose CEO or trustees have been genuinely surprised by how much they’re raising in certain areas, or completely oblivious about simple blockages that are holding back fundraising. However, people will make better long-term decisions about fundraising if they understand this properly.

Inspire confidence in your future plans by emphasising which areas are already proving successful, and which ones have the potential for a drastic improvement with a little more investment.

To read the full Lime Green Consulting article click here.

Source: Lime Green Consulting.


360Giving Launches New Grant Visualisation Tool

360Giving, an initiative which encourages funders to publish standardised transparent data about grants, has today launched new visualisation tool. 

The platform, 360Insights, visualises data from grant makers and recipients of grants in an effort to further transparency in the sector.

The data shared includes the amounts awarded by grant makers, where grants are given, what types of organisations received grants, region of recipients, locations of grants and the age and income of recipients. It was developed by compiling data from sources including the Charity Commission.

Founder and chair of directors of 360Giving, Fran Perrin said: “As the numbers of funders sharing their data approaches 100, we saw the need to make it easier for anyone to see what the £26bn of grant making says about them. That’s why we built 360Insights and I am excited to see how grant makers apply this fantastic functionality into their decision making”.

360 giving was founded in 2015 to boost transparency in funding, and encourage grant makers to publish information. 99 funders presently share their information.

Its other initiatives include Beehive, a tool which enables charities to find potential funders online and GrantNav, a register of UK grant data showing 306,566 grants.

360Giving is funded by grant makers the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the Indigo Trust, Pears Foundation and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Perrin said: “When I set up 360Giving three years ago, I would not have believed that in such a short time we’d have so much useful data being shared, enabling insights into issues such as homelessness and the distribution of funding.”

Paul Streets, chief executive of Lloyds Bank Foundation, believes 360Insights will help his foundation. He said “Data informs everything we do – our strategic direction, allows us to check we’re making the impact we set out to and to challenge and improve our work.

To read the full Civil Society article click here.

Source: Civil Society


A Journey of Colours Exhibition

A Journey through Colours is a new exhibition by one of Creative Black Country’s 100 Masters, Ranbir Kaur which will be taking place at Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery from 3rd April – 20th June 2019.

Ranbir is a national and international recognised Rangoli artist , this will be her second exhibition in a major museum where she is presenting her entire work to date.

A highly celebrated artist, Ranbir has received many awards and create the largest Rangoli in the World in Nottingham that has since entered the Guinness Book of Records.

Free Entry into Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery, Holyhead Road, Wednesbury, WS10 7HD.

Opening hours:

  • Wednesday to Thursday 11am till 4pm
  • Saturday 2pm till 5pm
  • Last admission 30 minutes before closure.

Cradley Heath Trail Drop-in Sessions

SCVO in partnership with Cradley Heath Community Centre have commenced a trial monthly drop-in sessions  over the next three months for Sandwell Community, Voluntary  and Social Enterprise organisations at Cradley Heath Community Centre, Reddal Hill Road, Cradley Heath, B64 5JG.

Libby Mahoney, SCVO’s Small Groups Development Officer, will be available on the first Friday of every month from 10am till 12pm.

The drop-in sessions will take place on:

  • Friday 5th April 2019,
  • Friday 3rd May 2019 and
  • Friday 7th June 2019.

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.

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


Save the Date: Heritage Fund – Launch Event

SCVO in partnership with the National Lottery Heritage Fund are planning to hold a Heritage Fund Launch Event on Thursday 11th April 2019. The Launch Event will take the participant through the recent changes to the Heritage Funds Grant programmes, who is eligible to apply and the processes you will need to follow to access these funds.

Heritage can mean different things to different people, it can be anything from the past that you value and want to pass on to future generations. The Heritage Funds Grants Officer will discuss what heritage means to them and how you can access grants to support your heritage project.

National Lottery Grants for Heritage will provide funding for all types of heritage projects with grants starting from £3,000 upwards. They want to inspire, lead and resource heritage projects across the UK, to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

This event is free for Sandwell voluntary and community sector groups and groups whose main beneficiaries live in Sandwell (subject to attendance). For those wishing to attend the workshop from outside of Sandwell there will be a small booking fee.

Further details to follow so watch this space!


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