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Remember the Millennium Bug? Now it’s the 2020 Problem!

Cast your minds back to the last few months of 1999…and the concern, that grew into panic, that the millennium bug was going to cause computers to malfunction and potentially endanger everything from tills to power stations. It didn’t happen quite like that, as we now know, but IT-related challenges remain an on-going issue for us all … and, not least, the thorny issue of updating (soon-to-be) obsolete software (well, obsolete as defined by the manufacturers!)

The next (sort of) ‘millennium bug’ on the horizon is the imminent ‘end of life’ date for a number of significant Microsoft software products – most notably the Windows 7 operating system.

Local tech support company OfficeTek has produced a very helpful FREE guide that gives you an overview of the potential implications and what you might consider by way of response.

You can download your copy of the guide HERE.

Here at SCVO we understand the challenges faced by organisations in keeping their IT systems up-to-date, not least from a funding perspective…so please do contact us if you’d like a chat about how we may be able to help you. Give us a call on 0121 525 1127 or email: support@scvo.info

 


Dementia Pathfinders FREE Training Day

There are still spaces available on the Dementia Pathfinders free training day, part of the Kingfisher Buddies project. The project is run in partnership with Agewell CIC and Dementia Pathfinders CIC. The project is funded by the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund.

The Dementia Training Day is on Tuesday, 23 July 2019, at Rounds Green Library, Martley Road, Oldbury B69 1DZ. The time is  9.30 am to 3.30 pm (registration from 9.15 am).

Learning Outcomes:
➢ Understand the factors that can influence communication and interaction with individuals who have dementia
➢ Understand how a person-centred approach may be used to encourage positive communication with individuals with dementia
➢ Understand the factors which can affect interactions with individuals with dementia.

Click here to book via Eventbrite

Places are limited, therefore apply now to avoid disappointment.


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.

1. APPLY TO SPECIALIST CORE FUNDERS

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


The Best Artificial Intelligence Resources for Charities

Charity Digital News has collated a list of the best resources, grants and educational sources for charities to start getting to grips with the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI).

While it’s still early days for most in the charity sector, artificial intelligence is now far from being just a buzzword. Charities are using technology such as machine learning, chatbots and algorithmic decision making to do everything from serving information and telling stories online, to taking voice-based donations, driving innovative research and serving beneficiaries. The possibilities are incredibly wide-ranging. Experts are saying that artificial intelligence will shape society more than any other technology in the next few decades, so why would civil society be any exception?

We’ve put together a list of some of the top artificial intelligence tools, training, grants and education resources for charities and non-profit organisations: whether you’re completely new to the concepts behind artificial intelligence and machine learning, or already well versed and ready to take your ideas to the next level.

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News


Thanks But No Thanks: When Should Charities Refuse Donations?

Recent high-profile scandals have left many charity trustees wondering how to do the right thing when it comes to accepting certain donations.

Trustees have rightly been wanting to make sure that money does not come from sources that might compromise the charity’s reputation, independence and work.

Responsible trustees right across the sector will have been watching closely how others have managed difficult decisions in recent months, following concerns about the ethical implications of accepting money linked to sullied commercial brands or gala dinners that fell wide of the mark in terms of what is acceptable in the 21st century.

We seem to be moving beyond the days when fundraisers might have chased corporate giants doling out the biggest cheques without necessarily considering where the money came from.

Only hours after the Presidents Club Charitable Trust story broke, the sector was already alive with questions about whether charities should accept and/or return donations from the charity. And more recently, the Sackler Trust suspended all new charitable donations amid claims linking the family fortune to the opioid crisis in the US.

It’s clear that charities are being increasingly conscious of their purposes when considering these difficult judgements, weighing up concerns about how the funds were raised against the financial impact of turning them down.

Thinking back to when I first became a trustee myself, this wasn’t a mainstream concern; many charities saw maximising their short-term income for the cause as being straightforwardly in their best interests.

What we’re seeing now suggests trustees are listening to an increasingly civic-minded and conscious public, and thinking about how they can best live their charity’s values and stay true to their raison d’être.

This shifting, more conscious approach to trusteeship is not to be knocked. It can be seen across a whole range of issues – from calls for further clarity around ethical investment policies, to charities acknowledging the need for transparency, admitting when projects have failed, and reporting to the Commission when things go wrong.

From where I stand, it seems that the sector is increasingly emboldened by its own values, not just in what it does, but also in how it acts and behaves.

As regulator, we welcome this. Charities are more than just a sum of their balance sheet and services they provide to a community. They belong to the public, and exist for the betterment of society, so it is right that they are considering what the public, their beneficiaries and volunteers think and feel about sensitive issues when making decisions about money.

To read the full Charity Commission Blog click here.

Source: GOV.UK


6 Tips For Developing An Effective Charity Marketing Strategy

One question that we are frequently asked is how to develop a marketing strategy.

To start with, we should be clear that a marketing strategy and marketing plan are different, albeit overlapping, things. Their relationship is similar to that of your vision and mission.

• Your strategy is about identifying your overarching goals and the tactics you will use to achieve these.
• Your plan is about the execution of this strategy – the actions that you will take to reach your goals.

With that said, here are our top-tips for helping you develop your charity’s marketing strategy:

Define Your Goals
The first thing you need to consider is what you are trying to achieve with your strategy. Think carefully about how your marketing strategy supports your charity’s mission and vision. Are you looking to increase donations, raise awareness of a cause or reach new beneficiaries? Without clearly defined goals you’re not going to be able to work out which marketing channels you should and shouldn’t be using.

Identify Your Key Audiences
The next thing to ask yourself is who you are trying to engage with your strategy. This will depend on your chosen goals. If your goal is to bring in major donors, you should probably reconsider a strategy geared towards teenagers in socially deprived areas.

Tailor Your Messaging
Marketing is essentially about relationship building. As individuals, we naturally speak to different people about different subject – often (subconsciously or not) altering our vocabulary accordingly. We have our literature friends, our football mates, and our political comrades (ok, just me).

This is the way we should approach our audiences. Different demographic groups have different interests and consume and engage with content in very different ways. The messaging, tactics and channels you use to reach and ignite the passions of young people in central London will almost certainly diverge from those you use to engage older people in rural Norfolk (Hey Mum).

To read the full Local Giving article click here.

Source: Local Giving

 


How to Assess Risk for Charities Working Internationally

Charities working internationally may face particular risks due to their operating environment including the application of financial sanctions, greater levels of corruption or criminal activity and the presence of terrorists, proscribed groups or designated entities.

As a risk-led regulator, we focus on areas of higher risk and we expect the same of trustees.

Risk Assessment Tools

The Charity Commissions International Charities Engagement Team, often get asked what does risk assessment mean in practice and how regularly should it be carried out.

With over 168,000 charities registered in England and Wales and approximately 17,000 operating internationally, there isn’t a one size fits all answer to these questions.

There’s no universally recognised criteria for assessing and determining risk and ultimately you must decide what is in the best interest of the charity.

But, they have produced risk management tools which may help you effectively manage risks and protect your charity from harm in Chapter 2 of the Compliance toolkit – Due diligence and Monitoring the end use of funds. It also includes:

• a risk assessment checklist (which highlights key issues to think about)
• a risk assessment matrix (which assesses the likelihood, impact and potential controls)

Recent events in 2019 demonstrate how practical our PESTLE analysis tool can be when assessing the risk arising from a range of external factors, and their impact on a charity working internationally.

To read the full Charity Commission blog click here.

Source: GOV.UK


Citizens Advice Sandwell’s Help to Claim Service

Citizens Advice Sandwell offers support with making a new claim for Universal Credit. From opening an account to receiving first full payment, their trained advisers can help your clients to:

• Set-up a Universal Credit account
• Complete their claim to-dos
• Verify their identity
• Make sure they are providing the right evidence to the Jobcentre
• Understand what Universal Credit will mean for them.

If you are not sure whether you should signpost a client, get in touch and Citizen Advice and speak to an Adviser. Call free on 0800 144 8 444

Please click here for further details about the Help to Claim service, plus the locations and opening times of Citizens Advice offices.

This is a drop in service. Clients do not need to book an appointment unless they wish to access support at Smethwick Jobcentre, where an appointment is required.


The ABC of ACESs – Full Day Training

The Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands have secured funding through the Home Office Early Intervention Fund to support approaches aimed at supporting Young People and preventing youth violence.  

ABCs of ACES (1 day)  – 15th and 16th July 2019. Booking can be made directly on the BVSC website – https://www.bvsc.org/sector-training-courses

The Police and Crime Commissioner in partnership with the Violence Prevention Alliance is working with Rock Pool, the leading provider of training for trauma-informed interventions, to roll out a programme of training to professionals and practitioners who work with children, young people and adults, helping them to understand how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and Early Trauma impact on them.

This training is aimed at practitioners with direct contact with service users, patients, clients or the general public.

The training will cover:
• What is trauma? – Definitions and explanation of the differences in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Complex Trauma and Vicarious Trauma.
• Developmental trauma and its impact on individuals.
• The ACEs Study – an exploration of the Felitti study and the implications for health and social care.
• Impact of ACEs on behaviour – how to understand peoples triggers.
• Resilience – what this is and the consequences of not having it.
• Trauma Informed Practice -explanation and opportunity to examine own workplace.
• Introduction to some activities to use directly with clients to address their distress.
• How to use a psychoeducational approach to teach emotional regulation.
• Increasing understanding of protective factors for vulnerable individuals and suggested intervention.
• Exploring working with client’s protective factors to develop resilience.
• Increasing understanding of vicarious self-care and personal resilience.
• An increasing level of job satisfaction when working with vulnerability.

This training will provide delegates with the confidence to identify ACEs. This session will build on the half-day session and continue to examine what works when working with individuals with ACEs and, how to employ skills using an ACE aware trauma-informed approach.

There will be opportunity throughout the training to link evidence to practice and look at how delegates may develop protective factors with clients to promote resilience, mitigate further ACEs and aim for recovery.

 


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