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The Lottery’s 25th Birthday Thanks To You campaign

This year the National Lottery is celebrating its 25th birthday and the difference it has made to heritage, the lives of people and communities throughout the UK, over the past quarter of a century. Thanks to National Lottery players, over £30 million goes to good causes each week.

The annual Thanks To You campaign is the perfect opportunity for you to be involved in the birthday celebrations and to say thank you to the National Lottery players who have made so many projects possible. It’s also a chance for you to highlight the difference you have made in your local community.

The principle of the campaign is simple: anyone who visits a participating National Lottery-funded venue or project between 23 November & 1 December 2019 and shows a National Lottery ticket gets free entry, or another special offer.

Some fantastic organisations and projects have already registered across the good causes family, including Westonbirt the National Arboretum, The Fitzwilliam Museum, The Old Vic, National Holocaust Centre and Museum, Pleasance Theatre, Black Country Living Museum, National Justice Museum, University Museum of Zoology, Derby Arena, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, V&A Dundee, Worcester Cathedral, the National Trust for Scotland, RSPB, Bath Comedy Festival, The D-Day Story, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and many, many more.

If you haven’t already done so (and thank you if you have!) please register your interest in being a part of the campaign on the Lottery Good Causes website.

If your organisation has not taken part in Thanks To You before, and/or you are not sure what your special offer might look like, the Lottery can help. Their dedicated project manager, Stacey Reed, is on hand to work with grantees to make sure your offer reaches new audiences and benefits from the national promotional profile of the 25th birthday celebrations.

There are many ways for everyone to get involved. In previous years, some of the special offers have included:

• free entry to venues for all or part of the Thanks To You period
• an expert talk or a guest panel
• guided facility or venue tours
• setting aside tickets to an event coming up in the future
• a membership discount
• hard hat / in-construction / behind the scenes tours
• a day, weekend, or week of activities
• workshops or lessons
• a special view of a collection or archive not usually open to the public
• an in-store or restaurant offer
• the chance to sit in on a rehearsal or training session
• something totally different to your usual programme of activity – maybe a group walk or fete

Need more inspiration?

Julie from Fairhaven Lake, Lancashire, has written a blog about how taking part in the Thanks To You campaign made a big difference to a small project.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Thanks To You project manager, Stacey Reed, on Stacey.Reed@lotterygoodcauses.org.uk or 020 7211 3928 if you have any questions.


New Shared Lives Scheme thriving

It is a little over two years since national charity, Camphill Village Trust, decided to add Shared Lives to their already established Stourbridge community in the Black Country. In this time, the new scheme has gone from strength to strength, networking closely with other community-based organisations to gain momentum.

Shared Lives is still a relatively unknown model of care that is similar to foster care, where specially trained Carers open up their home and support people with additional/complex needs to lead as independent life as possible and stay connected with the local community. Currently, there are approximately 14,000 people being supported the UK in this way.

The scheme is nearly a full year into the new contract and has already set up 11 Arrangements, receiving over 60 enquiries with a variety of additional support needs from learning disability, autism, mental ill health, through to older people and hospital discharges.

Shared Lives offers opportunity for those people with the right values and commitment to develop a social care career and earn up to £29K annually as a self-employed Carer. It is a rewarding role which challenges the assumptions of what can be achieved within an ordinary family home.

If people wish to find out more about how the scheme is developing, please contact Kate Morgan on 01384 441505 or kate.morgan@cvt.org.uk

Follow Shared Lives on twitter @CVTSharedLives.


Meaningful Engagement: Developing Strong Content

In parts 1 and 2 of this series we explored why you need a social engagement strategy, and how to look at your historical data to understand what your audience is responding to. This part will delve a bit deeper into thinking about content development for your social channels as well as what should be included in your strategy.

It’s easy to fall into the habit of creating social posts that all feel quite samey. It’s safe, you know what you’re doing – and you’re keeping on top of everyone’s requests (or perhaps demands!) on how the channels should be used. But a broader range of content will be more engaging for your audience. Plus, posts that look different from one another will stand out in their feed, especially if people have grown used to your posts all looking very similar to each other.

Content creation

If the idea of coming up with more varied content sounds daunting – don’t despair. This isn’t about creating lots of brand new images and graphics for use on social. Your strategy will only succeed if it’s simple enough to keep up. You want your social channels to work in harmony with other online content, and a good chunk of your social posts can be based on sharing key website pages, links to YouTube videos, sharing blog posts – or even news stories you might have been featured in. What’s key is how you frame snippets from those stories, so that the post is interesting enough in its own right, as well as likely to draw people to want to follow the link and see more.

This post from Plan International UK stood out to me because it told a story that we don’t hear so often from international development charities. It brings to life what phrases like “poverty alleviation” mean in practice.

To read the full CharityComms article click here.

Source: CharityComms


Meaningful Engagement: Finding What Works

Hopefully you’ve read the first post in this series and are ready to start thinking about how to pull your social engagement strategy together. Here’s the method that I have drawn up based on my experience. You might choose to use it wholesale, or adapt certain elements. Remember with this sort of thing that ‘done’ is generally more important than ‘perfect’!

This post will focus on data – what you need to look into and pull together in order to start writing a document up. You can broadly use this approach for any of your social channels, though I am focusing here more on Twitter and Facebook, as they are widely used and have fantastic built-in analytics.

Let’s get analytical

Firstly you need to answer the question: what are our audiences responding to? You will need to do this separately for each channel – the nuts and bolts might be slightly different but the process will be the same.
1.Choose a timeframe. I would recommend six months as a solid starting point. Shorter periods might be less useful, particularly if you have had a specific campaign running that might have skewed your content output over that time.
2.Export the post data. I do this within the platform, as sometimes third party platforms cause variations in the data that I don’t quite understand. That said – if you prefer to use a third party platform, that’s fine too – just so long as you continue to use it when reviewing ongoing performance, so you are comparing like-for-like. Note that you might also need to do multiple exports, as some platforms have a limit (eg three months) for the date range you can export.
3.Determine what to measure. I tend to look at visibility and engagement.

Twitter: Exporting the data from Twitter gives you “impressions” and “engagement rate”. Reach is generally a more useful measure for engagement, as it tells you how many people have seen your content in their feed; impressions can be misleading because you can’t break down how often the same people have seen your content. That said, for the purposes of this work, impressions is fine so long as you continue to use the same measure when evaluating ongoing results.

To read the full CharityComms article click here.

Source: CharityComms


Meaningful Engagement: Do You Need a Social Strategy?

If CharityComms had a pound for every time a potential client included in their initial contact the sentence: “We want to grow our fundraising from social channels” They’d be rich.

Digital is – rightly – a cornerstone of many charities’ strategies now, and over the last few years growth in digital income has been a key tool in staving off the flat-lining or decline of previously solid channels. And, of course, organic social offers the opportunity to raise awareness, create PR opportunities and engage directly with followers – and you can “make it go viral”…!

The thing is, though, it’s not quite that straightforward. Many charities see little by way of discernible results, but feel they should be on social channels because everyone else is / their audience is / there’s a line in the broader organisational strategies about growing social. Your followers – even for those of you blessed with a comparatively large audience – aren’t sitting there, waiting for you to post something. In fact, many of them might not even be seeing your posts at all, depending on what’s going on with the algorithms / your engagement / other things happening on social this week.

So helping someone drive value from social starts with helping them build their social community online. I want to run you through a basic guide to how you can do this for yourself.

Why should we have a social engagement strategy?
•To give focus to what you share on your social channels – and how you share it
•To build in a test and learn approach to your content delivery
•To build an audience who will help you achieve your organisational goals

Making an impact on social media

Often, charities use social channels to broadcast. Sharing “our” news. Updating you on “our” latest achievement. Telling you what “we” are doing. It’s not all that, well, social. So, typically, engagement with posts is pretty low, audience growth is slow and many of your posts are essentially you screaming into the void.

The good news is you can take huge strides to improve this situation. Creating a social engagement strategy will require a little investment of time, but you can keep this fairly streamlined. And it doesn’t need to be aligned with a digital strategy (if your charity even has one) or a broader comms strategy – indeed, for my money it should absolutely be kept separate to some degree, because it needs to be a living, breathing strategy with room for flex and change.

To read the full CharityComms article click here.

Source: CharityComms


Help the Charity Commission Improve Safeguarding Guidance

In October 2018 the Charity Commission published refreshed guidance on Safeguarding and protecting people for charities and trustees. The guidance is intended to be clear, concise, and a gateway to more detailed guidance where it is needed.

The Charity Commission wants to make sure that this guidance is useful for all charities, irrespective of size or purpose. They have published a short survey about how the guidance is being used and would appreciate your feedback. The survey should only take 5-10 minutes to complete.

Source: Office for Civil Society – Locality Team West


Fircroft College Partner Update

Fircroft College of Adult Education has finalised a timetable which compiles a list of new English courses in Birmingham and Sandwell that will be available from September. Extra courses will be added in October so if you are interested in hosting a course please do get in touch.

The next free teacher training programme is on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th September at Fircroft College. The training is for anyone who is interested in delivering an English course.  You can apply here, including for dates in October, November 2019 and January 2020. The course outline is attached along with the volunteer application form.

Please note the College now accept students who have been in the UK less than 12 months.

Contact Fircroft College on 0121 472 0116

 


Charity Tax Commission: Tax Reforms Could Boost Charities and Unlock Wave of Giving

New tax rules and more Gift Aid awareness could bring charities 100s of millions/year

Universal donor database and encouraging Payroll Giving would boost funds further

No review of charity tax reliefs in 20 years despite digital revolution

Tax reliefs offered to UK charities urgently need an overhaul, according to a new report from a group led by the former chairman of the Inland Revenue (later HMRC).

Taken together, its proposals would ensure giving is made easier while charities increase their income by 100s of millions a year and spend less on unnecessary admin.

Sir Nicholas Montagu, chairman of the independent Charity Tax Commission, has said that changes to the rules surrounding Gift Aid – where the taxman adds 25p to every pound given – and other reforms could incentivise giving and offer financial protection to UK charities and those who depend on them.

Speaking ahead of the publication of a new report on charity taxation, Sir Nicholas said:

It’s been 20 years since charity tax reliefs were last reviewed, and many of the rules were written for an analogue era. With people giving by text message and contactless payment, and with many donors themselves increasingly mobile, we need a system fit for the digital age if we are not to see the UK’s natural generosity held back.

The Charity Tax Commission’s recommendations could help bring the tax treatment for charitable giving into the 21st Century and result in a huge increase in the amount of money available for good causes.

Yet none of these proposals should involve significant extra public spending or lost revenue. It’s the right time to get on with this.

The independent commission was convened by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) in 2017 and is today, Wednesday 17 July 2019, launching its findings and recommendations.

It says that while top earners can use their self-assessment forms to claim back the additional income tax they have paid on money they give, many choose not to, while others opt not to pass it on to their chosen cause.

To improve this, one of the commission’s most eye-catching proposals is to enable higher rate tax payers to pass their tax relief onto their chosen charities more easily, potentially raising at least £250m more for good causes every year.

To read the full  NCVO article click here.

Source: NCVO


Charity Tax Commission Releases Full Report

In October 2017 NCVO established an independent Charity Tax Commission to undertake a full review of the impact of the tax system on charities. The commission was chaired by Sir Nicholas Montagu, a former chair of the Inland Revenue, who was joined by a board of six commissioners with extensive charity, economic and fiscal expertise. NCVO provided secretariat support for the commission.

The commission published its report in July 2019. Read the press release which includes a short summary of the commission’s recommendations by clicking here.

To read the full NCVO article click here.

Source: NCVO


How Your Charity Can Punch Above its Weight on Instagram

Almost everyone’s at least heard of Instagram. But perhaps you’re not sure how to best use it for your charity, especially if you’re a smaller organisation with fewer resources.

This is a timely topic of conversation; next week is Small Charity Week, organised by the Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI). The Small Charities Coalition (SCC) is using the week to launch their Big Support Small campaign, where they’re encouraging charities of different sizes to work together to have a powerful impact.

This got me thinking on how larger organisations such as where I work, the Charities Aid Foundation, can help. In our 2019 Charity Landscape report it was revealed that 86% of charities with an annual income below £1m are trying to boost social media engagement or are planning on doing so in the next 12 months.

I know that 91% of charities are run by volunteers and have limited budgets. So, with this in mind, I wanted to share this quick and easy guide for small charity full of free advice on how to get up and running on Instagram.

Let’s start with some juicy stats:

  • Instagram is the second most engaged with the network after Facebook
  • There are 1 billion monthly active users and 25 million business profiles
  • Users like 4.2 billion posts per day
  • There are 95 million posts per day and 500 million stories a day

And most importantly: it’s your chance to tell your story and reach donors, volunteers and advocates.

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News


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