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New media engagement: Guidance from the Commission on the Donor Experience

The Commission on the Donor Experience has published a highly detailed report that includes 526 recommendations to improve the relationship between charities and donors.

The report is the result of an 18-month project involving numerous stakeholders from across the third sector, as well as the general public.

“Our research shows that profound change is needed and that charities need to give supporters genuine choices,” said Sir Martyn Lewis, chair of the commission, on the report’s launch. “It is time we stopped thinking about what not to do, and started thinking about what to do better, ensuring that donors feel really great about their giving. “That is why the commission is making this call to action to charities and asking them to think seriously about the promise they can make to donors.”

Digital focus
One of the many areas looked at in the report is how charities can use new media to grow engagement and loyalty with donors – with some excellent guidance put forward.

The relevant chapter in the report argues that fundraising and engagement via digital and mobile communications channels offer numerous ways for charities to speak to supporters and prospective supporters about the great work your charity does. Through rich and interactive content you can tell stories directly to the people that matter, who sustain your organisation and beneficiaries.

There are a number of low-cost, practical steps you can take detailed in this paper to drastically improve your supporter’s experience of your organisation online. The possibilities of fundraising through online engagement change rapidly so you should constantly review and improve your objectives, goals and infrastructure in this area. Learn from your supporters, peers and the world around you.

Here’s a snapshot of the guidance published, which is intended to provide highly practical steps you can take within your organisation to improve your supporters online experience and to increase your reach to prospective audiences:

To read the Charity Digital News full article click here

Big Lottery Fund Updates Guidance for Awards for All (England)

The Big Lottery Fund offers grants of between £300 and £10,000 to voluntary and community organisations, schools and statutory bodies in order to help improve local communities and the lives of people most in need.

To be eligible for funding projects must now meet at least one of the following three priorities:
• Bring people together and build strong relationships in and across communities.
• Improve the places and spaces that matter to communities.
• Enable more people to fulfil their potential by working to address issues at the earliest possible stage.

Communities should be involved in the design, development and delivery of projects. Examples of eligible costs include:
• Training costs.
• Volunteer expenses.
• Staff costs.
• Small capital projects.
• Transport.
• One-off events.
• Equipment.
• Utilities/running costs.

To be eligible for funding, applicants must have:
• Two unconnected people on the board or committee.
• A UK bank account in the name of their organisation.
• Annual accounts (unless the organisation is less than 15 months old).

Priority may be given to applications from smaller organisations. The Big Lottery Fund will consider the income of the applicant organisation when making their funding decision.

Applications may be submitted at any time.

Further information can be found on the Big Lottery Fund website by clicking here.

Heritage Lottery Fund – Funding to Restore Neglected Historic Buildings

The next deadline for the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Heritage Enterprise programme is the 31st August 2017.

The Heritage Enterprise programme supports enterprising heritage organisations in rescuing neglected historic buildings and restoring them to viable productive use. The cost of repairing a neglected historic building is often so high that restoration simply isn’t commercially viable. Heritage Enterprise makes such schemes possible by funding some of the repair costs with grants.

Grants of between £100,000 and £5million will be awarded to meet conservation deficits i.e. where the existing value of the historic asset plus the cost of bringing it back into use is greater than the end value of the asset following development completion. Not for profit organisations, or partnerships led by such organisations can apply via a two stage process with Start-up grants also available for pre-application viability appraisals.

HLF says, “Historic buildings can attract thriving businesses and boost economic growth. And yet many lie vacant and derelict because of the high costs involved in rescuing them.

Heritage Enterprise can help communities repair derelict historic places, giving them productive new uses. By funding the repair costs and making these buildings commercially viable, we hope to breathe new life into vacant sites. Not-for-profit organisations work with private partners to generate economic growth, and create jobs and opportunities in those places that need it the most.”

For more information on this grant click here.

Fundraising Regulator Looks at Widening Levy or Moving It to Statutory Basis

The Fundraising Regulator has said it has to make changes to its fundraising levy after it failed to raise enough money in the first round – including making contributing to the levy a statutory requirement.

According to a document seen by Civil Society News, the Fundraising Regulator has ruled out continuing on with the fundraising levy as it is, and are considering making a number of changes to the basis of the levy moving forward.

In a statement released this morning, Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the Fundraising Regulator, confirmed that the regulator is considering moving to a statutory basis for the levy.

He said: “We are currently reviewing the levy system to examine whether any changes could usefully be made in year 2.  The levy calculations were based on information provided to the Charity Commission by charities and all too often this has proved to be inaccurate.  The review is also considering whether there might be advantages in moving to a statutory levy in year 3.”

However, a source familiar with the situation said it was highly unlikely the Fundraising Regulator would be able to change much about the levy before the second round of invoices are sent out to charities in August 2017.

The document lays out three options for securing funding in future, which essentially involve either charging charities based on a different set of criteria – moving away from using a Costs of Generating Voluntary Income basis to one based on the amount of voluntary income raised in a year – or widening the scope of the levy to capture more charities.

Civil Society News understands that the regulator also considered charging charities contributing to the existing levy structure more, but decided against that option due to a wariness of angering the charities that are already paying.  The document also discusses the possibility of the third round of levy invoices moving “onto a statutory basis”.

Read the FULL article and statement from the Fundraising Regulator click here.

From: Civil Society News

Changes to Heritage Lottery Fund Grants for Churches

From September 2017, the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) Grants for Places of Worship programme will close to new applications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In its place, funding for repairs to places of worship will be available through HLF’s existing Our Heritage (up to £100,000) and Heritage Grants (up to £5million) programmes.  These grants will be available to both listed and unlisted places of worship.

Under the new arrangements, 100% of works and activities could be funded with no requirement for partnership funding, through the Our Heritage Programme. For larger schemes, more money will be available for individual places of worship. The Grants for Places of Worship awards were limited to £250,000 per application. Under Heritage Grants, applicants can apply for up to £5m per application.

Full details of the changes, together with details of HLF grants available for churches, can be found on the Historic Religious Buildings Alliance website. Alternatively, go directly to the Heritage Lottery Funds Website by clicking here to find out more.

Source: National Churches Trust

Reminder The Vegetarian Society – Grants

The Vegetarian Society is making small grants of £200 available to help support National Vegetarian Week community activities and events.

Activities need to take place during National Vegetarian Week (15 to 21 May 2017) and must promote National Vegetarian Week exclusively (so no non-vegetarian food or drink) as the primary purpose of the funded activity.

Fundable activities include cookery demonstrations, communal meals, recipe exchange or tasting. Why not check out what organisations did in 2016 as part of National Vegetarian Week here.

The grants are available to:

• Not for profit organisations in the UK (e.g. community groups, schools, and social housing schemes, etc)
• Vegetarian groups, local network groups and student vegetarian and vegan societies
• Informal groups of friends, parents or students.

The closing date for small grant applications is the 30th April 2017.

For more information about the grant click here or to order your free resources click here.

‘This Has To Work’: Last Chance For Charities To Clean Up Fundraising

If self-regulation by charities of fundraising is in the last-chance saloon, as we are often told, they are cautiously ordering another round.

From April, the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) plans to introduce an accreditation scheme to vouch for the training and behaviour of fundraisers employed by the biggest charities and agencies.

“Absolutely this has to work,” acknowledges Peter Hills-Jones, the IoF’s director of compliance. “Because if it doesn’t, the public and the government aren’t going to have any more patience.”

His remarks signals the awareness that charities have jeopardised, if not necessarily lost, a great deal of goodwill as a result of recent revelations about questionable fundraising practices. Some regulatory changes have been made, but the sector is very much on probation and risks more draconian intervention if it fails to show that it has put its house in order.

Hills-Jones believes people feel strongly protective of long-established charities and are passionate about any damage to the causes they promote.

“If we can turn that passion into convincing people we have changed, then the British people are nothing if not fair-minded and will give [us] a second chance,” he says.

The new accreditation scheme is expected to apply to 15 big charities with their own in-house fundraising teams and 25 fundraising agencies that work on behalf of other charities. It will cover telephone and street fundraising, including on private sites such as shopping malls and railway stations.

Accreditation will comprise an initial desktop exercise, observation of training and public engagement and, following a decision, any remedial work judged necessary to win approval.

The IoF does not intend to name and shame any charity or agency that fails the assessment, but to publish a list of those accredited successfully so that the public, or, more pertinently, says Hills-Jones, journalists and others with knowledge of the sector, will be able to identify any charities trading without the institute’s stamp of approval. Hills-Jones considers it “almost inconceivable” that any board of trustees of a larger charity would sign off a contract with a fundraising agency that was not accredited.

To read the full Guardian article click here.

From: The Guardian – Voluntary Sector Network

Closed – Reaching Communities Building Programme

The Big Lottery Fund have closed their Reaching Communities Buildings programme to new applications, as they consider the most effective way to support communities is to shape and maintain the places and spaces which matter most to them.

They are still able to fund up to £100,000 of capital expenditure through our Reaching Communities programme, to find out more about this funding programme please visit the Reaching Communities page for more information by clicking here.

Any forms already submitted to us will still be assessed as usual by the Reaching Communities Assessment Team. Anyone who has questions about their application should contact the Big Advice line on 0345 4 10 20 30.

Creative Black Country’s – Open Access Round 7 Awards Reminder

Want to make the most of arts and culture in your local area? Then why not apply for an Open Access Award there is still time if your quick.

The Open Access Award supports activities that build audiences and promote artistic excellence in the Black Country.Whether you’re a professional artist, performer or community group who have never experienced an arts activity before, this could be for you. Open Access is open to individuals, groups and organisations in Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. Open Access is a flexible award to support the seed of a great idea through to the growth of a great project.

If it builds audiences, connects local people with professional artists and brings great performance, art and creativity to the Black Country, Open Access could help you make it happen.

There are 3 levels of awards:
• Seed: Up to £500
• Grassroots: Up to £2000
• Growth: Up to £4000

How To Apply
Open Access Award – Round 7 is open for applications until Friday, 24 February, 2017.

Download the guidance note and application form to apply.

For more information email or contact us on 0121 525 1127.

Sport England Announces Launch of its New Community Asset Fund (England)

Sport England has announced that from 30 January 2017, sports clubs, local authorities, schools and community organisations will be able to apply for funding from its Community Asset Fund.

This is a new £15 million per year capital fund dedicated to enhancing the spaces in the local community that give people the opportunity to be active. This can include traditional sports facilities as well as outdoor spaces like canal towpaths, woodlands and open spaces; etc that can be used as part of an active lifestyle. Grants will be available for all types of projects and organisations can request awards ranging from £1,000 to £150,000.

Statutory bodies and education establishments will specifically need to:
• Provide a minimum of pound-for-pound partnership funding
• Demonstrate the strategic need for their project proportionate to the scale of investment requested
• Limit requests to a maximum of £150,000 within any 12-month period.

This is a rolling programme and applications can be submitted at any time.

For more information on this funding opportunity click here.

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