When trustees join a charity board they rarely do so because they want to get involved in the financial management of the charity; they do so because they are passionate about the organisation, its aims and ambitions. Many of these trustees, therefore, are not confident about their understanding of finance and can’t be expected to have a good financial understanding regarding the running of the charity.
With this in mind, Judith Miller from Sayer Vincent, has looked at some of the challenges around good financial governance, investigated the ingredients of effective financial governance, and provide some tips on how to engage trustees in the charity’s finance. Click here to read the full article.
In August, the Charity Commission introduced some updates to the Charities. Although there have not been any major changes, there are some interesting elements which are investigated in this article.
The 2022 update is focused on four main areas:
- paying trustees for providing goods for the charity,
- making moral or ‘ex gratia’ payments from charity funds,
- fundraising appeals that do not raise enough, or raise too much,
- power to amend Royal Charters.
Click here to find out more details about these changes
If you are trustee or in charge of running a charity, especially if you perform a role like Treasurer, Secretary, or Finance Director, the Directory of Social Change is urging you to respond to the Charity Commission’s consultation on the next version of the Annual Return, which is open until 1 September.
Read the report by Jay Kennedy, Director of Policy and Research at DSC, and take part in the consultation here.
Covid-19 exemption that allowed any charity to hold remote meetings set to end, regulator says in a recent report. The Charity Commission has said that charities need their governing documents to permit them to hold official meetings online.
If you need support reviewing your constitution then please get in touch with SCVO on 0121 5251127 or by email at email@example.com
Click here to read the full report.
Debra Allcock Tyler on Twitter, talks about everything you’ll need to know about charity reserves.
Charity reserves are one of the most misunderstood financial terms in our sector generally by people within our sector.
Debra talks you through a number of main points to consider.
1. It is very, very difficult to build up reserves – particularly liquid ones. Remember you need to demonstrate the rationale for having your reserves at the levels you set, as a funder may use this information to base their decision to award your organisation with a grant.
2. Donors do not want their donations to be used to build up reserves.
3. Funders do not want their grants to be used to build up reserves. I have never known a grant application to say ‘We need the money for our reserves’ to which a Funder said ‘ok then’
4. The majority of reserves held by operating charities are not liquid.
5. Even with voluntary insolvency there are very, very strict rules about who gets paid first – and it is always the government.
6. No revenue generating charity can ever guarantee its income – we put in funding applications or create appeals for donors or design services that we can charge for – then we can only use our best judgement as to the likelihood of success.
7. Technically we are not allowed to sit on big reserves – in law trustees are supposed to deploy the money it is given in service of its objects – hanging on to reserves over providing a service is potentially contentious and untested in law.
Read the full article by clicking here.
Directory of Social Change explain finance is for everyone, or at least it should be.
The better everyone understands finance, the healthier the controls environment, and better decisions will be made by your organisation. Financial literacy is a core capability for individuals and organisations to survive and thrive in today’s challenging context. However, in many organisations finance is seen as principally the responsibility of the finance team and people outside the finance team can feel alienated by the language and formality of finance and finance processes.
Here are some of Humentum’s top tips about how finance leaders can help people ‘get’ finance.
Read the full DSC article by clicking here.
The Charity Commission is working with the Church of England on plans to register 35,000 church charities over the next decade.
Church charities currently have “excepted” status, which means that although they are regulated by the Commission they do not appear on the register. Plans to bring churches onto the Register of Charities have been delayed a number of times, but the Commission’s business plan for 2021-22, published earlier this year, sets out plans to begin the process.
The plan said: “We will also begin preparations for an expanded Register, working with the Church of England to pilot and manage the receipt of applications from cathedrals applying for charitable status and then up to 35,000 excepted church charities over the next decade.”
To read the full Charity Civil Society article click here.
Dudley CVS and SCVO (Sandwell) are jointly hosting this informal session for charity trustees. This informal session is for people to learn more about charity trustees and their role, share their experiences and get support. It is being held on Thursday, 4th November 2021, from 7 – 8.30pm (via Zoom).
The agenda will be an open one, allowing participants to ask questions, share their experiences and get support with anything to do with being a charity trustee, whatever their current level of experience is. Staff from Dudley CVS and SCVO will be on hand to share their knowledge and offer encouragement and guidance to help run your charity.
The session is particularly aimed at anyone in Dudley or Sandwell boroughs who:
- Is interested in learning more about being a charity trustee before they become one
- Is a new trustee
- Has experience of being a charity trustee that they’d like to share or would like to improve their knowledge
- Would like to find out about organisations in their areas that might be looking for charity trustees
- Represent a charity that has trustee vacancies
This virtual session will be held on Zoom. Please register your place (via Eventbrite) to ensure that you are sent joining instructions.
Charities should act now to avoid being overwhelmed by pension costs. The CFG are urging charities to be proactive on pensions as new regulation edges close. If they want to avoid the potential pitfalls of new pensions rules.
The new regulations, which are expected to come into force in 2022, will significantly change how charities and other employers fund their defined benefit pension schemes.
Read the full CFG article by clicking here.
UK Fundraising, in their article, explain what their 10 key fundraising risks are and what trustees can do to mitigate against them. As trustees know fundraising can be a risky business and it is important for organisations be aware of whet theses are and take the necessary actions.
The risks they discuss include:
- Lack of a robust fundraising strategy – so that fundraising is conducted ad hoc with no real targeting of investment in the most promising areas. The answer here is to develop and maintain a costed fundraising strategy, linked to your organisational business plan, that focus on the future growth areas you have identified as your best future opportunities.
- Over reliance on a few income sources – such as too much funding from statutory sources. The answer to this is diversification, which can take time but is usually possible and makes your organisation more sustainable. The risks of not diversifying are financial decline and even organisational closure.
- High staff turnover – This can be very damaging for your income, as new staff take time to learn about the organisation and possibly to develop their skills. Departing staff can also take their contacts with them. If your organisation is affected, find out why people are leaving and seek to win greater loyalty – it will pay for itself in the long run. If you have an effective fundraising team, try to keep them at all costs.
- Compliance issues – In recent years especially, data protection has been a major hygiene factor for fundraising charities, so it is imperative to have someone who understands your obligations in handling personal data – GDPR is here to stay, Brexit or no Brexit. Other compliance risks include late filing with the Charity Commission, which funders will notice, so ensure your finance team is on track to file on time.
To read the full article click here.