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Covid-19 has Pushed Charities to Embrace Digital

Covid-19 has accelerated a digital evolution with the charity sector, according to a report published today.

The 2020 Charity Digital Skills Report provides insights into how UK charities have adapted to Covid-19.

Between March and May, the authors heard from 429 charity professionals about how they are using digital and what this means for trends around skills, governance, leadership and strategy across the sector.

This year’s report finds that the pandemic is the biggest cause of digital disruption in the sector this year. Covid-19 has pushed charities to “embrace digital with the aim of staying relevant, helping more people, developing new ways of working, fundraising and delivering service offerings”.

Before Covid-19, 30% felt that a lack of understanding and buy-in for digital from trustees was one of their biggest internal barriers. For those responding post-Covid-19, this had decreased to 15% of respondents.

Post-Covid-19 is defined as 20 March 2020 onwards, as that was when the government announced the closure of schools and shops.

More than half of charities do not have a digital strategy
The report finds that just over half of the charities that responded, 51%, still do not have a digital strategy. However, 39% have an organisational strategy that includes digital, or a digital strategy, and it’s a priority for them.

Half of the charities cited lack of funding as the biggest barrier they face to digital progress, and 48% of respondents said that their charities have not accessed any digital funding over the last year.

Most charities, 66%, rate their board’s digital skills as low or having room for improvement, down 2% from 2019. Only 4% are investing in digital training for trustees, down from 7% last year.

Baroness Barran, minister for civil society, said: “The annual Charity Digital Skills report continues to provide invaluable insights into the sector’s evolving uptake and engagement with the opportunities that digital provides – something that nearly all of us have experienced recently. Coronavirus has fundamentally transformed charities’ daily operations and the need to offer digital alternatives for everything from services to fundraising, which has proven important now, more than ever.

“Over the last few months, charities and wider civil society have worked tirelessly in their efforts to support vulnerable people and communities, and the sector has proven to be one of our greatest strengths. Boosting digital skills and capability will be central in bolstering the resilience of the sector through recovery as civil society continues to play a vital role in helping tackle the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

Read the full Civil Society article by clicking here.

Source: Civil Society


UK Community Foundations Appoints Interim CEO

UK Community Foundations is delighted to announce that Rosemary Macdonald, CEO of Wiltshire Community Foundation, has been appointed as Interim CEO of UKCF. Rosemary will be replacing Fabian French who, after 5 years in post, is standing down in April.

Rosemary has been seconded for a 6-month period from Wiltshire CF and will be starting work on 2nd March to allow a good handover period with the departing CEO. Rosemary served 6 years on the Board of UKCF until 2018, and during that period was Vice Chair for 3 years and Chair of the Membership Committee for 3 years.

Rosemary Macdonald said: ‘I am delighted to have the opportunity to take on this exciting new position. I am committed to the wider success of the whole Community Foundation network, of which I have been part of for 12 years.’

Jerome Booth, Chair of UKCF said: ‘We are very fortunate to have Rosemary joining us as interim CEO. She brings enormous experience of our network as well as a passion for the work of Community Foundations.’

On Fabian French’s departure, Jerome Booth said: ‘The Board is sorry to see Fabian go. He leaves UK Community Foundations financially much stronger than when he joined, with a diverse and sustainable income. The Board is grateful for his leadership at an important and challenging time in the network’s development, and thanks him for his considerable contribution to both UKCF and the wider Community Foundation movement.’

Source: UK Community Foundations


Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust Governor nominations are open!

Do you want to be involved in helping us shape the future of our services?

Are you 16 years or over and live in either Sandwell, Walsall, Dudley or Birmingham and the wider West Midlands? If so, why not nominate yourself to become a governor of Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BCHFT) and be an advocate for what matters the most for people of the Black Country with regards to mental health, learning disability and children’s services.

The governor role is very rewarding and it gives you the opportunity to:

  • Make a difference and have a positive contribution to the work of our Trust
  • Help us shape the future of our services and ensure that our patients and carers get the best possible care
  • Support and help continually achieve the Trust’s vision of: ‘Together we can achieve healthier, happier lives for everyone’,
  • Represent your own views and experiences that will have a positive impact on our Trust
  • Be an advocate for what matters the most to our communities, and share these with our Board of Directors
  • Be updated on the Trust’s performance and developments, as well as seek performance assurance from our Board of Directors
  • Act as an ambassador for your area of expertise or interest group
  • Attend and support the planning of member engagement events
  • Help build our membership community to ensure that it is representative of the communities we serve

To be a governor, all you need to have is enthusiasm and commitment for the role and an interest in your local NHS services. Whilst the role of the governor is a voluntary one, you will receive on-going training and support to give you the confidence and skills as well as the right knowledge to enable you to take on this important role.

If this is an opportunity that you have been looking for, don’t delay in submitting your application online at www.cesvotes.com/blackcountry2020.

Closing date for nominations is 5pm on Monday 6 July 2020

You can find out more about the governor role by getting in touch with Erica Pearce in BCHFT membership office on 0121 612 8061 or email bchft.membership@nhs.net


Charity Commission Issues Insolvency Advice

Charities in financial distress will have access to new rules on insolvency, which have been rushed through parliament in the last month.

The Charity Commission has issued guidance reminding charities that the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act, which was passed into law on Friday and aims to address financial problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic, will apply to voluntary organisations as well as private companies.

New rules The new rules include giving charities the right to apply for more time to avoid debt enforcement action, and limits the rights of contractors to terminate supply agreements with charities. The Act also temporarily suspends some provisions in order to reduce the risk that trustees are personally liable during the crisis, and places restrictions on winding up petitions where a charity cannot pay its bills as a result of the pandemic. It also introduces new procedures to help viable charities restructure if they are struggling with debt.

Charities under pressure The sector could lose £12.4bn in income over the year as a result of coronavirus, according to estimates by the Institute of Fundraising. The Small Charities Coalition has previously warned that several dozen small charities faced going out of business because of the impact of the coronavirus. –

Source: Civil Society News


The Albion Foundation seeks Trustees

The Albion Foundation is recruiting Trustees to join the Board. They have a number of exciting opportunities for suitably qualified and experienced candidates with specific areas of expertise to include wellbeing, promoting active lifestyles, impact and performance and equality and diversity.

The Foundation requests that applications are made by submitting a covering letter alongside a CV, by clicking “Apply for this job” to complete your details and online equality questionnaire.

Click here to see the full advert.

Applications close at 5 pm on Friday, 5th June.


5 Tips for Increasing Customer Retention with Email Marketing

It’s harder than ever to win over new customers, so now is the perfect time to focus on keeping the ones you already have. Email marketers, let’s make customer retention your number one priority.

Even during less challenging times, it can cost up to 16x more to acquire a new customer than retain a current one. Retention consists of many moving pieces, channels, and metrics, but overall it boils down to one main goal: increasing engagement and deepening your customers’ connection to your brand.

Email is your most powerful marketing channel and one of the best ways to strengthen your bonds with customers—and now, when customer acquisition is slowing down, those relationships are more valuable than ever. So let’s run through five top ways you can lean on email to keep customers.

The article takes you through these five tips:

  1. Audit your automated emails
  2. Build your segmentation based on customer activity
  3. When you can’t use email to win their business, use it to win their hearts
  4. Leave on a good note
  5. Think about how to bring lapsed customers back when the time comes

1. Audit your automated emails

Take a look through the copy and tone of your automated messaging to make sure it matches the tone of the current times and speaks to your existing customers. This is also a good time to evaluate your current customer journey and every outgoing campaign through the eyes of an existing customer to see if you can provide any extra support or thoughtful touches via email.

Here are some customer-first examples of emails that could take your nurtures to the next level.

Thank you and appreciation emails

With a thought to over-cluttering inboxes, a well-timed and executed thank you note can go a long way, particularly post purchase. You can also use this opportunity to point out additional resources, highlight support contacts, or offer a discount on the next purchase.

To read the full article click here.

Source: Litmus blog


Small Charities: How to Carry Out Your Own Cyber Security Risk Assessment

Small charities can often put off risk assessment, due to perceived levels of cost and difficulty. But these charities are at the greatest risk from cyber attack.

Risk is an everyday part of charitable activity and managing it effectively is essential if the trustees are to achieve their key objectives and safeguard their charity’s funds and assets, according to the Charity Commission. For that reason, it recommends that all charity leaders regularly assess the risks faced by their charities in all areas of its work.

A cyber security risk assessment can be particularly helpful because, amongst other benefits, it will enable your charity to:

  • Identify any areas of your operations which pose unacceptable cyber security risks
  • Prioritise areas that need cyber security improvements
  • Reduce the chances of cyber-security breaches
  • Reduce the likely financial and reputational costs of cyber security breaches
  • Reduce the impact of cyber security breaches on service delivery and fundraising

A cyber security assessment may also be a prerequisite for compliance with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Source: Charity Digital News


Updated Guidance on Independent Examination of Charity Accounts

If your charity’s income is over £25,000, the trustees must arrange for an independent person or accountancy firm to carry out an audit or independent examination of the charity’s accounts.

The purpose of this is to give the charity’s trustees, supporters, beneficiaries and the wider public, some independent assurance that the charity’s money has been properly accounted for. The trustees of most charities are able to choose to have an independent examination instead of an audit. Independent examination is a ‘light touch’ scrutiny that usually costs less than an audit.

To help trustees we have updated our guidance Independent examination of charity accounts: guidance for trustees (CC31), to make it easier to read and more accessible.

This guidance will help you appoint an independent examiner with the ability and practical experience needed to carry out a competent examination of your charity’s accounts.

Source: Charity Commission Newsletter Issue 64


Safeguarding and Protecting People

Safeguarding is a key governance priority for all trustees, not just those working with groups traditionally considered at risk.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has recently launched a range of safeguarding resources, supported by other organisations.

The resources were jointly funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the National Lottery Community Fund.

NCVO Safeguarding resources – click here.

You should use these alongside our guidance about safeguarding duties for charity trustees by clicking here.

It is also important that you contact The Charity Commission about any safeguarding issues, or serious safeguarding incidents, complaints or allegations which have not been reported to us.

Find out about reporting serious incidents in your charity as a trustee by clicking here.

Find out about reporting serious wrongdoing at a charity as a worker or volunteer by clicking here.

Source: Charity Commission Newsletter Issue 64


A Five Step Plan to Reduce Charity Fraud

Fraud is on the rise and it’s estimated by the Annual Fraud Indicator 2017 to cost the UK economy £190bn per year. Charities are far from immune. Recent cases have highlighted the vulnerability of the sector. Jonathan Orchard, Partner at Sayer Vincent, has put together a five step plan to help your charity avoid the financial and reputational damage that fraud can wreak.

Accept that fraud exists
Organisations are estimated to be losing between 3 to 8 per cent of their income due to fraud – income that won’t get through to beneficiaries. Additionally, the impact of fraud on a charity’s work, beneficiaries and reputation can be hugely damaging, so the first step towards reducing fraud is to accept it exists.

Understand your own vulnerabilities
Charities need to think like fraudsters and really scrutinise their organisation’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities. There are common areas for fraud such as payroll and expenses, payment and procurement processes, fundraising and of course cyber risks –which must all be considered.

Given the scale of cyber risks, we advise that charities should consider what information they are putting in the public domain and how that information could be used in the wrong hands. For example, publishing important contact details such as finance personnel or the names of key suppliers or senior managers on their website. Having access to these contacts makes it easier for fraudsters to engage in phishing.

Build awareness and the right culture
Fraud risks should be openly discussed internally with trustees, staff and volunteers. There needs to be clear policies around fraud, bribery and corruption that everyone understands. To develop the right culture, employees need to understand what fraud and theft means to the charity, the responsibilities of staff in managing fraud, details of any whistle blowing plan or policy and crucially, how the charity will react to fraud.

To read the full Directory of Social Change article click here.

Source: Directory of Social Change


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