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Charities Need Government Cash To Avoid ‘Dire’ Situation

Sterling notes and coinsCharity representatives across the west of England have asked the government for £30m over the next five years to avoid “dire” consequences for local charities.

The group, which includes Bristol mayor Marvin Rees and the leaders of all three local councils, as well as charities and businesses in the region, has written directly to charities minister Baroness Barran, in a campaign coordinated by the Quartet Community Foundation.

The joint letter says that one in five local charities expect to cut services because of income lost due to the coronavirus crisis.

Five-year plan
The £30m would back a recovery plan for the west of England, which includes financial projects to stabilise income for local charities and support for mergers of voluntary organisations where that is in the best interests of beneficiaries.

The letter says: “80% of our local VCSE organisations have kept going through the crisis, using great imagination and energy to keep supporting people in need.

“With recovery on the horizon, 22% of our local charities, voluntary and community groups think they will have to cut services, and a further 20% are uncertain what the future holds.

“With income severely impacted and needs increased, it is a dire situation.”

Sue Turner, chief executive of the Quartet Community Foundation, said: “If charities don’t get financial support now, they won’t be here to help our most disadvantaged people through the tough days ahead.”

ACEVO: No signs of finances improving
The bid for regional support comes as the latest data from ACEVO warns there is no sign of improvements to the sector’s financial situation.

The Charity Health Check, which tracks charities’ financial confidence and is released each month, found that attitudes overall among surveyed organisations had not changed between May and June, although confidence has improved since the first weeks of lockdown in April.

Working with the Centre for Mental Health, ACEVO surveyed 88 charities in England and Wales. ACEVO says that, while the financial decline appears to be stabilising, a third of respondents reported a decrease in donations or new business compared with last month, and a third reported worsening reserves.

One in four reported cash flow was worse.

‘More vulnerable’
Kristiana Wrixon, head of policy at ACEVO, said: “It is positive that the charities we have surveyed are reporting less acute financial health challenges this month.

“However, talking to our members, and looking at data from the previous two months, I am deeply aware that an unchanged picture in June, is still a much poorer, less resilient and more vulnerable outlook than four months ago.”

Read the full Civil Society article by clicking here.

Source: Civil Society


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


Health Lottery Increases Proportion of Ticket Price That Goes to Good Causes

The Health Lottery has increased the amount of its proceeds that go to good causes by five percentage points because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The lottery said it was making the move, which will result in the proportion of its proceeds that go to good causes rising from 20.3 per cent to 25.5 per cent from today, because of the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak on charities and community organisations.

The Health Lottery consists of 12 regional and country lotteries operating under the same brand across Britain.

The money raised for good causes is allocated to one of the regions each month in rotation to tackle health inequalities.

The scheme, which has raised more than £115m for good causes since it was launched in 2011, initially caused controversy in the charity sector because a lower proportion of its proceeds went to good causes than the National Lottery, which passes on about 28 per cent of each ticket sold.

Martin Ellice, managing director of The Health Lottery, said the outbreak had left many charities and projects in a vulnerable position.

“That’s the reason we have taken the decision to increase the level of contribution by over 25 per cent, allowing us to support the health inequality projects that are so important to local communities,” he said.

“Every single one of the charities and projects funded through The Health Lottery carries out wonderful work and it’s of paramount importance that we keep them alive.”

Source: Third Sector


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Charities have Received Over £32 million From Dormant Trusts

Sterling notes and coinsCharities have received a total of £32 million from dormant trusts through the Revitalising Trusts programme since 2018, it has been announced, with the programme now funded to run until 2021.

The Revitalising Trusts programme is managed by the Charity Commission and UK Community Foundations, with funding from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). It aims to help inactive or ‘ineffective’ charities either get back up and running, or redeploy their dormant funds to other good causes.

The programme classes charities that have had no income or expenditure for the last five as inactive, with those that have spent less than 30% of their total income over the last five years classed as ineffective.

Once identified as dormant, the Commission gives the trustees an option to accept support to help them get back up and running. Alternatively, the funds are redeployed to causes in line with the aims of the dormant charity or the trust is transferred to a local community foundation to be managed for the long-term benefit of local communities.

The programme began in January 2018 and has contacted over 1,800 charities to date. The Commission has so far removed 179 charities from the register – 67 since lockdown – transferring funds to similar charities, to local Community Foundations or to UK Community Foundations, and revitalised 26 charities.

To read the full article click here.

Source: UK Fundraising


Coronavirus Sees Two-Thirds of Charities Change How They Communicate With Supporters

Lockdown has seen two-thirds (67%) of charities surveyed by Rapidata change the way they communicate with supporters, with use of digital rising sharply and 49% saying they expect to continue using channels they hadn’t used before in the future.

The findings are among those revealed in a new report from Rapidata, released today during Fundraising Convention.

For the report, Rapidata questioned charities on their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic, specifically around regular giving and how they had adapted their fundraising.

It found that, among the charities surveyed, communications saw a general shift from donor acquisition to supporter stewardship, with a big rise in the use of digital, and increased impact reporting and thanking.

Key survey findings:

  • 67% of charity respondents changed how they communicate with regular giving supporters during lockdown.
    Use of digital: 71% increased their use of social media, followed by email (62%), online advertising and online virtual events (both 46%). The latter also saw the biggest increase in first time use, at 16% of respondents.
  • A quarter (24%) increased their use of the telephone to thank supporters and reinvigorate relationships.
    Social media, additional impact reporting and thank you mailings were the top three activities used to tackle attrition.
  • Almost a quarter of charities (24%) pre-empted cancellations by offering payment options such as skipping a month, taking a holiday or reducing their gift.
  • The most successful channels for recruiting regular supporters during lockdown were social media, email and online advertising,
  • The most successful channels for stewardship were email, direct mail, and telephone.
  • Almost half (49%) expect to continue using channels they hadn’t used before lockdown.
    75% expect to continue their increased use of digital.
  • Barriers to digital uptake remain: 23% would like to make more use of digital but lack the skills or resources, while 17% are impeded by lack of budget.

Survey responses were received from 87 charities of all sizes. The highest proportion came from London and the South East, followed by Midlands and South West, with causes ranging from children and young people, to hospices, religious causes, animal welfare, and the environment.

As well as asking participants to share how they reacted to lockdown, and to the initial recovery phase of lockdown easing, Rapidata also asked about the strategies implemented to drive donations, mitigate attrition and protect regular giving income, and for their thoughts on the future of regular giving.

Read the full article by clicking here.

Source: UK Fundraising


Decline

Pandemic Impact Means Inevitable Shrinkage of Voluntary Sector

DeclineWhile it is too early to determine the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the charity sector’s finances, the sector will inevitably be smaller in the immediate future at least, according to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).

NCVO publishes its annual UK Civil Society Almanac today, which looks at the charity sector’s finances. Because of the time delay in charities’ accounts being compiled, audited and published, the latest data covers the financial year 2017/18.

It shows modest income growth in the sector during 2017/18, reserves back to their pre-financial crisis level and employment in the sector at a record high. However, with government income at its lowest ever level and public money the main source of income growth, the forecasted post-Covid economic downturn is likely to have a direct impact on finances.

Income

In more depth, the Almanac shows a modest income growth in the voluntary sector of 2% in 2017/18. This was the same level as for the previous year, 2016/17, and confirms a trend of the levelling off of  faster growth seen in the years prior, according to NCVO. Total income went up by £1.2bn between 2016/17 and 2017/18 to £53.5bn, but almost half of this increase came from two individual legacies that totalled £555m.

While  voluntary incomes were not hit as hard as expected during lockdown with a  joint survey by the Institute of Fundraising, NCVO, and Charity Finance Group showing that voluntary income from the public dropped by 14% whereas trading income fell by 72%, NCVO warns that this may  represent a lagged effect as was the case following the previous recession in 2008/09.

The Almanac also shows that while government income grew £280m from the previous year to £15.7bn in 2017/19, this was its lowest point on record as a proportion of the sector’s total income, at 29%. This, it says, reflects other income streams outpacing growth in income from government with the increased reliance on other sources of income further suggesting that decreased income from the public will have a negative impact on the sector.

Reserve levels completed their recovery to pre-financial crisis levels, reaching £63.5bn in 2017/18: just over the previous high of £63.2bn in 2007/08.

Additionally, NCVO notes that it took seven years to recover its net assets to pre-2008 levels following the global financial crisis. The speed of bounce back this time will vary for different subsectors, it says, and will largely depend on the overall economic recovery.

To read the full UK Fundraising Article click here.

Source: UK Fundraising


MP to Consult with Charities on Supporting Covid-19 Recovery

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked MP Danny Kruger to consult with charities over how they can continue supporting communities amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Johnson has written to Kruger to ask him to work with civil society minister Baroness Barran to “maximise the role of volunteers, community groups, faith groups, charities and social enterprises” as communities recover from the outbreak.

This includes how data and technology can improve the help the voluntary sector can offer communities.

Opportunities for young people is another priority, as is how charities can support those who have lost their jobs and facing poverty due to the outbreak.

Charities’ role in supporting the NHS and local services, including libraries and older people support are other priorities, according to Johnson’s letter to Kruger.

Delighted to be asked by the PM to work with @dianabarran on proposals to sustain the amazing community response to Covid-19. We have seen society in action in this crisis – how can we empower & strengthen communities for the long term? Pls email me danny.kruger.mp@parliament.uk pic.twitter.com/T9kxSCwArP
— Danny Kruger (@danny__kruger) June 24, 2020

The letter praises the “innovation, flexibility and can-do spirit” of charities.

It adds: “As we enter the next phase of our response to the crisis, the recovery phase, we need to sustain and build on this goodwill.

“The recovery will be long and hard and it is clear that our communities will need help that goes beyond both statutory welfare and economic stimulus.

“Government has a role to play in supporting the voluntary effort and social entrepreneurialism that has proved so valuable so far, and will be just as vital in the years ahead.”

Kruger has been Conservative MP for Devizes, in Wiltshire, since last December and was previously Johnson’s political secretary.

He has been asked to consult with councils and MPs as well as charities on developing proposals to present to Johnson by 24 July 2020.

Source: Charity Times


Unlocking the Power of Community for Our Common Good

At Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF) we want people in Oxfordshire to have better lives. For us, this means that no-one should have to sleep rough on our streets and everyone should have a place to call home; where every child has aspirations and the opportunity to thrive; and no-one has to experience the despair of loneliness, but instead can enjoy a true sense of belonging.

To make this a reality, we believe in unlocking the power within our communities enabling charities, businesses and the public sector (city, district and country councils) to work collectively in shared endeavour to improve opportunities for those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Therefore, with the new year 2020 almost here, I am delighted with the progress Oxfordshire Community Foundation has made during 2019 which has seen the launch of two key strategic programmes Growing Minds – a school readiness project to reduce educational disadvantage and Oxford Homeless Movement – a partnership of 38 organisations working to ensure that nobody should have to sleep rough on the streets of Oxford.   What better evidence of how Oxfordshire Community Foundation is already working in collaboration with others to unlock the power of community and starting to build an unstoppable movement for Our Common Good.

We believe OCF has a role to play at the heart of such social transformation, providing a voice for the community and the space for partnerships to come together.

We acknowledge that our aspiration to find local solutions to national problems is simply beyond the capacity of any one organisation. However, the real challenge we see is often not a lack of money but more a lack of co-ordination between all our various efforts as individuals and organisations.

Whenever, I talk about OCF, I am always minded to mention Our Common Good and the collective priority we share to inspire more “place making” by enhancing the role of national and local philanthropy to renew and empower communities to seek out ever more collaborations and cross-sector partnerships.

In 2020 Oxfordshire Community Foundation will be celebrating 25 years working across Oxfordshire looking to find local solutions to the national problems that are holding our communities back – homelessness, educational disadvantage, inequality and loneliness.  With this experience behind us we are becoming increasingly outspoken, seeking out every opportunity to share our knowledge and insight, adding our voice and influence to achieve greater impact.

To read  the full UK Community Foundations Article click here.

Source: UK Community Foundations


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


Laptop and notepad

eBay To Launch Training Programme For Online Charity Retail

Laptop and notepadeBay is launching a training programme to help charity retailers make the most of e-commerce opportunities.

Despite the easing of lockdown restrictions on retail, some physical charity shops remain closed. This is partly due to reduced footfall on the high street that is expected as a result of social distancing measures.

Therefore, eBay UK is urging charities to embrace online retail as a way to help raise funds in the face of the challenges posed by Covid-19.

It has announced plans to upskill at least 500 UK charities to boost their online sales through its new Charity Connect training programme, alongside giving grants to charities affected by Covid-19.

Charity Connect aims to help charity retailers to build an effective online presence through dedicated customer service, onboarding assistance, promotional support and a tailored eBay training programme.

Charity Connect will begin next month with a series of free weekly webinars for new and existing charity sellers on how to boost sales on eBay, including follow-up one-to-one sessions with e-commerce experts. Training will begin from Tuesday 7 July and is free for charities to book.

The charity initiative follows the blueprint of Retail Revival, a 12-month pilot programme with small businesses in Wolverhampton, where over 60 companies increased sales by 33% on eBay with revenues of over £7m through intensive eCommerce training and support.

eBay has also awarded unrestricted grants totalling £1.7m to the 250 charities on its platform which have been most affected by declines in online sales during the pandemic.

To read the full Civil Society New article click here.

Source: Civil Society


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