Organisational Development

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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

Coronavirus: Digital marketing action plan published for charities

Mediaworks has published guidance for charities and businesses on the digital marketing opportunities and threats caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Switching retail operations to eBay and Amazon and updating online calls to action are among key advice given in a digital marketing action plan for charities and businesses during the coronavirus (Covid -19) pandemic.

The action plan has been released by digital marketing agency Mediaworks for charities and businesses on how to be “agile and adapt your marketing approach based on potential digital opportunities and threats” caused by the pandemic.

“Over the last few weeks, marketing departments across the world have been faced with the unrivalled challenge of changing strategy, adjusting budgets, and deploying untested tactics,” said the agency.

The action plan has been released following a survey of charity leaders revealed a drop in confidence in using digital as the sector battles to attract donations and revenue amid rising demand.

Online information such as contact details, office opening hours and available services needs to be updated on charities’ own websites and also via third party listing sites.

Charities are advised to “check their contact details on their online and offline assets and listings, including Google My Business, Bing Maps and Waze”.

A constant update on ensuring such information is accurate “is crucial” said Mediaworks.

Read the Full Charity Digital News Article by clicking here.

Source: Charity Digital

The Difficulty of Recording Impact Accurately

Whether as a fundraiser, project coordinator or director, if you work for a charity a big part of your role is about being accountable. And this accountability ultimately comes down to one thing: impact. Now, of course, different charities will report on different aspects of impact, but fundamentally the challenge remains the same. How do you capture your impact, and why is it important?

What do we mean by impact?

As mentioned before, every charity will have different criteria by which they measure their impact. What number of organisations have you worked in partnership with? How many people have you trained or supported? How many capital projects have been delivered? How many vulnerable people will benefit? And arguably more importantly, how has it benefitted them? What changes have we seen?

This brings us to the two different types of impact: qualitative (outcomes) and quantitative (outputs). The latter deals with facts and statistics. How many people did you reach? How many resources did you provide? The former, more anecdotal approach refers to all the benefits, positives, changes and impact that are a bit harder to put a number on. It could be a quote from a beneficiary, a photo, video or case study capturing the positive effect of a project for one person in particular.

To read the full Charity Today news story click here.

Source: Charity Today

Charities too Complacent About Cyber-Crime

Charities are too complacent about the risk of cyber-crime, a leading insurer has warned.

Research carried out by Ecclesiastical Insurance found the majority of charities (81%) believe they are ‘fully prepared’ to deal with a cyber-attack. Good service from an IT provider (48%) is the main reason for charities feeling secure, while clear protocols and procedures is cited by 17%.

But many charities don’t have adequate systems in place to prevent a cyber breach, the insurer warned. The research found just half (52%) have a cybersecurity plan in place, while fewer have a specific cyber risk management plan (42%) or cyber insurance (42%) in case the worst happens.

Attacks on charities have been steadily rising in recent years and a third of respondents believe the risk of a cyber-attack has increased in the past year, rising to 40% among larger charities.

To read the full Charity Today news story click here.

Source: Charity Today

Solving the Top 5 Challenges of Onboarding and Motivating the Volunteer Workforce

Volunteers are the lifeblood of many UK charities and not-for-profits. According to the Community Life Survey, volunteers donate over 2 billion hours of their time each year – equivalent to 1.25 full-time employees.

However, research suggests that volunteer engagement is harder to build, and loyalty harder to retain. That presents both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is to find new and better ways to onboard and engage your volunteers – the opportunity is to break down the barriers that are getting in the way so your whole organisation can be more effective.

1. Paperwork

For most not-for-profits, taking on volunteers has more than its fair share of associated – and often essential – paperwork. It’s critical that this doesn’t bog down either yourselves or your volunteers. Everyone hates being asked to provide the same information in triplicate, or wasting hours chasing down missing forms – or turning up on the first day to be told you can’t actually do anything because an essential check has not been completed.

Mapping out your new joiner process can help minimise the risk. What information do you need to collect for each volunteer, how do you get it and who needs to be involved? Once you’ve got to grips with the process, finding onboarding tools that can help you streamline the collection of the relevant documents and data are worth their weight in gold.

To read the full Charity Today news story click here.

Source: Charity Today

Legal Structures Workshop

Active Black Country, in collaboration with Sports Structures, are inviting Black Country based organisations/groups/clubs to a Legal Structures workshop which will take place on the evening of Thursday, 5th March, 6 pm – 8 pm.  The venue is the Molineux Stadium, Waterloo Road, Wolverhampton WV1 4QR.

It is important that organisations/groups take the time to explore different structures. By attending this workshop you will gain an understanding of what structure is right for your organisations/group to enable success and stability.

This workshop covers:

• The importance of your structure
• An overview of different legal structures
• Top tips for becoming incorporated
• Selecting the best status, including CASC, charities and CIO’s
• Getting to grips with gift aid

Register for the workshop here.

The organisers hope that as many groups as possible will be able to join them, particular those involved in sport and physical activity in the Black Country.

Refreshments will be provided.

Car Parking:
Onsite car parking is available at pay and display car parks. Conference and event visitors park for free. Please pick up a car parking pass from the main reception on arrival and display it on your windscreen.

A Cloud Security Checklist for Charities

It would not be an exaggeration to call it “the cloud revolution” – cloud platforms and services such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platforms as a Service (PaaS) have enabled organisations of all kinds to take advantage of on-demand computing power, storage and tools that would previously be unimaginable for all but the biggest budgets.

The cloud is an absolute no-brainer for charities running digital services, websites or infrastructure, but for organisations that handle sensitive constituent and donor data, security is the first concern.

Storing data in the cloud is generally safer than keeping it locally for the simple reason that major cloud providers are held to strict standards to be able to operate, and these include being responsible for customers’ data in their datacentres. As a cloud infrastructure customer, you fortunately inherit the best practises of that vendor around policies, architecture and processes built to keep security-sensitive organisations’ data safe.

However, there are a few vital checks you should make before taking the plunge with a cloud vendor:

1. Verify your provider

A provider should be able to demonstrate their adherence to security standards and best practises by showing that they comply with industry-recognised standards.

Security schemes like ISO 27001 or certification under the government’s Cyber Essentials Scheme are good ones to look out for, but there are multiple.

The Cloud Industry Forum, a professional membership body for cloud providers, lists a few of the most common security certifications and regulatory standards on its website.

To read the full Charity Digital News Article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News

Queen’s Speech Commits Government to Online Harms Law

The Government has committed itself through the Queen’s Speech to bringing in online harms legislation to protect children and vulnerable adults from digital threats.

The protection measures, outlining tougher checks on social media platforms to prevent online abuse, had been introduced by the government in April 2019 through an online harms white paper.

In this week’s Queen’s Speech the government has confirmed that it “will develop legislation to improve internet safety for all”.

“Britain is leading the world in developing a comprehensive regulatory regime to keep people safe online, protect children and other vulnerable users and ensure that there are no safe spaces for terrorists online,” states the Queen’s Speech, which was introduced into parliament on Thursday following the Conservative Party’s general election victory this month.

It adds: “ The April 2019 online harms white paper set out the government’s plan for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online. The government will continue work to develop this legislation, alongside ensuring that the UK remains one of the best places in the world for technology companies to operate.”

The white paper measures had received the backing of a number of charities supporting vulnerable people from internet harm, in particular relating to children at risk from sex offenders.

The proposals include appointing an independent regulator to ensure tech companies have a duty of care towards their users.

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News

6 Steps to Prepare for Your Next Financial Audit

Audits can be a stressful time for any organisation. Even if your records are completely blemish-free, the experience can still be taxing. This is heightened if you’re a charitable non-profit and your future funding depends on it…

So, how can you prepare for your next financial audit and what should you expect from it?

What is a financial audit?

An external financial audit is carried out by an auditor/certified public accountant (CPA) not employed by the organisation they are auditing. The audit itself is an examination of an organisation’s financial accounts, records, transactions, accounting practices and controls.

The auditor carries out this examination to check whether the financial statements prepared by the organisation meet the ‘Generally Accepted Accounting Practices’ in the UK (UK GAAP). These accounting principles are statutory as defined by the UK Taxes Acts.

Does your non-profit need an audit?

It is not always necessary for charitable non-profits to carry out an audit. In some cases, an independent examination may be acceptable instead. However, situations where an external audit might be required are:

If your organisation’s gross income exceeds £1,000,000
If your organisation’s gross income exceeds £250,000 and its gross assets exceed £3,260,000
If the charity commission requires an audit
If your charity’s governing document requires an audit
If trustees wish to have financial statements audited
If a funder asks to see your audited financial statements
In certain cases where a non-profit is not legally required to conduct an audit, they may choose to do so anyway. One of the main reasons for this is demonstrating a commitment to financial transparency. Furthermore, funding – in many instances – is dependent on conducting audits, as are ratings by charity watchdogs.

Preparing for your financial audit and what to expect

1. Define who will have responsibility for the process

One of the first tasks is to define exactly who will carry the responsibility for the audit process. The trustees of a non-profit have responsibility for the oversight of the conduct related to any external auditor hired. They also have the power to delegate this responsibility to an audit committee if they so choose. Nonetheless, those designated responsible must be familiar with the scope of the end-to-end process and be a member of one of the accepted professional bodies in the UK.

To read the full Charity Financials article click here.

Source: Charity Financials

The Best Cyber Security Tools for Charities

Charity Digital News has taken a look at some of the best cyber security tools available to charities – from general security to password management and measures against phishing.

Charities offer the potential of rich pickings for hackers and cyber criminals for several reasons. They often store large amounts of valuable data about supporters, they may control significant amounts of money raised from those supporters, and 44% of charities don’t protect themselves with the right cyber security tools since they don’t believe they are at risk.  That may explain why 22% of UK charities faced cyber attacks last year.

Risk management

It’s also true that many charities have a limited number of IT staff, and those staff may have a small cyber security budget compared to large businesses. That means it is essential for charity leaders to deploy that budget as effectively as possible to minimising the risk of cyber security breaches by mitigating the most common vulnerabilities.

Phishing, malware and ransomware

For many charities, the most likely form of cyber attack that they will encounter is a phishing attack, which involves criminals sending out fraudulent emails. 81% of charities reported receiving phishing emails last year. These emails often contain links to websites that imitate the websites of banks and other financial institutions to enable criminals to steal login names and passwords.

They may also include attachments that are infected with viruses and other malware such as keyloggers, which steal user names and passwords from an infected computer, and ransomware, which can spread around a charity’s network and encrypt the data on all the computers it encounters. The cyber criminals then demand a ransom, usually payable in cryptocurrency, to restore the systems to working order.

Date exfiltration

Criminals may also exploit vulnerabilities in software used by charities to gain entry to the charity’s computer network. Once they have infiltrated the network they will typically search for databases and stores of valuable information and exfiltrate any useful information that they find to exploit or sell to others in the criminal underworld.

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News

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