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Risk Insight: Risk Assessments for Local Community Organisations

As many local councils, charities and not-for-profit organisations begin to re-open their indoor and outdoor facilities, there is an increasing emphasis on decisions being made based on local risks. A risk assessment can help with the decision-making process, ensuring that risks have been identified and appropriate mitigating actions have been taken.

We have produced a risk insight to help you consider how to manage risks associated with Covid-19, as well as conventional work and service-related risks. The risk insight details each step of the risk management process, explains what information you should make publicly available and provides a list of useful resources.

Click here to download Risk Insight: Risk assessments for local community organisations

Please note that this intended to provide generic guidance only, to help you identify what may need to be considered when completing risk assessments for your local community organisation. Please continue to refer to all government, regulatory and legislative guidance to ensure your organisation’s continued compliance with regulatory obligations.

Click here to download Zurich’s Risk Insight – Risk assessments for local community organisations.

Source: Zurich

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

National Cyber Security Centre Guides for Working at Home

FSI in partnership at the National Cyber Security Centre have lots of excellent guidance for keeping your charity and your people safe from cyber attacks and crime.

Check out their new guidance on working from home and their Small Charity Cyber Security Guide with simple and low-cost tips by clicking on the links below.

Home working: preparing your organisation and staff – How to make sure your organisation is prepared for an increase in home working, and advice on spotting coronavirus (COVID-19) scam emails  – www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/home-working.

Cyber Security Small Charity Guide can be downloaded by clicking here.

For advice on helping your users to spot coronavirus scam emails, please refer to their guidance on dealing with suspicious messages.

NCSC’s new cyber security training for staff now available – www.ncsc.gov.uk/blog-post/ncsc-cyber-security-training-for-staff-now-available.

Tips for spotting tell-tale signs of phishing:

Spotting a phishing email is becoming increasingly difficult, and many scams will even trick computer experts. However, there are some common signs to look out for:

  • Authority – Is the sender claiming to be from someone official (like your bank, doctor, a solicitor, government department)? Criminals often pretend to be important people or organisations to trick you into doing what they want.
  • Urgency – Are you told you have a limited time to respond (like in 24 hours or immediately)? Criminals often threaten you with fines or other negative consequences.
  • Emotion – Does the message make you panic, fearful, hopeful or curious? Criminals often use threatening language, make false claims of support, or tease you into wanting to find out more.
  • Scarcity – Is the message offering something in short supply (like concert tickets, money or a cure for medical conditions)? Fear of missing out on a good deal or opportunity can make you respond quickly.
  • Current events – Are you expecting to see a message like this? Criminals often exploit current news stories, big events or specific times of year (like tax reporting) to make their scam seem more relevant to you.

Source: FSI

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Increased Risk of Fraud and Cybercrime Against Charities

Fraudsters are exploiting the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to carry out fraud and cybercrime. Police have reported an increase in coronavirus related scams.

The Charity Commission are issuing this alert to help charities minimise the risk of becoming a victim of such frauds and cyber-attacks.

All charities, but especially those providing services and supporting local communities during the coronavirus crisis, could be targeted by fraudsters.

Webinar about the risks of coronavirus frauds: what to watch out for and how to stay safe click here to watch.

The Fraud Advisory Panel and Charity Commission have pre-recorded a webinar with sector partners to help you spot COVID-19 related fraud, and better protect your charity from harm.

The Charity Commission have joined by fraud experts from the City of London Police and Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy who share practical advice and tips.

To read the full Charity Commission article click here.

Source: Charity Commission

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

Improve Your Fundraising Results: Seven Top Tips

Some of the most important things in fundraising don’t feel like fundraising.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that fundraising is all about asking for money.

But a good fundraiser knows that that’s actually only a small part of the job. The real time-consuming stuff, and the really important stuff, are the things that happen before and after the asks. In fact, if you get really good at the ‘in between’ stuff, you start to see that your asks become easier and your results improve.

1. Conversations with staff and beneficiaries

We have nothing if we don’t have stories that demonstrate the work of our non-profits. Someone once said to me that a fundraiser not collecting stories is like a sports writer not going to watch sport. So it’s important we make time to sit down with staff and beneficiaries (if possible) to ask them questions and build our story bank.

2. ‘Thank you’ letters and calls

By now we should all be subscribed to the ‘ask, thank, report’ mentality, but how many times do we dismiss a ‘thank you’ letter as a simple receipt? Actually, a ‘thank you’ is one of our most important (and my favourite) fundraising tools. The better the ‘thank you’, the more likely you are to get further support. It shouldn’t just be read and then binned… It should be so amazing that the reader tells their friends and family.

3. Ask questions

Asking supporters questions is a great way to find out more about your followers and help them feel engaged. And actually, it’s a great bit of content when you can’t think of or don’t have time to write something new. Haven’t mailed your mailing list for a while? Try emailing them, “Hey! Just wondering if I can ask why you signed up in the first place?”

4. Prospect research and cultivation

The more we know about our potential corporates and major donors, the better our ask. Let’s move away from writing our standard proposal and printing hundreds of copies. Instead, let’s take time to learn as much as possible and build that relationship to the point where our proposal is pretty much just a personalised confirmation.

5. Teach volunteers to fundraise

Your volunteers raise more when you teach them how to fundraise. They don’t sit at home thinking about fundraising, they don’t know what to suggest to their employer, they don’t know what to email to their family, and they don’t know what wording to use on their Facebook. A bit of encouragement and guidance goes a long way and is proven to help them raise more – certainly worth the time it takes to make a quick phone call.

6. Network

Yes, it sucks and you’ll probably feel really anxious at first. But networking doesn’t have to be a nightmare. It’s actually a great opportunity to meet people who share your values. People whose goals you can help achieve. And people who can help you. It’s no secret… The more people you know and the more people that want to help you, the easier fundraising (and life) is. So let’s get out there and start listening.

7. Learn from other fundraisers

There’s only so much you can learn from fundraising courses and books. In fact, with some fundraising qualifications you don’t actually learn anything. No… Most of our learnings come from other fundraisers. Why make the same mistake your peer made two years ago? Fundraisers are notoriously generous with their time and support, and for the price of a cup of hot chocolate you can pick the brains of some of the world’s best.

Source: Directory of Social Change

Every Day Counts’ as Charities Still Wait for Government Support

Charities across the country are facing imminent collapse as fundraising income dries up, charity leaders warned today.

Charities have been in conversation with the Government about a package of support for the charity sector, but warned today that without an urgent injection of money many charities of all sizes would start to close their doors as soon as next week.

With charity shops closed and fundraising events and activity cancelled, reserves depleted and demand for services increasing, charities are having to make immediate decisions about their financial viability.

Charity sector bodies have made initial estimates that charities will miss out on a minimum of £4.3bn of income over the coming 12 weeks, though the figure could be far higher. Many will also face increased costs as part of their role in tackling the outbreak.

Many charities would normally expect to make significant proportions of their income from public fundraising events in spring and summer.

Charities have asked for commitments from the government including:

emergency funding for frontline charities and volunteers supporting the response to the coronavirus crisis, especially where they are alleviating pressure on the health service or providing support to people suffering from the economic and social impact of coronavirus a ‘stabilisation fund’ for all charities to help them stay afloat, pay staff and continue operating during the course of the pandemic confirmation that charities should be eligible for similar business interruption measures announced by the chancellor for businesses.

Karl Wilding, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, which represents charities and volunteering, said:

Every day counts here. I’m hearing from charities whose income has disappeared overnight but who still have to run services for their communities. Many of them have very little emergency cash to tide them over, and even those that do will run out in a matter of weeks.

Many charities are helping in the current crisis to alleviate pressure on the health service or providing support to people suffering from the economic and social impact of coronavirus. Supporting the national response and helping vulnerable people to cope is our first priority at the moment but we cannot do that if we are on the brink of financial collapse.

I know the Government is working on this but for many charities around the country there is very little time to spare.

To read the full NCVO article click here.

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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