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How Charities are Responding to Cyber Security Threats

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey is an annual report by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). It reports on how businesses and charities are responding to the cyber security threats they face.

It’s welcome news that more charities than before have taken positive steps to improve their cyber security, according to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2019.

Since launching the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) small charity guide in March 2018, NCSC have worked in close partnership with bodies across the sector.

Together we are working to raise awareness about the cyber crime threat and provide practical actions charities of all sizes can take to protect themselves.

Results from the Charity Sector

These survey results are the first indication that collective efforts across the sector are contributing towards a positive change.

Amongst charities, the biggest statistical shift in the survey has been how cyber security is viewed by trustees and senior managers, with an overall 22 point increase over 2018’s results.

Strong increases are seen across small, medium and large charities, with cyber security now being seen as a high priority in 68% of charities with an income under £100,000; 82% of charities between £100,000 and £500,000; and 94% of charities with an income over £500,000.

To read the Charity Commissions full blog click here.

Source: GOV.UK

Major Risks All Charity Board Members Need To Think About – Part 2

Charities need to take risks as well as avoid them, so trustees and managers should draw up a policy to put these in context. This is the second part to last week’s article by the Directory of Social Change.


While not a high-level strategic issue, boards do need assurance that this is being dealt with properly. Compliance is not simply a box-ticking exercise. For ABC Charity, the inspection of a children’s nursery school by Ofsted will be crucial to its reputation and will help the board understand whether quality standards are being maintained, providing assurance that the operational team is delivering planned services.

Financial sustainability

This relies heavily on other strategic risk areas. A charity that is failing to demonstrate impact may find it difficult to source funding, for example. And non-compliance may damage reputation and jeopardises funding. But financial sustainability also has other aspects: does the charity have a viable business model, or can funders see the value to them in what the charity does and are they prepared to continue paying for it?

If a charity delivers fantastic services, but the costs are so high that no one is prepared to pay the price, then it is not viable. And with scaling down, some charities are finding that their management and overhead costs are now too high in proportion to their size. So financial sustainability risks are not simply about future funding, but also about the structure of the charity’s finances.

Specific risk

Finally, the board needs to consider whether there is a risk area that is specific to the charity. This may well link back to the risk policy and amplify a particular area of concern that needs to be managed well. The charity may be part of a federation, for example, with risks arising from the actions of others who share your name. Or the charity may be a membership organisation, with risks that the members and management team fall out of step and conflict ensues.

These are the big picture issues often missed off a conventional risk register, because the process tends to focus on the detailed listing of risks in various categories. To manage risk well, your charity’s board needs to engage in regular discussions with senior managers about the big five.

Source: Directory of Social Change

Lessons from the Charity Digital Code of Practice: Lesson 2 – User led

Since the launch of the Charity Digital Code of Practice, charities have been exploring how digital skills can help them increase their impact, efficiency and sustainability through its framework of helpful guidance points.

Zoe Amar, Chair of the Code and founder of digital agency and social enterprise Zoe Amar Digital is talking with charities and their digital partners about how best to put the Code’s key principles to practical use, starting with the first in the series: ‘Principle 1 – Leadership’ with Age UK’s Lara Burns.

This time Amar sat down with Giselle Cory, Executive Director, and Tracey Gyateng, Data Science Manager, at Datakind UK, to discuss how to build user-led digital services that ensure the needs and behaviours of people are kept at the heart of everything charities do digitally.

Amar: You were involved in commenting on the draft Charity Digital Code of Practice. What strikes you about how charities currently plan for user needs?

Giselle Cory: Small charities might have a lot of data about service users, but often the data that is collected is to meet funders’ requirements, with little time available for charities to reflect on how to turn data into insights to help their strategy. Charities need to make looking at their data a priority, asking themselves if they are delivering the outcomes they need to. You need qualitative and quantitative data to answer those questions.

Hiring data scientists and investing in systems will help. But it’s not just the resources, it’s also the mindset. If budgets and time are tight we suggest seeking pro bono support from Datakind UK. The Royal Statistical Society do some pro bono schemes, as well as Pro Bono Economics. There are other good resources out there. The Coalition for Efficiency can help provide support on measurement outcomes, 360 Giving have opened up lots of funders’ data, and Superhighways are good at getting small organisations tooled up.

Amar: As a small charity, how are you applying the user principle in The Charity Digital Code of Practice?

Tracey Gyateng: We’re applying the Code in how we work with the two groups we interact with, ie our volunteers, and also the social change organisations we work with. The importance of being user led, which is a core principle of the Code has made us aware of the need to build in time for both of these communities to contribute and inform our work. The code is useful in helping us to measure against best practice.

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News

Dying Matters Awareness Week: 13 – 19 May 2019

Dying Matters, aims to bring conversations and talk about the subject of death and bereavement into the national agenda.

On Tuesday, 14th May, 10.30 am to 11.30 am, Oldbury Library aims to increase awareness of  dying, death and bereavement  to help people make the most of their finite lives.

Go along and gain advice and information from a variety of organisations.  Drink tea, eat cake and discuss death.

Death happens to everyone. It is a normal part of nature’s order. Being aware of it, but not dwelling on it, is a key aspect of living a happy, full and productive life.

Oldbury Library
Jack Judge House
Halesowen Street
B69 2AJ

Telephone: 0121 569 4955

Free Impact Measurement Guides Launch for Small Charities

The online set of guides and tools has been launched by sector bodies including New Philanthropy Capital and NCVO.

A National Lottery funded website run by sector organisations has launched to offer a suite of free guides to help small and medium sized charities measure the impact of their work.

The website combines a raft of resources available through the Inspiring Impact and Impact Management Programme, which merged last year and are run by sector groups including New Philanthropy Capital, NCVO and Social Value UK.

On offer are free how-to guides and self-assessment tools specifically designed to help small and medium sized charities evaluate their impact.

This includes research reports, outcomes frameworks and surveys, designed and complied together with around 200 charities and social enterprises.

Diagnostic Tool

Also included in the impact measurement resources is a data diagnostic tool, which is a five-minute questionnaire offering tailored recommendations about what data to collect.

Already more than 110,000 people have used these resources and the groups involved in their launch hope it will be even more accessible being consolidated into one place.

The Inspiring Impact programme launched in 2012 and is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, Access – The Foundation for Social Investment and the City Bridge Trust.

“Thanks to National Lottery players more community organisations and charities will be able to better plan, measure and improve their impact with Inspiring Impact’s new website and tools,” said Joe Ferns, UK Funding Director at The National Lottery Community Fund.

“By creating a culture in civil society of continuous improvement, with the help of peer learning networks and free online resources, more and more communities across the UK can thrive.”

Judith Rankin, development and delivery manager at sports charity Sported, which has already been supported by Inspiring Impact, said: “Inspiring Impact’s network, support and resources have massively helped to develop both Sported’s own impact practice and that of our members.

“Our staff team have benefitted from the opportunity for peer-learning with other Inspiring Impact Champions across the UK, and many of our member groups have utilised the Measuring Up assessment tool which provides an excellent framework to identify priority areas.

“We look forward to exploring the new website and resources to build upon our work developing the evidence base for the Sport for Development sector.”

Source: Charity Digital News

10 Donations In 10 Weeks – Here’s What They Learned

The charity sector isn’t short of excellent blogs about the importance of thanking your donors. Most fundraisers are well aware that thank yous are key to building a relationship with donors, and that increasing support from existing donors tends to be easier and more cost-effective than recruiting new ones. But how many charities are actually putting this into practice, particularly when faced with the realities of lack of time and competing priorities?

Lime Green Consulting has been doing a little experiment to find out, making 10 modest donations to different charities over 10 weeks.

Professional curiosity wasn’t their only motivation – they work with so many fantastic charities, and since moving to Bristol have found out about many worthy local causes. Every year they have to calculate their charitable donations for their tax return – and although they support a few charities regularly, this always reminds them that they could do more.

10 donations later, here’s how they got on and what they think you need to know – about thank yous, conversation-starters and payment platforms…

The methodology

Each donation was a one-off online gift of £20 – this felt significant enough to have a genuine impact, but small enough to perhaps fly under the radar for charities who don’t routinely thank their donors. I suspect many £20 donors could be persuaded to give again – maybe regularly – if treated well enough.

They had never supported any of these charities before. Although they have contacts at a couple, they didn’t tell them they were going to donate.

Their passion lies with smaller charities, so most donations were to small, local causes that they personally feel passionate about – including youth, homelessness, refugees, food banks and city farms. As a ‘control’, they also donated to two large charities who really should have the resources to thank donors properly – including one spontaneous donation for Cyclone Idai, which has been scandalously under-reported in the British media.

They haven’t named any of the charities in this blog, unless to show examples of amazing things they did – this is about general lessons learned, not naming and shaming.

To read the full Lime Green Consulting article click here.

Source: Lime Green Consulting

360Giving Launches New Grant Visualisation Tool

360Giving, an initiative which encourages funders to publish standardised transparent data about grants, has today launched new visualisation tool. 

The platform, 360Insights, visualises data from grant makers and recipients of grants in an effort to further transparency in the sector.

The data shared includes the amounts awarded by grant makers, where grants are given, what types of organisations received grants, region of recipients, locations of grants and the age and income of recipients. It was developed by compiling data from sources including the Charity Commission.

Founder and chair of directors of 360Giving, Fran Perrin said: “As the numbers of funders sharing their data approaches 100, we saw the need to make it easier for anyone to see what the £26bn of grant making says about them. That’s why we built 360Insights and I am excited to see how grant makers apply this fantastic functionality into their decision making”.

360 giving was founded in 2015 to boost transparency in funding, and encourage grant makers to publish information. 99 funders presently share their information.

Its other initiatives include Beehive, a tool which enables charities to find potential funders online and GrantNav, a register of UK grant data showing 306,566 grants.

360Giving is funded by grant makers the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the Indigo Trust, Pears Foundation and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Perrin said: “When I set up 360Giving three years ago, I would not have believed that in such a short time we’d have so much useful data being shared, enabling insights into issues such as homelessness and the distribution of funding.”

Paul Streets, chief executive of Lloyds Bank Foundation, believes 360Insights will help his foundation. He said “Data informs everything we do – our strategic direction, allows us to check we’re making the impact we set out to and to challenge and improve our work.

To read the full Civil Society article click here.

Source: Civil Society

Free Guide to Help Charities Bid for Contracts

The government has published a free guide for charities bidding for public sector contracts.

VCSEs: a bidder’s guide to working with government was published yesterday by the Office for Civil Society, with support from the Cabinet Office. The guide was commissioned by Claire Dove, the Crown Representative for voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations (VCSEs).

It includes guidance on websites to find contracts, events about commissioning processes, preparing for a tender process, and how to make use of the Social Value Act, which requires commissioners to consider social value in their procurement processes. In her introduction to the guide, Dove says the guide is “just the start” and that she plans to work with commissioners and the sector to “increase the impact of the Social Value Act”.

To read the full Civil Society article click here.

Source: Civil Society

Near Neighbours February Training

Near Neighbours have three training days running in February at the low cost of £5 per day with lunch included, designed with faith groups in mind but is also relevant for those working with community organisation and charities.

All of the workshops are supported by a wealth of tools, examples and written resources that participants can take away for use in their project.

Please email for details on how to book.

Fundamentals of Fundraising

Thursday 7th Feb 9:30am to 3:30pm
Frank F Harrison Community Association
Cost: £5 (lunch included)

Develop Confidence & Skills in Fundraising for Faith Based Social & Community Action.
This training will look at sources of funding for faith based groups, how to apply, how to develop application information and how to fund-raise.

Click here to book your place.

Faithful Applications

Thursday 14th Feb 9:30am to 3:30pm
Frank F Harrison Community Association
Cost: £5 (lunch included)

Making Grant Applications for Social Action in Faith Based Organisations

This session will cover:
– Writing Techniques & Formats
– The Writing You Need Before Applying
– Writing The Application

Click here to book your place.

Faithful Organisation: Governance Training

Thursday 28th Feb 9:30am to 1pm
Frank F Harrison Community Association
Cost: £5 (lunch included)

The roles and responsibilities of Trustees, Directors. Committees, Staff, Volunteers and Membership in the Governance of Faith Based Community Organisations and Places of Worship.

A half day workshop that will explore topics of interest including:
• What is an Accountable Body
• Understanding Organisational Language
• Choosing a Legal Structure
• The Charitable Context
• Ensuring Trust & Credibility
• Why Risk Management
• Showing Who’s Involved
• Visionary Thinking
• Operational Planning
• Policy & Procedure
• The Good Committee
• Clear Budgeting
• Involving and Sharing Work

Supported by examples and good practice handouts using real life experience of national and local situations from a wide range of organisations and communities.

Click here to book your place.

Source: Near Neighbours

Five Ways You Can Improve your Digital Marketing

The digital transformation has changed the way charities interact with their supporters and donors. Here are 5 things you can do to keep up!

Nick Day from the Directory of Social Change offer some tips to help improve your digital marketing.  You can view the full article here


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