RICHARD BLAUSTEN, editor of CHARITIES MANAGEMENT, writes: The news material below is just a selection of items to give readers a broad feel of what is going on in the charity world with an emphasis that is not necessarily seen in other charity publications. Thus we highlight corporate involvement with charities, particularly the fundraising efforts of staff, and we run management-related items that we feel deserve particular attention.
Do have a great read of the whole NEWS section.
Getting the right focus on tax issues
Before 2020 gets into its stride accountancy and advisory firm Deloitte is urging charities to get their focus right on a number of tax issues by answering certain questions in areas which some charities may find quite demanding but nevertheless may still have to be addressed.
Deloitte says effective tax governance is critical to reducing tax risk and HMRC will expect to see evidence that tax risks are taken seriously throughout the charity including at board level.
Fundamental questions which need to be addressed, if only to rule their relevance out, are: can the charity articulate its tax strategy and how is this embedded in the organisation? Has the charity complied with the Corporate Criminal Offence rules? Can it provide evidence of ongoing monitoring and review? Is the charity required to report under the Senior Accounting Officer rules? How are the charity’s relationships with HMRC managed? Who is responsible for this and how does this impact on the implementation of the tax strategy?
Employment taxes can be a big challenge for charities, says Deloitte. How and where charities engage staff and volunteers can make employment taxes particularly complex.
There are major questions to be answered. Do you have a process to assess the employment status of anyone paid off the payroll? Are you updating this process for the legislative changes due to be introduced in 2020? If the employment status of individuals changed would you be paying them the National Minimum Wage? Are you aware of any employment tax responsibilities you may have outside the UK due to the location of your activities? Do you track the international travel of anyone working on your behalf overseas?
Deloitte says that the area of retail Gift Aid has some key questions to be answered if only because when charities operate shops retail Gift Aid can enhance the value of donations received. But, says the firm, retail Gift Aid schemes are an area of particular focus for HMRC and therefore charities should ensure that processes are properly managed and all requirements are complied with.
The first question to be answered is are there clear processes for ensuring that Gift Aid declarations are obtained and sales are tracked correctly? Then is appropriate training provided to shop staff and volunteers with Gift Aid responsibilities? Is the charity able to provide evidence of this in the event of an enquiry from HMRC? Can the charity demonstrate an appropriate level of internal review and sign off for claims and associated processes?
Slightly improved outlook for charity employment
Despite previous political uncertainties, 52% of charity employers expect to increase the number of permanent workers in their organisation, according to data from TPP Recruitment. The charity salary, rewards and retention survey also revealed that 33% of employees feel their current role isn’t helping to progress their longer term career - a 2% increase from 2018.
Despite this, results indicate a slight uptick in the number of charity employees willing to remain in their current role, with the number of active job seekers who are planning a career move in the next 12 months decreasing year-on-year. However, those who indicated that they would move for the right role have increased by 10%, suggesting charity employers able to provide the right career path will be in a stronger position in the New Year.
In terms of rewards, a “higher salary” remains the number one motivator in job moves. However, “a new challenge” has replaced a “better work/life balance” as the second highest motivator. On average, salaries have increased by 1.5% in the charity sector. Almost a third (31%) of respondents asked for a pay rise in the last 12 months, and of those 36% were unsuccessful.
Tracey George, COO at TPP Recruitment, says: “Seeing salaries increase, although it may be marginal, is a positive sign. While pay is a big motivator for professionals across all functions, it’s vital that charities are capitalising on individuals’ desire for greater challenges and offering rewards in line with what workforces want.
“There is already an acute skills shortage within charities, and it’s important that employers are not only holding on to valuable talent, allowing them to progress and develop their careers within the sector, but also using examples of staff progression to attract top talent and meet headcount increase expectations.”
Recruitment consultancy fundraising for children
Recruitment consultancy Robert Walters Group UK has donated £25,428 over 2019 towards its chosen charity – Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity. The bulk of the fundraising took place on the group’s annual Charity Day, on Friday 11 October through activities by Robert Walters Group staff, across multiple sites throughout the UK. Fundraising activities included scavenger hunts, pie in the face, chilli eating competition, and the firm’s version of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
There was also a special guest appearance by actor and presenter Christopher Biggins on the day, who hosted the raffle and high prize auction.
Oliver Harris, CEO of the group’s outsourcing division Resource Solutions, says: "Giving back is in our DNA. In its eighth year, our Global Charity Day is an international initiative allowing us as a business to band together globally to give back to local charities doing great work. I am hugely grateful to our employees, our clients and our supporters who help us make a difference year after year.”
This year's Charity Day was particularly poignant as Richard Rogers, principal at Robert Walters, has received ongoing support from the charity after first receiving a complex prognosis for his son of quad cerebral palsy, global development delay, infantile spasms (severe epilepsy) and cortical visual impairment (registered blind).
The Robert Walters Group Global Charity Day activities weren’t restricted to the UK, with fundraising efforts taking place in offices spread across 31 countries, raising a total of £141,989 for local charities and community projects across the globe. Over the last eight years, the Robert Walters Group has raised £1 million for causes globally.
Big investment in hospice lottery business
The social arm of The Big Issue has invested £1.5 million in a lottery business which supports the hospice and wider charity sector across the UK. Big Issue Invest (BII) made the investment into St Helena Hospice in order for the hospice to grow its lottery services to allow it to generate more income to support not only its own hospice services but those of 13 other hospices and 7 charities across the UK.
St Helena Hospice runs a successful in-house lottery business, which was opened up to other hospices to run it on their behalf as “Your Hospice Lottery” (YHL) back in 2011. YHL now has over 60,000 numbers in play across 14 hospices in their weekly draw and has so far raised over £9m for hospice care. In 2017 St Helena set up Make a Smile, a lottery product to reach the charity market beyond just hospices.
Currently the lottery achieves an annual gross income of just over £4m and makes around £1 million profit for St Helena, additionally contributing over £1 million to other hospices and charities.
Brian Bolt, director of finance at St Helena, says: “With this investment, we have the opportunity to work on attracting new partners and new lottery players, which will raise the profile of St Helena and its charitable partners and provide more jobs as the lottery grows.”
St Helena supported 3,869 patients and families last year and has to raise £6.2m of the £8.9m needed every year to provide its services.
BII made the investment from the Big Issue Invest Social Enterprise Investment Fund II LP, a £23.8 million investment fund that follows on from the success of Big Issue Invest’s first (SEIF I) fund which is now fully committed having invested over £8 million into 21 social enterprises.
Charity bosses want to be liked
93% of UK bosses in the charity sector think it’s important to be liked, while 90% of their staff are crying out for their day-to-day experience of work to be improved, research by HR solutions provider People First has found. The research reveals how charity employers lack an accurate picture of how staff feel and the way it affects their work.
84% of charity bosses think their staff are happy and 76% believe most of their employees are fully engaged in what they do. But only 64% of charity staff find work makes them happy and just 42% are fully engaged or absorbed in what they do to earn a living.
“Likeability is good in a boss,” says Mark Williams of People First. “But with so many employees in the charity sector wanting their experience at work improved, you have to ask if bosses really understand their workforces. There’s obviously a happiness gap where managers believe morale is better than it really is. They are clearly failing to measure staff engagement regularly.”
The research found men in charities are more likely to say their work really engages them (48%) than women (37%), reflecting the longstanding difference in support and career development offered to women, as well as the well publicised gender pay gap.
Also lack of understanding plays a role in another difference between charity bosses and workers. Whereas 39% of employers believe most staff quit a job for emotional reasons, only 17% of employees say that’s the main cause of them handing in their notice.
From the research one can see that more than half of UK charity employees (56%) regard being rewarded for excellent work as important, while 51% want more opportunities for flexible working.
“Poor productivity is a British disease which we can cure through better understanding of what motivates employees and gets them into the flow where time flies and work is more enjoyable and fulfilling,” says Williams. “That’s why it’s important to rely on more than gut feeling about how happy or engaged charity staff are. Regular check-ins must replace the dated annual appraisal as only with regular conversations can an employer see the true picture of their employees.
“There are so many different aspects to any job in a charity, such as training, career development and flexible working, that making assumptions about what employees want is misguided. As a charity employer you need to know what makes your staff happy to work hard and what makes them leave.”
Taking business partnerships forward
Establishing a partnership with a business should be seen by charities as only the first step in an ongoing process of proactive engagement by the charity with its business partner, according to Nick Kotecha, founder and trustee of the Randal Charitable Foundation and also chief executive of Morningside Pharmaceuticals.
In a keynote speech at Voluntary Action Leicestershire’s Future Focus Conference, he stressed that as partnerships develop, charities should seek businesses’ support and guidance to improve key areas. At the same time, said Kotecha, “identify the big challenges for your charity that could be solved with the help of the private sector and prioritise these.”
He went on: “Build objectives into key projects to seek external partnerships, and reframe business partnerships as opportunities to cut costs or achieve activities that otherwise may not be possible.
“It may also be helpful to share insights and establish shadowing and mentoring opportunities with businesses to help understand how their processes could be of benefit. Remember this also works both ways and there is a huge amount of best practice that you can also share with businesses.”
Guidance for recommended lead trustee role
The Chartered Governance Institute has published guidance on the role of lead charity trustees in England and Wales, a position it advocates. The guidance reaffirms the importance of collective responsibility and highlights certain considerations charities should take into account when appointing a lead trustee. It also provides a specimen lead trustee role description to help charities with effective governance practice in this area.
According to Louise Thomson, head of policy (not for profit) at the Chartered Governance Institute: “The charity sector has seen increasing calls for individual trustees on boards to be appointed to lead on specific aspects of a charity’s activities, such as safeguarding, staff welfare, digital or fundraising.
“Such practice already occurs successfully in other sectors and there is no reason why the practice cannot benefit the charity sector - providing trustees keep in mind the notion of collective responsibility and do not abdicate their legal duties by deferring unquestioningly to the board ‘expert’.”
Says Thomson: “When considering introducing a lead trustee, the board should have regard to the intended outcomes for the charity, boardroom dynamics and the impact any lead trustee might have on board effectiveness; and how lead trustee(s) will inform and enhance board meetings and decision-making. Assessing the ongoing benefits of having a lead trustee in place will also be critical if charities are to effectively ensure that the practice is benefiting them.”
Key considerations include: benefits and drawbacks; time commitment, skills and experience; training and support; clarity about the purpose of the role; reporting arrangements; decision-making authority; performance reviews.
Investment initiative against modern slavery
The UK investment industry has been called to action on modern day slavery by investment company CCLA, in association with the organisation Principles for Responsible Investment. The two have invited the investment industry to join a new coalition of investors, NGOs and academics to address the issue. The initiative, entitled “Find It, Fix It, Prevent It”, will use the power of investors to encourage businesses to find, and then support rehabilitation, of victims of slavery within their supply chain.
While the global problem of modern slavery is a very human tragedy, CCLA points out that it is also an issue for business, the economy and investors. In the UK alone, we import over $18bn worth of goods annually that are very likely to have incorporated slave labour in their production and it is thought by CCLA that nearly every company has connections to slavery somewhere in their supply chain.
CCLA says that despite the UK Modern Slavery Act coming into force in 2015, few companies have made significant progress on tackling the issue. Through this initiative, CCLA aims to build a group of investors who, over the next three years, will engage with companies in their portfolios to develop better policies, processes and procedures for identifying and then addressing modern slavery in their supply chains.
The new initiative will promote public policy that incentivises companies to report on the effectiveness of their actions to “find and then fix” slavery, and it will seek to contribute to the development of knowledge as to how companies can better fight “this horrific crime”. As part of a commitment to transparency, the initiative will produce an annual “progress statement”.
Peter Hugh Smith, CCLA’s chief executive, says: “Quite simply, this is a moral case – as ‘good investors’, we don’t want to profit from slavery. Instead, we want to praise companies for finding it in their supply chains as we know that it is there.”
Report slams investment greenwashing
Research by investment firm SCM Direct alleges widespread “greenwashing” by the UK investment industry which it says is allowing ethical investments to be misclassified and mis-sold to the UK public. It claims that some of the country’s largest fund managers are making misleading claims about the ethical credentials of a fund offered by them or an investment contained in a fund.
SCM says that against the backdrop of growing investor interest in both saving and investing as well as acting responsibility in terms of environmental, social and governance issues (ESG), the investment industry is exploiting these investors by launching products falsely claiming to be either ESG or SRI funds. The report finds that the data being used by investment companies to select ethical stocks appears almost random, lacking reliable benchmarks or genuine transparency.
SCM Direct’s research says that there are no rules or regulations on the calculation of ethical data; some funds appeared to be mis-classified as having an “ethical” investment focus; several ethical funds were found to be investing material amounts in tobacco, alcohol, gambling and defence stocks; key ethical quantitative data provided by companies are not audited and open to widespread abuse.
Ethical scores/ratings vary enormously between data providers in terms of individual securities. For example, Tesla was found to be top on one provider’s scoring, bottom by another and average by another. When a company fails to disclose a piece of information to a provider, one data provider gave it a low score whilst another assumes an average score for the missing item.
The research finds ethical scores/ratings vary enormously between data providers in terms of individual funds. For example, an identical search for “socially responsible” funds utilising two different investment platforms (powered by the same data provider) produced completely contradictory results. Many ethical funds/strategies were found to be investing significant amounts via plain vanilla government bonds, e.g. one ethical portfolio invested 96% of its assets in a UK government bond fund, just 3% via an ethical fund and 1% in cash.
Quite separately, the research found that the average actively managed ethical equity mutual fund underperformed the market by 2.5% per annum over the three years to end June 2019, compared to a 0.8% per annum underperformance for the average passive ethical equities fund.
Alan Miller, chief Investment officer at SCM Direct, says: “It is ironic that clients who have sought ethical investments face unethical behaviour from investment firms purporting to have principles. We are certain the average investor would be shocked by the composition of many ethical investment products which often have significant exposures to tobacco, alcohol and defence stocks, and plain vanilla UK government bonds.
“In terms of government bonds, the UK Government receives substantial revenues from the tobacco industry, the gaming industry and has exposure to both nuclear weapons and nuclear power.”
SCM Direct makes the following recommendations:
- Common data accounting standards for this product sector should be internationally agreed to include standardised data points so key data can be independently audited and signed off.
- There should be industry-wide collaboration so large data providers are encouraged to work with each other to discuss and resolve “discrepancies” in approach and results.
- The FCA urgently starts a review of the UK ethical investment sector and considers enforcement against funds/portfolios whose marketing materials are found to be misleading clients.
- Given the wide range of strategies and philosophies, and opposing views on individual securities, investors should be afforded 100% transparency, on a regular six-monthly basis, so they are fully aware of the full list of securities held in their investments. This would enable them to make fully informed decisions that best match their own ethical parameters.
Gina Miller, co-founder of SCM Direct, says: “It is crucial that investors and fund managers are part of the pressure on companies to operate in a manner that makes the world a better place, by rewarding them with their investable pound. But our research has found investors are being hoodwinked.
“Whilst the FCA recently said that it ‘will challenge firms where we see potential greenwashing and take appropriate action to prevent consumers being misled’, we are not aware of a single firm facing enforcement action by the FCA for greenwashing.”
ESG investing produces performance and impact
A survey by Newton Investment Management reveals that charities’ perception of the impact ESG (environmental, social and governance) has on investment performance has shifted over the last 12 months. Nearly two thirds (63%) of respondents say that ESG engagement has an impact, but of those 63%, 62% now feel that ESG engagement has a positive impact on investment performance - a 21% increase compared with the 2018 survey.
When it comes to engaging with companies on climate change in particular, 70% of charities feel that engagement is the best approach to ensuring climate change factors are considered. While 24% feel that divesting from companies with environmentally intensive practices is the best approach, 64% of charities feel that it is their responsibility to think about climate change, with almost a third coming under pressure from their stakeholders to look at topics related to the issue.
Charities are also responding to the social and political environment in addressing investments that are considered “unethical” and represent a growing reputational risk. Some 57% of charities use policies that exclude certain investment types on an ethical basis, demonstrating that exclusions are no longer a minority practice.
Alan Goodwin of Newton Investment Management says: “Charities are continuing to navigate choppy waters as they respond to the risks posed by economic uncertainty and the changing landscape surrounding ESG issues. This year’s survey has shown the extent to which ESG factors such as climate change mitigation are viewed as part of charities’ responsibilities and how this affects their attitudes to investment. These factors are now viewed less as a handbrake on investment performance, and more as a catalyst for positive change.
“This shift towards greater ESG engagement is likely to accelerate over the coming years, as charities would rather engage with businesses to change their behaviour than shut the door completely. Sustainable investing is about putting ESG considerations at the core of the investment process. Engagement with companies which demonstrate the potential to improve their performance on ESG issues can enable both shareholders and society to capture real benefits.”
Charities not confident about funding levels
UK charities are not confident of their ability to generate the income needed to meet their charitable objectives, fearing political uncertainty and an economic downturn at a time when they are being asked to do more following a decade of austerity, according to research by investment managers Brewin Dolphin in the report Charity Investment: navigating uncertain times. Brewin Dolphin first conducted comparable research in the charity sector in 2017.
According to the Brewin Dolphin report, half (50%) of charities are not confident that their funding levels will enable them to meet their charitable objectives in 2020. A slowdown in the economy is considered the biggest risk to future income and the ability to meet objectives for 45% of charities. The number of charities fearing a global recession has more than doubled to 26% against just 11% in 2017. Over a third (35%) say political uncertainty is among their primary concerns.
Low growth in markets is cited as the primary investment risk for nearly half (48%) of charities, followed closely by volatility (44%). 40% of charities now hold “alternative” investments, suggesting that they are increasingly seen as “mainstream”.
Over three quarters (77%) of charities with investment policy statements contain ethical criteria. 58% of charities negatively screen their investments. Just 13% positively screen investments, holding investments in companies which contribute to society.
47% of charities believe their trustees’ understanding of financial and investment knowledge to be good or very good. Just under half (48%) of charities agree that they would benefit from trustees with more varied skill sets. 43% of charities believe that current regulatory requirements are too demanding.
Ruth Murphy, head of charities at Brewin Dolphin, says: “Grant-making charities can always cut their cloth accordingly by reducing the grants they make, but service-providing charities do not have that flexibility. Charities which do invest do so for the long term across various asset classes and are well placed to ride out fluctuations and volatility in the market.”
The research from Brewin Dolphin highlights what is the burden of compliance. Smaller charities feel overwhelmed and many call for an appropriate regime to reflect more efficiently their scale of operation.
Murphy says: “There is an alphabet soup of requirements from MIFID, FACTA and SORP, plus the demands of the Charity Commission. It is not surprising that 43% of trustees believe that the requirements are simply too demanding.
“Given that the average size of a charity’s board of trustees is between six and ten, they have little realistic chance of digesting easily all that is required of them. The one size fits all approach to charity regulation isn’t working, and the likely result is that charities will find trustees in short supply. A number of our survey respondents made comments about regulators, including calls for the Charity Commission to introduce a telephone helpline for trustees. Charities want a simple and speedy response.”
Brewin Dolphin’s research points to the active role charities take in their approach to ethical investing, with over three quarters of charities with investment policy statements specifically referencing ethical investment criteria. Negative screening – the deliberate exclusion of certain companies – is the preferred option but is not the only approach.
Says Murphy: “Our research suggests that just 13% of charities positively screen their investments, a fall on two years ago when 24% positively screened. It is hard to do, and it is likely that charities are opting to choose the screening offered directly by their investment managers rather than to do it themselves.”
Donation fatigue hits SME support for charities
Although the UK’s small and medium sized enterprises are clear about the benefits charity support has on employee morale and the positive messages it sends about a company’s culture, many feel their workers are suffering from “donation fatigue”, most notably in London, according to research for Close Brothers Asset Finance.
Over half of SMEs polled said they supported a charity – rising to 82% in London – noting that it both creates a bond in the team and gives employees “something positive to focus on”. While 47% of SMEs don’t formally support charities, of those 11% feel they aren’t “big enough” to.
“Over the last few years, in particular, support for charities has increasingly become embedded into businesses’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda and strategy,” says Neil Davies, CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance. “This comes with multiple benefits, from promoting employee morale to attracting new talent to businesses, many of whom put a large amount of store in a potential employer’s CSR commitments.”
Business owners were found to be particularly generous by allowing employees time off to participate in charitable events, with 39% allowing paid time off and a further 31% offering unpaid leave. The remaining 30% ask employees to take it as annual leave.
Charitable bequests to jump next 25 years
According to analysis firm Legacy Foresight, in its report Giving Tomorrow – Legacy and In-Memory 2045, UK legacy and in-memory giving will be worth twice as much in real terms as it is today. The number of charitable bequests will have grown from 120,000 to 200,000, thanks to a combination of more deaths, more will-making and a higher proportion of people leaving a gift in their will. This growth will be driven by the large, mainly affluent and liberal baby boomer generation (born 1946-1964).
The Legacy Foresight report says that compared to the war babies who came before them, baby boomers are far cannier about the money they leave behind. To them their gifts are investments – they want to see the way that money will be spent and the impact it will have. Charities should expect far more questioning of the causes these donors support, and more ambitions for their legacy and what it can achieve.
Legacy Foresight highlights the increasing importance of child-free and non-conformist donors. Nearly one in five women born in the 1960s are child-free. By 2045 this group will account for a significant share of all legacy giving. These child-free donors are happy to flout convention, basing their legacy decisions on who “needs” and “deserves” their gift the most, whether that’s family, friends or a trusted charity – rather than who “should” have it.
Meanwhile, in the face of ever more economic and social uncertainty, those with children are finding it harder to make space in their will for anyone outside their immediate family.
Another trend highlighted in the report is that rather than leaving one or two charitable donations, people are choosing to split their giving between more charities, a mixture of national, local and international causes. That means football clubs, mosques, temples and local parks will benefit from a share of a pie currently reserved for big charities.
Technology is helping to level the playing field, enabling the smallest charities to reach and inspire supporters. And some people are ignoring charities altogether – making a direct link with the person or cause they want to help.
Wills are taking on new forms. Rather than dusty old parchments, wills are now created, stored and read online. Films, recordings, texts, even holograms are accepted as testamentary evidence. People can directly communicate their final wishes to family, friends and lawyers even after they are gone.
Reflecting the digital age, people are beginning to pass on non-monetary gifts. This means legacies now include intellectual property, knowledge, skills and connections that can be used by the people who follow – perhaps using avatars to continue the conversation from beyond the grave.
Volunteers are the new legacy revolution, says the report. With a longer gap between retirement and death, people are spending more time volunteering. They value the direct link with a charity or their local community, and it’s a useful way to shut out the insecurity of the wider world. Those who can’t make it in person are doing it virtually, deploying their skills, energies, knowledge and connections wherever and whenever they choose. Volunteering often influences who people give a gift to in their will, or nominate as an in-memory charity.
Instead of physical memorials such as plaques, benches and bricks, some are choosing to nominate fitting living memorials, such as sponsoring a child in a developing country or training a support dog for people suffering from epilepsy. For those left behind, tangible memorials continue to be important – a focal point where they can connect with their loved one.
Then there is the “Before I say goodbye” factor. Legacy Foresight points out that thanks to advances in medical technology, some people know how long they have left, and have a sense of control over how they spend their remaining time and money. They are choosing to give a “living legacy” of money, ideas and experiences to the people and organisations they love while they are still around to see the impact.
Finally there is the developing trend of wealthy individuals who are endowing borderless legacy funds ongoing social and environmental issues – from curing disease to tackling inequality to sustaining local communities. They also challenge others – whatever their wealth level – to the overall pot and maximise combined impact.
Legacy increase could be significantly improved
The Legacy Foresight report (covered immediately above) states that the amount left to charities in wills each year is set to grow dramatically to hit the £10bn mark in 2045. This increase will be due to more deaths, more will-making and a higher proportion of people leaving bequests. However, will-writing company Farewill one leading will-writer believes that this figure legacy donations could be achieved much faster.
Farewill believes that the outdated and antiquated nature of the will-writing industry and a lack of education around the options available are two key factors preventing people from making larger charitable donations in their wills.
According to research carried out for Farewill, almost 10% of Brits did not realise they could leave money to a charity in their will; 27% of Brits want to support smaller local charities, but are only aware of the larger charities; it is possible to significantly increase the average amount of pledges in wills from current relatively low levels. Farewill considers it possible to increase the average pledge to £24,000 while the national average stands at £3,300 per person
Not only this, but there still remains a £10 billion funding gap separating how much money Brits say they want to donate to charities, compared with how much they actually pledge. Research from Smee & Ford found that in 2017, 15.6% of charitable estates (estates that left a gift to charity) went to charities, yet if one applies this percentage to non-charitable estates (those that did not contain a gift to charity), legacies could potentially add a further £9.7 billion to charities.
Dan Garrett, CEO of Farewill, says: “Our research showcases that 1 in 10 Brits are not even aware that leaving a gift to charity in your will was possible, and also showcases that more than 1 in 4 of us are only aware of the large charities which dominate the media, meaning that there are thousands of charities which fall by the wayside.”
Funders should support small charity resilience
Funders need to adjust their attitudes on funding priorities for small charities which themselves have come up with creative solutions to unexpected challenges, according to the Resilience Programme for small charities, operated by the Charities Aid Foundation and funded by philanthropists.
Funders should fund small charities to focus on their organisational strength and resilience. Time with an independent adviser will help them to identify what they really need. Funders should also seek to build long term relationships with small charities. Multi-year funding with agreed outcomes but flexibility offers stability as charities come to grips with their plans to become more resilient for the future.
CAF’s Resilience Programme urges funders to show confidence in small charities and create an atmosphere of honesty. They should encourage the charity to be honest about what does or doesn’t work and where its skills gaps lie. Then there is rather a big ask for funders: they should recognise that they might not be able to “see” their funding working: organisational strength is not bricks and mortar but it can offer unseen benefits with real impact.
Funders should accept that building partnerships takes time and therefore money. Exploring partnerships to become more effective is not a quick process, but with a clear strategy, they can pay off in the long term.
CAF Resilience also gained insights from the charities themselves. Several concluded that delivering on their mission meant doing less and not more, with a renewed focus on quality and impact. One programme partner – Home Start Lincolnshire – stopped delivering work that wasn’t vital to its vision, in order to focus on what really matters to the families it supports.
Managing income generation is one of the most stubborn challenges CAF Resilience partners faced. The Link CIC – a charity supporting the mental health of young people and their families – used some of its grant to buy in external bid writing support, but work on the programme led it to instead try upskilling delivery staff, plus fund a few extra hours each month to develop relationships with schools that could pay for its services.
After just six months, the charity had three times as many schools contracted for its services and a robust pipeline.
Going cashless trend threatens charities
Over £5 billion in charity donations would be at risk if the UK were to go “cashless” as a society, according to research carried out by agency Blue Claw, albeit for its not outstandingly socially attractive client A2Z Casinos. However, the report, Global Payment Trends, draws on a range of sources including the World Health Organisation, Visa, Riksbank, Charities Aid Foundation and the WorldPay Global Payments Report, so its rather stark findings from collated reports are a wake-up call for charities which receive cash donations.
Cash payments are declining around the world, with eWallets, bank transfers and bank and credit cards becoming the most popular payment methods over the last year. A decline in cash would have a detrimental impact on vulnerable members of society, including an estimated 5.2 million elderly households and 1.352 million people who struggle with digital payment methods due to poor physical or mental health.
Global Payment Trends points out that a cashless society could lead to a drop in charity funding, as reports relating to the sector show that cash has remained the most popular payment method for making donations over the past year, despite dropping from 55% in 2017 to 53% in 2018. More than £10.1 billion was given to charity in 2018, with the average donation amount equating to £30. These figures indicate that up to £5.353 billion in cash contributions could be lost each year if the UK switched to solely digital payment methods.
The Blue Claw report says that based on the distribution of charity donations over the past year religious organisations will see the most significant loss, with a potential deficiency of £1.017 billion annually. The actual loss could be even higher, as the mean donation for these causes amounted to £74 given by 12% of donors.
Although some charities are implementing contactless technology to aid those affected by a decline in cash usage, also badged digital exclusion, a reported 59% of UK charities don’t have a digital strategy in place to navigate a cashless society.
This means that crucial funding could be lost if a robust infrastructure isn’t established to support vulnerable groups of society. However, online payments make it easier for some to donate to charity via social media platforms - online giving increased by 17% in 2017 and stayed at that level over the past year.
Charity makes big investment in podiatry education
Skin disease charity DEBRA has teamed up with NHS Healthcare Professionals and invested £105,000 into an Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) Podiatry Care Project. The project includes the launch of the first international clinical practice guidelines (CPG) for podiatry in EB and an EB podiatry skills training course.
DEBRA supports people affected by the skin condition Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). EB is a potentially fatal genetic skin condition that causes constant pain due to unstoppable internal and external blistering. DEBRA funds specialist NHS EB nurses, pioneers research to find a cure, and provides help, advice, and support for people in the UK living with EB.
The project will help increase clinicians’ and patients’ knowledge of EB and the available treatment options. The training course will help to improve podiatry services across the UK and should have a positive impact on the quality of the lives of patients suffering from EB.
DEBRA does not receive government funding and is reliant on voluntary donations. to fund their The charity funds up to 25% of all specialist EB nurses in the UK and supports many healthcare specialists and projects.
Charity buys prime site with bank funding
Derby-based visual art charity Artcore has acquired new premises in the city centre after securing a funding package from NatWest. The charity, originally founded in India in 1993 to support aspiring artists, has acquired a two-storey, 4000 sq ft retail unit previously occupied by Laura Ashley. The new larger premises complement the charity’s existing site on Charnwood Street, where it has been based since 2012.
The £189,000 funding provided by NatWest will help the charity transform the site into a fit for purpose community art centre. The centre will provide space to hold exhibitions to showcase the work of artists from across Derby, the UK and overseas.
Artcore will also run interactive workshops to encourage the uptake of arts and crafts among the city residents, and the premises will also include a creative café, and arts and craft supplies shop.
The charity currently employs 12 people and will now recruit further members of staff, including a gallery manager, retail assistants and café staff. It will also offer internship and volunteering opportunities across the year for young people in the community from its new site.
Zahir Shaikh, artistic director at Artcore, says: “Securing this site is fantastic news for the charity and will help us provide a bigger platform for aspiring artists. Our mission is to help build community cohesion through the medium of art, helping to initiate a dialogue through the work of artists and celebrating the diversity of both artists and art itself.”
Paul Mills, relationship manager at NatWest, says: “Artcore is a fantastic charity which does great work to provide the support and platform emerging artists need. The new site we have helped the charity to acquire will help further support the arts in Derby and provide a great space for the city’s art community to celebrate its talent and diversity.”
Artcore is now crowdfunding to complete a second phase of refurbishment at its new site, which will improve disabled access to the building’s first floor and improve its energy efficiency.
Donors give most during festive period
Seasonal good cheer has prompted British eBay users to give £125,000 on just one day to The Prince’s Trust. This was on eBay’s Give Day on 5 December 2019. Indeed, eBay users are giving more to charity year on year in the lead up to the festive season. eBay data shows donations by its UK community of sellers and buyers to good causes spike in November and December.
Even during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales when bargain hunting, Brits are at their most benevolent. £106,194 was donated through eBay for charity on Black Friday in 2018 alone, a figure surpassed by this year’s Tuesday Give Day.
From 2011 to 2018, November was the most generous month, with an average £1,989,412 donated by UK users through eBay for charity. December came in a close second on £1,640,618.
Through the eBay for Charity facility, overall donations by eBay’s UK community rose by 60% from 2011 to 2018, surging from £9.27 million in 2011 to £22.91 million last year. 2019 is already on track to top that figure with the boost from eBay’s Give Day 2019. This is the second year that the online marketplace has partnered with The Prince’s Trust.
Help for charity’s chat service pilot
Domain registration and management company Nominet will donate £1 to the Samaritans for every new, paid for .UK domain registered from 9 December 2019 until 17 January 2020. Funds raised through new domain registrations ending in .co.uk, .uk, .org.uk, .me.uk, .ltd.uk, .plc.uk and .net.uk, will support Samaritans’ work developing its new webchat service from its pilot stage to launch. This is part of an ongoing support programme for the charity’s online service.
Samaritans’ webchat pilots have already demonstrated clear evidence of the need for this service, with the charity receiving many first-time contacts from young people in states of severe distress. The aim is to make the online environment safer for young people by offering them more ways to contact Samaritans.
Nominet is a Samaritans Digital Transformation partner. Earlier this year, Nominet announced it is providing £175,000, in addition to lending its expertise to support the development of the two new digital products for the charity. These are a self-help tool for coping with distress and suicidal thoughts, and a new system which will allow volunteers to respond to significant volumes of additional contacts. Overall, with a guaranteed minimum contribution from the .UK registration campaign of £140,000, Nominet’s total contribution to Samaritans will be over £300,000.
In 2018 Nominet supported Children in Need with a similar domain registrations initiative. The funds raised went towards the charity’s projects that use digital or new technology to support disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.
Sleepout for homeless charity
Five AO employees, known as AO’ers, took part in the Manchester Sleepout and raised £2,000 for the Booth Centre, a charity which supports homeless people in Manchester. The annual event invites people to take on the challenge of sleeping outside for one night to experience the hardships that homeless people face every night.
This year’s event, hosted by Manchester Cathedral, saw the group of AO’ers spend the night sleeping outside the cathedral. Armed with sleeping bags, they braved the freezing cold conditions and stayed outside for the whole night, where temperatures dropped down to just zero degrees in the early hours of the morning.
In the lead up to the event, the group has been hard at work fundraising and managed to raise £1,587.50. AO.com’s charity arm AO Smile boosted the amount raised, taking the final total to £2,000.
Care home volunteer hits 35,000 hours
Brunelcare has honoured one of its longest serving volunteers with a certificate of recognition. Clive Iles, 83, has been volunteering with Brunelcare Deerhurst, a care home located in Soundwell for two decades. Clive has been with the Bristol based charity, which has been providing housing, care and support for older people in the South West, for a total of 240 months, which is 1,000 weeks, 7,100 days and 35,000 hours helping employees and residents at Brunelcare’s Deerhurst Care Home.
Clive started his volunteering journey in 1998, after his mother, who had been a resident at Deerhurst, passed away in the home. He volunteers Monday to Friday, 7:30 - 15:30 and drives his car in everyday from his home in Longwell Green. Clive’s main day-to-day duties can include administration, ordering supplies, dealing with deliveries and feeding back to employees and managers if anything needs to be taken care of in the care home.
Clive says: “I absolutely love volunteering with Brunelcare; it keeps me busy and on my feet while I’m still able. I work with some fantastic people and really enjoy the social element of my role. I’ve spent over 35 years working in a Royal Mail sorting office so I’m used to being organised and being around lots of people.”
Alongside being a dedicated volunteer for Brunelcare, Clive is also a qualified pilot and received his piloting license when he was 70 years old! He has also won the Unpaid Carers Awards at the Great British Care Awards 2018.
Deerhurst is fortunate enough to have a large group of volunteers which includes others who have given over 20 years to the home with the oldest being 88 years. The volunteers were all nominated for the Volunteer Award at the Care and Support West Awards 2019.
END OF ARTICLE