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February 2017

Do’s and Don’ts of Legacy Fundraising

By |February 21st, 2017

Is legacy fundraising right for your organisation?

We undertake extensive research before recommending whether or not legacy fundraising should be a priority focus for your organisation as its success is highly dependent on a number of factors, such as your cause, your location and your donor pool.

For large charities, legacies are one of the most cost-effective fundraising techniques and raise millions of pounds year on year. When done properly, legacies can build and maintain financial reserves. However, they should never be relied upon as a source of income – this has been the downfall of a number of small to medium charities over the years.

How do legacies work?
There are two kinds of legacies:

  • Pecuniary legacies – where someone, in a will, specifies that, say, £2,000 should be left to a person or organisation.
  • Residuary legacies – where, after all the pecuniary legacies have been paid out, the remainder of the dead persons’ estate goes to a person of organisation.

Residuary tend to be more valuable but pecuniary are easier to achieve.

Behind the myths of legacy fundraising

  • We can’t afford it

It doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you integrate the legacy message across your fundraising channels and drip feed your message into existing communications. If you already use social media and digital then there will be minimal associated costs. For print documents, just wait until your next print runs and add a brief legacy message.

  • We’re too small

The number of people leaving a gift to charities is growing and each charitable will benefits an average of three charities, so there is room for everyone! In many ways, the potential for small charities is huge, one gift could make a massive difference.

  • People don’t like to talk about death

So, […]

January 2017

New Year, New Fundraising Strategy?

By |January 23rd, 2017

At the start of a new year it’s natural to reflect on the events of the previous year and look ahead to what the new year may bring. It’s the perfect time to review your existing Fundraising Strategy and see whether what you’re doing is working or whether it’s time for a change.

Today more than ever charities need to be able to meet the pressures of maintaining sufficient levels of income from a number of streams and remain agile, adapting strategies and introducing new income streams when needed. This is where a strong fundraising strategy is key.

When we are approached by organisations for support to develop a fundraising strategy they are usually looking to achieve one or more of the following aims:
• To continue current work
• To expand services into new areas of work
• To reduce the risk of over-reliance on a single source of income
• To build up reserves
• To raise more regular long-term funding

A well-developed fundraising strategy will help to provide clarity about your organisation’s aims and priorities while also providing a ‘reality check’ to ensure  these priorities are realistic and achievable. Through the careful research and scoping of opportunities, the strategy will introduce a more targeted approach, increasing the likelihood of success and most effective use of time.

Another, often overlooked benefit of the fundraising strategy is that it encourages a shared responsibility for fundraising across the organisation. This is increasingly important as the new CC20 guidelines from the Charity Commission emphasise that trustees have responsibility for fundraising and should be aware of the strategy and activities taking place.

The scope and depth of a fundraising strategy depends very much on the activity. For example, a three-year fundraising strategy aligned to a business […]

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    Why January might just be the best time for Volunteer Engagement

Why January might just be the best time for Volunteer Engagement

By |January 6th, 2017

So, when I was asked to blog about Volunteer Engagement for the January blog, my heart sunk and now we are here in January, it’s safe to say the January blues are here and in full effect. The parties are over, the weather is cold (minus 1 degree at the time of writing), and motivation is at an all time low. We’re all looking forward to the end of the month and the long awaited pay day! But even payday doesn’t offer any solace for our volunteers, they support us for free and yet their support is invaluable – so how can you keep them motivated and make January a brighter month for all? I’ve pondered this question and come up with a few suggestions!

Advertise your projects for the year- Why not use this time to show donors exactly what you have planned for the year and what events you will be running. This way it gives donors the choice to decide if there is particular project they wish to donate to. It may be a fun run they wish to sign up to and help fundraise, or there may be a specific project close to their heart. It may be a skydive that they need a few months to build themselves up for but the ability for them (and you) to plan ahead will be welcome as the year progresses.

Make ‘Blue Monday’  a happy day! – The last Monday before January payday has started to become known as Blue Monday. Why not use this day as a mini fundraising campaign to give people the opportunity to do something fun on this day. Local companies could ask employees to wear a bright colour on the […]

November 2016

Social Return on Investment – A brief guide

By |November 21st, 2016

Last week I attended the Annual Members Exchange of Social Value UK, it was a great event and an opportunity to find out how people from all sorts of organisations, both large and small,  are working with Social Value and Social Return on Investment.

What is Social Return on Investment (SROI)?

Social Return on Investment (SROI) is an approach that measures a broader concept of value than is usually accounted for in cost-benefit calculations. Developed from traditional cost-benefit analysis and social accounting, SROI is a participative approach that is able to capture in monetised form the value of a wide range of outcomes, whether these already have a financial value or not.

An SROI analysis produces a narrative of how an organisation creates and destroys value in the course of making change, and a ratio that states how much social value (in £) is created for every £1 of investment. Put simply, SROI is about much more than just about number, it is about change. It is about the stories of your stakeholders, the difference made. It includes qualitative, quantitative and financial information on which to make decisions.

The seven principles of SROI

I was initially drawn to SROI when I heard about the seven principles – the ideas of stakeholder involvement and transparency were particularly appealing. The principles are:

  1. Involve stakeholders
  2. Understand what changes
  3. Value the things that matter
  4. Only include what is material
  5. Do not over-claim
  6. Be transparent
  7. Verify the result

Six stages in calculating SROI

SROI can be performed as an evaluation of work that has already taken place or a forecast, […]

New Fundraising Rules – Nov 2016

By |November 21st, 2016

The Charity Commission has released guidance on new fundraising rules that came into effect on the 1st of November as part of the Charities Act 2016. The guidance outlines rules on two key areas.

The first requirement applies where a charity, registered or unregistered, uses a professional fundraiser or commercial participator to raise funds. Broadly, it says that the compulsory written agreements between charities and these third parties must include extra information covering:

    • the scheme for regulating fundraising or recognised fundraising standards that will apply to the professional fundraiser or commercial participator in carrying out the agreement
    • how the professional fundraiser or commercial participator will protect the public, including vulnerable people, from unreasonably intrusive or persistent fundraising approaches and undue pressure to donate
    • how charities will monitor the professional fundraiser or commercial participator’s compliance with these requirements

The second requirement applies to registered charities that, by law, must have their accounts audited. It says that these charities have to include extra information about fundraising in their trustees’ annual report. Broadly, the extra annual statements are about the charity’s:

    • approach to fundraising
    • work with, and oversight of, any commercial participators/professional fundraisers
    • fundraising conforming to recognised standards
    • monitoring of fundraising carried out on its behalf
    • fundraising complaints
    • protection of the public, including vulnerable people, from unreasonably intrusive or persistent fundraising approaches, and undue pressure to donate

In a statement by the regulator, Sarah Atkinson, director of policy and communications at the Charity Commission said: “Many in the sector are working hard to support these changes, and to review their own fundraising practices so that public trust can be restored”. “The new Charities Act provisions will help charities to demonstrate that their donors and the public are treated with respect […]

Twitter Tips for your Christmas Campaign

By |November 16th, 2016

It’s almost Christmas and your festive fundraising is about to go into full swing. Have you ever thought about using Twitter to help you advance your donations? Technology Trust have published a very useful guide on how to make the most of Twitter for your Christmas campaign.

The guide offers a great step by step guide to three main features of Twitter, the first of which is Twitter Moments. This new feature allows charities to create a story and add Tweets that they have liked – or Tweets followers have sent –  to this story. This feature can be great for showing how a campaign is going or giving updates of fundraising events. See this moment recently posted by Children in Need to update on their Rickshaw Challenge.

Secondly, the guide references the use of media on Twitter. Statistics show that Tweets with images or videos receive a lot more likes and retweets. The article gives examples of charities making great use of media on Twitter such as Dogs Trust. Have a look at their page and see how almost every Tweet has an image with it, you will also note that the image is always relevant to the Tweet to make it as effective as possible. Why not post a video of a fundraising event, or even of one of your services in action? This is a great platform to show donors exactly what it is you do and how their money is spent.

The third feature highlighted is Conversational Ads. This is something that may be useful for a larger campaign as while it initially doesn’t cost anything, Twitter do charge for click-throughs. It’s definitely worth considering  how much you can benefit from this […]

Are you ready for #GivingTuesday?

By |November 2nd, 2016

Save the date #GivingTuesday 2016 is on Tuesday the 29th November

#GivingTuesday provides a welcome philanthropic antidote to the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where frenzied shoppers trawl the web for the best offers on Christmas shopping. With newspapers reporting around £1.1billion spent in the UK on Cyber Monday last year it’s clear that people are enticed by these US born crazes and #GivingTuesday looks to be no exception.

#GivingTuesday is fast becoming a globally recognised event. This year, DonorPerfect have produced a handy document ‘The 2016 #GivingTuesday E-Book’ which gives advice on how to prepare for this growing phenomenon. The E-Book also provides answers to one of the big questions you are probably asking as you are reading this ‘won’t this take away from our usual Christmas fundraising?’. Surely if people donate their money on #GivingTuesday they are less likely to do this on your normal end of year campaign, right? DonorPerfect’s data shows that the answer to this is No! Participants of #GivingTuesday saw a 19.4% increase on all giving in December while those who did not take part only saw a rise of 8.4%. Figures show that this day is becoming more and more successful each year with total dollars contributed in the US rising from 13.5 million in 2012 to 45.7 million in 2014.

The E-Book also provides hints and tips of how to participate and make the most of #GivingTuesday for your charity along with a timeline of the weeks and days leading up to it and how best to utilise the initiative.

We’re interested to hear if any of you have already tried this? How did it work for you, was it a success?

Likewise, if you are planning on giving it a try […]

October 2016

Have you read the CAF World Giving Index 2016 yet?

By |October 26th, 2016

The Charities Aid Foundation(CAF) World Giving Index 2016 reports that more people are helping others than ever before, donating both time and money.

With so many tragedies happening all over the world on a daily basis it’s not surprising that we don’t often hear of all the good that happens. This uplifting report highlights the generosity of the world that is rarely reported in the press and shows that in a time when so many countries are at the centre of a humanitarian crisis, a significant number of people want to help.

The CAF World Giving Index 2016 reports that for the second year running Iraq has the number one position for the percentage of people helping a stranger. This, from a country in a state of civil war, shows another side which perhaps reflects the reality for people living in such conditions. Following the devastating earthquake in 2015, Nepal is shown as one of the most improved countries. As questioned in the report, is this down to the need of the population encouraging people to be more generous? It would seem that a nation in turmoil can also be a nation of great philanthropy.

However, it is not only the nations suffering adversity that share their generosity. Per the report, the UK is ranked 8th in the top 20 countries with 69% of people donating money and 61% helping a stranger. Interestingly only 33% of people in the UK said they had volunteered their time. The UK did, however, move down two places in the ranking from the 2015 report where they were ranked 6th.  The USA have maintained their ranking of 2nd with Australia, Canada and New Zealand all remaining in the top 10 […]

The role of charities in post-Brexit Britain

By |October 19th, 2016

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) have published a report based on their research exploring the public attitudes towards their local community post-Brexit. The report, A Stronger Britain: How can charities build post-Brexit Britain? looks at the impact that political developments during the months pre and post-Brexit have had on society and the role the believe charities should play.

CAF found that nearly 14 million people feel that their community is now more divided than it was pre Brexit with only 17% of people feeling more positive about people in their local area. This points to post-Brexit Britain being a nation with tensions running high and problems such as racism increasing. The National Police Chiefs Council states that hate crimes rose by 57% in the days immediately following the referendum. CAF’s finding show that 46% of people believe that charities can help to improve community cohesion.

The report also suggests that charities are to play an integral part in making an independent Britain work by ensuring that they provide support to those most at risk and also providing opportunities for people from all backgrounds to mix and rebuild communities that have been affected by Brexit. The report shows that 84% of people think charities are best placed to speak up for the disadvantaged and to help influence government policies.

Findings from the report show that 56% of people believe local charities should receive more support from councils and 51% from central government. CAF suggest that more people are now more active in a political or social cause with 9 million people saying they now feel more inclined to volunteer in their local community. This increase in people wanting to be involved in their communities is a great thing for […]

September 2016

Fundraising Central launches Client Voice!

By |September 28th, 2016

Do you often wish you could effectively demonstrate the impact of your work? Do you struggle to find the time to gather the thoughts and feedback of your service users?

Over the years we have worked with numerous charities who struggle when it comes to finding an appropriate, affordable solution to service user consultation and the evaluation of projects and services.

Next month, we are launching a new venture Client Voice –  set up specifically to deliver this kind of feedback. Client Voice will specialise in gathering the feedback you need through consultation, research and evaluation, all with a focus on service-user engagement.

We believe that evidence-based service development, building on the expertise of service users, is integral to the development and continuation of effective projects. Also, as many of you will be aware, this is fast becoming a requirement of funders.

Louisa has previously worked with Community Research Company (CRC UK), an innovative training and research company, founded by Jon Adamson and Graham Fletcher. Their work specialised in social research and evaluation and also provided training and support for peer-led research. Louisa was involved in a number of key pieces of research including:

o Mixed-methods research – including survey, depth interviews, focus groups and a peer-led research project – funded by AstraZeneca and undertaken on behalf of National Homeless Charity, DePaul UK and as part of Making it Matter: Improving the health of homeless young people.

o The co-facilitation of training and workshops as part of a youth-led research project on child poverty in Leicestershire – the findings of which are incorporated into the 2011 report Child Poverty in Leicestershire.

o Depth interviews and focus groups with service users of Women at the Well, a day centre […]