Charity Trustees: Making Digital Work?


 Helping to map your charity digital enagagement…


The Charity Commission have just published a new paper outlining a series of useful questions on policy, strategy, effectiveness and outcome linked to the digital engagement of of trustees, staff, volunteers, service users and customers. Read more

The twelve key questions are designed to help trustees map a digital strategy for their organisation, to measure its effectiveness and to ensue that digital process and delivery help staff, volunteers and end users for a charitable sevice to get the best from their experience.

The twelve headline questions from the Commission are offered below…

  • How are we adapting our governance processes to reflect decision making in the digital age?
  • Are new trustees being briefed?
  • Have we got the right team in place to help us capitalise on the opportunities and manage the risks in digital?
  • How does digital fit into our organisational strategy?
  • How can the board influence the charity to create a culture in which digital can flourish?
  • As more people seek help and information online, how could our charity support them?
  • Is our charity using digital to build its brand?
  • Is our charity equipped to manage reputational risk online?
  • How will our charity use digital to fundraise, and how will this be aligned to our ethics and values?
  • Are our IT systems and data secure?
  • Do we understand what success looks like on digital?
  • What are the resource implications of digital?

You can explore the detail, and the important subsidiary questions to be asked at board meetings, or policy setting engagements for your organisation, here:    Accessed: 06.10.2016

Whatever the size of your charitable work or delivery mechanism, these key questions can help you as trustees determine the right path for your digital strategy.

The guidance was developed by the Charity Commission, Grant Thornton and Zoe Amar Communications.

SmithMartin LLP are charity strategists and digital creators for web, new media and webmail services for charities across the UK.

We are happy to talk to you about digital engagement or process development across your twelve key questions. Contact our team here.

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Charity Writing and Communications Training Days

Charity Writing and Communications Training Days: 25-26 October 2016, London


Getting cfeative with text…

‘Come to the Charity Writing and Communications Training Days 2016 for all the communications training and inspiration you need this year.

You’ll leave brimming with ideas and enthusiasm to generate more impact and more income for your charity – guaranteed.

Choose from practical, interactive workshops, led by the sector’s top trainers and experts. PLUS, a programme of inspirational talks from charities doing innovative and exciting communications work, packed full of advice for your organisation.

You’ll also have the chance to get one to one advice from our speakers and other experts, and to meet your fellow delegates in our all-day networking space’.  Read more here

Source: Directory of Social Change web pages. Accessed 26.09.2016

This is a great event, spread over two days, that provides a real opportunityto improve your wroting and marketing skills.

Sessions for both days (pdf) are focused on  the practical outcomes needed to achieve increased effectiveness in your group or organisation.

Speakers and session facilitator details are also available on-line from the DSC web pages here.

Book your place and start down the road to more effective copy!

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Social Investment Tax Relief Fund?

Investment in Britain’s children, youth and vulnerable communities…

supportingfamiliesimageThe Bright Futures Fund represents a real opportunity for ambitious charities and social enterprises to access the capital they need to expand and scale their work, with a particular focus on those that are working to improve the lives of children, young people and other vulnerable groups throughout the UK.

The Fund has a specific focus on organisations which are delivering effective interventions to improve the lives of children, young people and vulnerable groups. Some of the issues that investees will tackle include helping children to avoid entering foster care; ensuring access to education; and improving the most important early years of a child’s life’.

Source: Bright Futures SITR Fund    Accessed: 20.09.2016

You can explore SITR, and view some interesting case studies, on the web pages of Big Society Capital here.

pdfIcon4Whether as an investee, or an investor, there is a wealth of information available from Big Society Capital, including an SITR Property Guidance Paper which some charity Boards may find useful.

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Get ready for Social Saturday 2016

Social Saturday Badge image large
See more here…

15th October 2016, a key date for your diary and community action list.

‘Social Saturday is a platform on which you can promote your social enterprise. So why not get involved in this national campaign, raise awareness about the work you do and encourage people to buy social.

Social Saturday is dedicated to the UK’s growing social enterprise movement. So wherever you are, join in and let’s put social enterprises on the map’.

Source: The Social Saturday web pages   Accessed: 05.08.2016

You can download pre-formatted letters and templates for letters of invitation, press releases and much more. All available from the pages of the Social Saturday web site.

You can tweet and message about your enterprise using the Social Saturday new media guide, and have the opportunity share your social business with the Social Saturday team as well.

This is how it went in 2015…

Find it all on-line here…get involved for 2016.

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Power to Change – fund now open

Power to Change – business in community hands has re-opened their £10m fund to help community businesses of all types to apply for money to develop their work.

”Power to Change awards grants to grow and develop community businesses.

The second window for applications to our £10 million Community Business Fund is now open until 31 August. We will also have an application window open in October.

Through the fund, we will award grants between £50,000 – £300,000 to community businesses in England.”

Source: Power to Change web pages  Accessed: 28.07.2016

Your community enterprise must meet the following criteria…

  • Locally rooted
  • Accountable to the local community
  • Trading for the benefit of the local community
  • Have broad community impact

Community Leadership:

There is also a community leader development scheme embedded within the work of Power to Change. The Leadership Academy, in partnership with the RSA, the Real Ideas Organisation and Sheffield University Management School, provides individuals with opportunities to develop their skills.

See more here.

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Social Enterprise Awards 2016

socialenterpriseawardsLogoApplications are now open for the range of awards and celebrations that make up the Socila Enterprise Awards 2016.

You can view the criteria and award categories on the pages of here.

You can see the application process in detail on this page.

The closing date for the application process is Friday the 8th July, 2016. To qualify your organisation has to have or have been…

”A social enterprise that has been operating for more than 2 years and can evidence the criteria below but that has also demonstrated and promoted social enterprise beyond the sector.


  • Excellent vision and strategic direction
  • Clear leadership and management of the organisation
  • A high degree of customer satisfaction
  • A clearly evidenced social, environmental and community impact
  • Show sustainability in terms of profit and growth
  • Good brand awareness and communication outputs
  • Evidence of creativity and innovation”
Source:  (Accessed 17.06.2016)

If you do enter, the very best of luck.

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Have an enterprising 2016


Enjoy 500 free things on the internet for Christmas.

 A great collection of links and resources, whether you are a reader, writer, social entrpreneur, thoughtful learner or just interested in change and growth for 2016. See the list here

With thanks to Kevin de Asis for a great collection!

Happy Christmas.

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Our Urban Shop,
The Plunkett Foundation


Our Urban Shop is a unique pilot project that aims to help urban communities in the UK overcome the issues of buying good food locally.

We’ve partnered with Locality and received funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to help urban communities access the support and resources available for rural communities to set up community-owned shops…’  (Source: The Plunkett Foundation, Nov. 2015)

The programme application process is now open for this new Foundation initiative. See more here.

The Plunkett Foundation have already helped ten urban groups to explore the potential of their urban community owned shop idea. Is the time right for your community?

The Foundation will make grants of between 20,000 and thirty thousand pounds, and it is open  to applications from across the UK.

interneticon    You can download the grant guidelines and application forms here on the Foundation web site. The short film below gives you some headline advice and information about the project plans.

Our Urban Shop from Plunkett Foundation on Vimeo.

You can find more detailed scoping advice to download from the Foundation below…if you do apply, good luck!

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Building Better Opportunities

Big Lottery Fund is matching funds from the European Social Fund for projects across England that tackle poverty and promote social inclusion.

biglotteryButtonBig Lottery Funding and ESF (European Social Fund) money is being deployed through the LEP network in England to offer matching funding to a variety of local projects, which tackle the root cause of poverty, promote social inclusion or drive local job creation.

You can see, currently, 71 opportunities for investment with the fund, of which 25 LEP areas are now live, with more to be available in the autumn of 2015.

You can see the Lottery key article on the web here.

Having reviewd the details, and to express an interest for your community or project, please complete this expression of interest on-line form here.

The Lottery have partnered with two organisations for the provision of support to applicants and to generate support materials as appropriate. You can register for these here.

If you do apply for your community…good luck.

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Being a Charity Trustee

The internet is full of information, so much, that sometimes it is difficult to sort out all the news, data and advice available.

Here at we do write our own content for you, and provide formal sessions and training to pass it along. However, occasionally we come across a simple, clear and professional piece of advice that is useful, but provided by other organisations.

101 Simple Steps to Better Governance by interneticon Pitman Trustees Limited is one of them. A document containing 101 things that charity trustees need to know, both to be effective and to be efficient.

pdfIcon4 Download a copy of this document in pdf format here.

As ever, here at SmithMartin LLP, we’ll happy help you get ready for good governance or to work in partnership with you to deliver better charity operations in all their forms.

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