Cultural Markers in charity?

Cultural Markers - cover image and web link
View, print or download the full icsa paper here…

icsa – The Governance Institute have just published a new report Cultural Markers: Assessing, measuring and improving culture in the charitable sector.

With the reputation of the charity sector under assault from recent scandals, this paper from icsa is a timely one. Although hard to measure, the permeation of a recognisable, embraced and effective cultural identity is the mainstay of charitable activity, whether for small or large organisations.

Cultural Markers (pdf) provides an interesting overview of the current reputational demise of the sector, but we would argue that this should not be read as global condemnation of all. Indeed the report states ‘…A small number of charities have contributed to this perceived decline in public trust, making operations more difficult for the majority of charities, which quietly go about business helping their beneficiaries‘.

The report recognises the pressure everyone in the sector is under, as funding diminishes and operational constraints continue to increase. However, ‘…there needs to be a strong understanding and respect for the roles of each in ensuring that an appropriate culture is evident and supported by corresponding values and ethics in every facet of the charity’s operations‘.
The icsa report considers thirteen key indicators that can affect cultural attitudes and deliveries inside charities. They include…

  • Considered and reflective board discussions about culture, values and ethics
  • A strong commitment to good governance
  • Strong, ethical and considered leadership
  • Existential stress
  • The power of personality

The reflection also includes nine key questions which trustees, managers and leaders of all shades should be addressing to maintain and improve their ‘cultural effectiveness’. These include…

  • How frequently is organisational culture (values) discussed as part of the formal board agenda? Never, every three years (alongside the strategic plan), once a year, more than once a year?
  • Do staff/customer satisfaction survey results mirror the agreed culture of the charity?
  • Have members challenged the authority of the board in the last 12–18 months? What was the issue under challenge?
  • Does the board/senior management team behave in accordance with the agreed values of the organisation?
  • Is there an agreed code of conduct in place that helps to build the desired culture of the organisation?
  • Are constitutional changes made against material opposition from members, staff, service users or funders?
  • Are ethical dilemmas discussed at board meetings? Are such ethical decisions reviewed?
  • Have key performance indicators led to any inappropriate behaviours in the charity?
  • How are incidents of inappropriate behaviours or unwanted culture recorded, monitored and dealt with?

With reputations under challenge and the myriad competing priorities of charitable governance, it is welcome to have a simple codified process of question and challenge which, if adopted as part of the normal discourse of the work, will help support and improve the culture of our organisations.

SmithMartin image and support services
Helping community enterprise flourish

Fundraising and Charities – Trustee Guidance

Thinking about good practice at Enterprising Communities

”The purpose of this guidance is to help trustees comply with their legal trustee duties when overseeing their charity’s fundraising. It sets out 6 principles to help them achieve this.

It focuses primarily on matters within the Commission’s regulatory remit. It is not a guide to the wide range of laws and regulations that apply to specific types and aspects of fundraising, but it provides links to sources of information about these rules”.

Source: Fundraising for Trustees CC20 The Charity Commission.

Trustee fundraising guidance cover image and link
Trustee fundraising guidance – full details (pdf)

We detail the key principles of Trustee responsibility here

  1. Planning effectively
    This is about you and your co-trustees agreeing or setting, and then monitoring, your charity’s overall approach to fundraising. Your fundraising plan should also take account of risks, your charity’s values and its relationship with donors and the wider public, as well as its income needs and expectations.

2. Supervising your fundraisers
This is about you and your co-trustees having systems in place to oversee the fundraising which others carry out for your charity, so that you can be satisfied that it is, and remains, in your charity’s best interests. It means delegating responsibly so that your charity’s in-house and volunteer fundraisers, and any connected companies, know what is expected of them. If you employ a commercial partner to raise funds for your charity, the arrangement must be in the charity’s best interests and comply with any specific legal rules and standards that apply.

3. Protecting your charity’s reputation, money and other assets
This means ensuring that there is strong management of your charity’s assets and resources so that you can meet your legal trustee duty to act in your charity’s best interests and protect it from undue risk. It includes ensuring that there is adequate consideration of the impact of your charity’s fundraising on its donors, supporters and the public, making sure that your charity receives all the money to which it is entitled, and taking steps to reduce risk of loss or fraud.

4. Identifying and ensuring compliance with the laws or regulations that apply specifically to your charity’s fundraising
The legal rules that apply to various types of fundraising can be detailed and complex. They cover compliance in important areas such as with data protection law, licensing, and working with commercial partners. There are new rules in the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 which affect some charities that fundraise. You should make sure that your charity has access to sufficient information and appropriate advice to ensure that its fundraising complies with all relevant legal rules.

5. Identifying and following any recognised standards that apply to your charity’s fundraising
These are in the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Fundraising Practice. The Code outlines both the legal rules that apply to fundraising and the standards designed to ensure that fundraising is open, honest and respectful. The Commission expects all charities that fundraise to fully comply with the Code.

6. Being open and accountable
This includes complying with any relevant statutory accounting and reporting requirements on fundraising and using reporting to demonstrate that your charity is well run and effective. In your fundraising communications it is about being able to effectively explain your fundraising work to members of the public and your charity’s donors and supporters.


Trustee fundraising check list - image and link
Trustee fundraising check list…(pdf)

The Commission has also published an accompanying check-list for Trustees around fund-raising too.

You can view, print or download a copy of this important reference tool here.

 

 

 

SmithMartin image and support services
Helping community enterprise flourish

Charity Governance Awards 2017

If you have a fantastic and supportive board, then the Charity Governance Awards 2017 deadline has just been extended to midnight on Monday 23rd January, 2017.

The awards, organised by The Clothworkers Company include cash awards of £5,000 to the winners.

 Will your name be announced?

 

“The Charity Governance Awards is an exciting not-for-profit initiative created to celebrate outstanding governance in charities both small and large.

We all know that effective governance makes a difference. And by sharing examples of inspirational trustees and brilliant boards we want to show how great governance and doing good go hand-in-hand.”

Source: https://www.charitygovernanceawards.co.uk/

There are seven categories of award to be achieved…

  1. Board Diversity and Inclusivity
  2. Embracing Digital
  3. Embracing Opportunity and Harnessing Risk
  4. Improving Impact – charities with 3 paid staff or fewer (including charities with no paid staff)
  5. Improving Impact – charities with 4–25 paid staff
  6. Improving impact – charities with 26 paid staff or more
  7. Managing Turnaround

You can simply enter on-line on this web page.  Here you will find the qualifications necessary to enter, as well as an on-line application form.

If you do, we wish you all success!

SmithMartin image and support services
Helping community enterprise flourish

How do charities work?

How Charities Work - web site page image
See more here…

NCVO have been working on a new draft web site to explain the working of charities. How Charities Work.

A useful new on-line resource both for existing charites and their boards, but particularly for the public in general. Helping to explain sometimes seemingly arcane rules, or the not often declared constraints that modern charities work under.

‘Charities want to make sure that their supporters and the wider public have complete confidence in how they work, because ultimately they can only do what they do thanks to your support.

Charities in the UK play a vital role in society – they make a difference to millions of lives in our country and across the world.

They can only make the difference they do because of you, whether you’re volunteering, donating goods or money, sponsoring a friend in a marathon, attending a fundraising event, or spreading the word. Charities harness the public’s goodwill and combine it with professional expertise to create the biggest possible impact.

So they want to make sure you can find answers to any questions you may have about how they work’.

Source: NCVO How Charities Work web site – accessed 19.12.2016

The site contains dedicated briefings on the size of charities, charity fraud and contentious fund-raising practices. One article also asks if there are too many charities?

if you are creating a new community enterprise, or have concerns about the debate over charity activities, then we recommend this new site from NCVO as a great way to begin your journey.

SmithMartin image and support services
Helping community enterprise flourish

Good Governance Code changes…

goodgovernanceimage
Discover more here…

Launched as part of the recent Trustees Week, there is a new version of the original Code of Good Governance available for review.

Last updated in 2010, this new draft code has a number of changes which can help Charity Boards to track and successfully demonstrate inclusivity and a broader effectiveness.

For charities, indeed any sort of third sector organisation, interested in developing goood governance practice, this is an excellent primer and source of operational philosophy for your group..

The main changes to the last edition of the Code include:

• a new section on the importance of effective leadership

• recognising that the culture and behaviours of the charity and its board (for example its governing body or management committee) are as important as its governance structures and processes

• reflecting the board’s outward-facing role, including the relationship between what an individual charity does and the implication for the wider sector

• recognising that diversity, in all its forms, is most important for promoting good governance

• expecting more from and being clearer about recommended good practice in some areas, such as board membership and tenure

Source: www.governancecode.org   Accessed: 23.11.2016  (.pdf version)

Have your say:

The consultation for the new draft runs to the beginning of February in 2017. You can have your say and express your opinion about the new draft by visiting the Governance Code survey page here.

The good governance code is jointly owned and developed by NCVO, ACEVO, SCC, ICSA & WCVA.

SmithMartin image and support services
Helping community enterprise flourish

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:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/making-digital-work-12-questions-for-trustees-to-consider/making-digital-work-12-questions-for-trustees-to-consider    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.


SmithMartin image and support services
Helping community enterprise flourish

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!

SmithMartin image and support services
Helping community enterprise flourish

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  http://www.brightfuturesfund.co.uk/    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.

SmithMartin image and support services
Helping community enterprise flourish

 

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.

SmithMartin image and support services
Helping community enterprise flourish

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.

SmithMartin image and support services
Helping community enterprise flourish

community development and enterprise creation