The Government Communication Headquarters, GCHQ, in the guise of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), has just published a useful and thorough guide for small charities.
‘…charities are increasingly reliant on IT and technology and are falling victim to a range of malicious cyber activity. Losing access to this technology, having funds stolen or suffering a data breach through a cyber attack can be devastating, both financially and reputationally’.
Source: Ciaran Martin, CEO of NCSC.
The booklet contains detailed reflection and advice on five key areas of data, ICT and operational practice – all of which can leave you exposed to hackers or the malevolent site visitor.
Calm and clear in its concise advice, the detail of the publication covers…
Backing up your data
Protecting your charity from malware
Keeping smartphones and tablets safe
Using passwords wisely
Avoiding ‘phishing’ attacks
‘…good practice will only be effective if everyone plays their part, seeking out and applying relevant advice to help improve their charity’s resilience to the growing threat of cyber crime. Taking even a few of the simple steps recommended in this guide will be a good start to better protecting your charity from harm.’
Source: Helen Stephenson, Chief Executive, The Charity Commission.
We think all charities and social businesses will find this a useful publication, regardless of size.
Calm advice in a frenzied technological landscape is always welcome.
The chapters include sections on Mission, Market and Money, as well as Marketing and Branding and the all important Business Plan.
There is also a very clear grid format page which illustrates the choices of good governance you can pursue, in order to control and support your Social Enterprise ambitions as a community.
We particularly liked the SEUK section on Looking After Yourself.
It is easy, in the whirl of excitement and drive to make things happen to forget about individual well-being in pursuit of the goal. We have repeated the sensible advice below…
”Pay yourself properly – as soon as is practically possible, pay
yourself properly; some social entrepreneurs pay other people
first in the organisation, but everyone needs to live…
Find a mentor – a mentor is someone independent outside your organisation to talk to who can provide advice and support to you; organisations like UnLtd and the School for Social Entrepreneurs will often link you to mentors as part of their support, but you may be able to identify your own…
Be part of networks – there are lots of local, regional and national groups and networks for social enterprises, from national bodies like Social Enterprise UK to the Social Enterprise Places across the country to local and regional networks like SELNET in Lancashire or SEEE in the East of England; they will often run events, send newsletters with information, and provide connections to others. (…and SocEntEastMids too…Ed).
Don’t neglect family and friends – take time out, spend time with
the people you like and love, and you will be better refreshed, more
focused and more productive when you return to the enterprise…
Keep learning – this is a fast-moving world, and there are new developments, opportunities and information to find out about; events and newsletters can help with this, as can podcasts or books on business and social enterprise…”
Source: Social Enterprise UK, Start your social enterprise, p.13 Accessed 02.08.2017
A useful addition to your basket of information when building your community business to effect change.
We recommend it as a great starting point for changing the world, or even a bit of it that starts right at your front door!
This is some of our planned project delivery workflow…in 2018
Developing Social Enterprise East Midlands, SocEntEastMids, as a six county-wide community of interest | Expand and consolidate our Partnership consultancy services into enterprise governance and charity support | Parent Champion project development and training with Family & Childcare Trust | Develop and expand our web brands across the regions of the UK, particularly in web services for charities and social enterprise | Progressively develop our international author and illustrator representation and booking services…
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
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.
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.
We detail the key principles of Trustee responsibility here…
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.
The Commission has also published an accompanying check-list for Trustees around fund-raising too.
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’.