Tag Archives: SmithMartin LLP

Seasonal greetings – the very best for your enterprising community in 2019 and beyond

Supporting communities wherever we can, developing ethical and sustainable settings, projects and programmes. See  more

In 2019 why not look at our literacy and author visits – see more

In 2019, if you’re in the East Midlands, ask about our support at SocEntEastMids.

In 2019, if you are looking for a new community web presence, ask for our technical assistance at Thirdsectorweb.co.uk.

If you’re busy in 2019, let us provide a solution – taking the strain to promote community gain, on any day in the calendar.


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Helping community enterprise flourish

Your Social Enterprise start-up

Social Enterprise UK, with the support of generous sponsorship by NatWest Bank, have just published their ‘Start Your Social Enterprise’ booklet.

This is a great primer on social enterprise, clearly laid out and packed with information for those of you about to start your SocEnt journey.

Start your Social Enterprise image and web link
See more here – pdf

You can view, print or download a copy of this publication here (pdf).

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!

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Helping community enterprise flourish

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for 2018

Taking flight in 2018 image and web link
Our Partnership web pages can be discovered here…

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…

Discover more of our work in enterprising communities here.

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Helping community enterprise flourish

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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!

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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.

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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.

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Helping community enterprise flourish