Mark Evans: Twenty five years of progress, pitfalls and pride
“When I first edited Charity Times in 1994, there was a sense of optimism that was, perhaps, to result in the sweeping victory for Tony Blair. And much like that event, not all of the things that seemed so good turned out the way they were expected to.”
Srabani Sen: the four actions you can take today to become a more inclusive leader
Most people accept that diversity and inclusion are good things. But how do you go about being more inclusive? Here are four things you can do today, says Srabani Sen
Antonia Swinson: the key property questions philanthropists will ask
"In my experience in interviews, it’s the little things which are the give-aways. Bricks and mortar are rarely the stuff of fundraising magic, but no one can save the world with bailiffs at the door and a leaky roof and rich people didn’t get rich by thinking sloppy."
Peter Lewis: Excellent fundraising is about so much more than counting the pound
"Over the last year or so, I’ve heard a lot from fundraisers who are saying that we are in the midst of a period of change – a feeling that I think is being backed up now with findings from recent pieces of research."
Dhruv Patel: Our volunteers must feel valued; charities would crumble without them
"We don’t see volunteering as a one-way street – our vision is that all our volunteers benefit from having enriching, meaningful placements.
Gillian McKay: The Charity Commission must support the sector to celebrate regulation
Perhaps rather than instructing charities to change in response to increased competition, the commission could consider supporting the sector, and its own strategy, by encouraging charities to join with them to celebrate and communicate the advantages that come from being a registered charity and the advantages that charity regulation brings.
Do your people find joy in their work?
“For me, it’s not about fruit in the office or fuzzball games. Whether you get joy comes down to Dan Pink’s framework of Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose. Are you doing something you have a talent for? Do you have the freedom to do it as you want and do you know why you are doing it?”
Caron Bradshaw: Is bringing love into leadership the next step for charities post-Brexit?
"In a post-Brexit world, we must transfer power to those we serve, to let their voices be heard. And I would add that whilst you might need more than love alone, a big dollop of it into our workplaces certainly cannot hurt."
Opinion: why 'sadvertising' and melancholy marketing doesn’t help charities
"Our perfect charity ad, then, is sanguine, not morose. It uses real-life, relatable human stories that close the empathy gap — not the spoils of war and famine to guilt trip viewers into donating."
What does it really mean to be a digital leader?
"In the internet era; a time in which technology has mainstreamed and continues to become part of our everyday lives, the pursuit of digital leadership is a strategic issue."
Ruth Marks: The third sector will never solve all ills, but it can make things better
"Even the most buoyant among us feel disheartened at the moment. Whether it’s the Brexit process, climate change, or atrocities like the terrorist act in Christchurch, most of us are thinking: what is happening to our world?
But we needn’t feel entirely powerless, the third sector will never solve all ills, but it can make things better. And it can help fix the bits of our communities that we think are broken."
Zoe Amar: Why all charity boards should have a digital trustee
"Digital is an opportunity for us all to do things differently, and better. It offers potential for boards to develop their skills, meaning that they can develop strategies which help their charities seize these new opportunities, from fundraising to supporting more beneficiaries to managing and growing their reputations."
Opinion: What charities can learn from Instagram sensation Mrs Hinch
"Whilst I’m sat here watching this total stranger scrub away at her shower screen (apparently a bit of Cif does the trick, FYI), it occurs to me that if a hairdresser with a passion for cleaning can inadvertently generate such a large and adoring community, imagine what possibilities await for charities, too."
Gillian McKay: There are fundamental problems with regularly reviewing risk registers
"If there is a ‘special place in hell’ for the unduly risk averse, then there is equally one for the endless meetings of reviewing risk registers."
Opinion: meeting fundraising targets shouldn’t mean damaging reputations
"Supply chains are becoming increasingly opaque. Charities must remain diligent throughout the entire process. Both Comic Relief and Spice Girls checked out the ethical sourcing credentials of manufacturer Represent, however, it subsequently changed the manufacturer without their knowledge.
"As a result, we’re seeing first-hand the reputational damage that can occur from unethical sourcing practices."
Antonia Swinson: why do charities see property planning as an optional extra?
"Too few charities realise that property management is part of financial management. This should not be surprising given so many finance directors have responsibility for premises."
Gillian McKay: Without free time, this sector would not function
"January is the month of New Year resolutions and it seems that a common one to make is the decision to go out and volunteer for a charity. It’s a great impulse."
Caron Bradshaw: we need to lift our eyes from the Brexit paperwork
"Communities are crying out for change. Charities and other social change organisations should be actively seeking them out and setting about co-creating answers to the questions being asked of society."
Antonia Swinson: We need much greater attention paid to property at trustee level
"Given how risky charities consider property to be, we need much greater attention and resources paid to property at trustee level to ensure property budget lines are spent as a priority.
Caron Bradshaw: Charities are still being far too quiet about Brexit
"Wherever you are on the politics of this, there is one thing we must all do now - speak up for our beneficiaries."
What does the perfect annual report look like?
There is no one size fits all ‘perfect’ annual report, and nor should there be given the diversity of the charity sector. However, there is a lot that charities can do to move beyond a minimum compliance lens in their reporting.
Peter Lewis: We need to work together for a stronger civil society
"Our sector is strongest when we are together [...] Yet working together isn’t always easy."
How to ensure trustee eligibility
It is essential that the right people are recruited to trustee boards, not just in terms of skills, attributes and competences, but also in ensuring an individual meets the legal and constitutional eligibility criteria.
Opinion: Bring on board some youthful diversity
"The average age of a charity trustee is 61. Yet diversity improves governance and organisation success."
The seven deadly sins of trustee recruitment
Many charities struggle to recruit new trustees and attribute it to a lack of willing volunteers, but for most, poor advertisement is usually at the root of the problem.
Peter Lewis: Safeguarding the future for charities
"Rules and regulations are essential in setting clear requirements and holding organisations to account if things go wrong, but they can only go so far. Without the right values, culture, and behaviours being set and lived by each and every charity, the safeguarding of everyone who comes into contact with our fundraising activities cannot be achieved."
Caron Bradshaw: The civil society strategy must avoid half measures
"Throughout the engagement exercise, there has been an undertone from the government that although it is “ambitious” for our sector, there is no money around to deliver the strategy. The industrial strategy by contrast has been backed up by tens of billions in government spending through the creation of new investment funds and tax breaks."
Opinion: If all charities are judged by RSPCA standards, many will fail
" The RSPCA has faced criticism for ‘double standards’ in saving a seal whilst also certifying fish farms that shoot seals. This is a complex issue that involves the humanity of leaving a stranded seal to die and the ‘realpolitik’ of attempting to improve fisheries standards."
Opinion: how good is too good?
"A recent report investigated 59 major solar, bioenergy and geothermal companies and concluded that only five meet its four basic criteria to protect communities and workers."
BLOG: Building better trustee boards
"It is time charity boards reassess how they recruit and focus on a candidate-led approach. By placing the search process at the heart and finding the right people for the right roles, we can ensure that charities will be able to improve functionality, raise more money and ultimately, deploy their resources more effectively for the communities and causes they serve."
Andrew Pincott: Give time to those who give theirs
"Thanking volunteers is a welcome acknowledgement of the role they play, but probably not enough for the majority."
Peter Lewis: Let’s speak up for the sector we serve
"We must do more to collectively engage the government, challenge negative media stories and inspire the public," says Peter Lewis.
BLOG: Thinking out of the box
"Are we being too insular? Are we getting the data that we need to take effective decisions? Are we really pushing ourselves to be the best that we can be?," says Caron Bradshaw
BLOG: The three T’s of fundraising
"As we hurtle towards a cashless society, fundraising is set to change. But it doesn’t need to mean the end of street collections. Instead it paves the way for digital giving and contactless collecting tins."
BLOG: Real estate investors can be an influence for good
“Responsible property investment goes far beyond simply reducing carbon emissions and waste,” says Clare Berthoud.
BLOG: Tears such as trustees weep
"A trustee’s work is never done, just when you have data protection under control, cybersecurity will rear its head. When that is finished, a harassment query will spring to mind, the budget is reoccurring and ethical investment is not far behind. There are many challenges, but the rewards are even greater."
Do funding models need a little disruption?
"Research on funding practice over the last five years has consistently called for a change in practice. So, could we do with a little disruption?" Caroline Mason says in her new blog, written for Acevo's 30 things to think about
Are civil society and business boundaries blurring?
"We are missing out by not learning from businesses at the same time as they are learning from us", Sarah Mitchell explains in her new blog written for Acevo’s 30 things to think about
What opportunities does blockchain offer?
"The blockchain could remove the need for the costly middlemen", Rhodri Davies explains in his new blog written for Acevo’s 30 things to think about.
BLOG: Charging charities for regulation
"Broadly, the argument for charging charities is that most regulators are funded by the sector they regulate. In addition as the commission is facing increasing pressure on its funding there is an inevitable pressure to make up the shortfall."
BLOG: What the charity sector can learn from Beyoncé
"In a world of shrinking attention spans and ‘issue fatigue’, finding new ways of creating meaningful engagement with consumers is becoming ever more crucial for campaigns."
BLOG: A charity’s digital presence is vital for rebuilding trust
"A charity’s digital presence is a key facilitator in rebuilding and maintaining trust. Similarly, with GDPR and opt in on the horizon, it is more important than ever that charities review their websites to ensure the new regulations are met. This has a direct impact on charities ability to build trust online."
BLOG: The clock is ticking on Brexit; charities need to speak up
"The collective complaint was that we are not speaking up enough for our beneficiaries. I implore you to do so. If your beneficiaries will be prejudiced by the restriction of movement of workers, or the flight of EU grants, speak up. Tell MPs. That is your job."
BLOG: Poor people shouldn’t have to put up with poor property
“There is no golden rule that says poor people must put up with poor property. Equally there is no rule that says voluntary organisations working in poor communities must work in rotten property either.”
BLOG: Charities need to start embracing AI
"The opportunities that AI offers digital are endless and can make a huge impact on people’s lives. It is more important than ever that charities embrace leading edge technology to make a change."
BLOG: 20 years of hitting the giving target
Dame Stephanie Shirley on how the Shirley Foundation has developed over 20 years
BLOG: Leadership needs to be a balance of persuasion and empowerment
Departing CEO Sarah Talbot-Williams reflects on eight years leading Above & Beyond
BLOG: CEO/chair relationship: What questions to ask when things are tense
Richard Moore looks at what charities can do when the relationship between the CEO and chair does not go to plan
BLOG: How to weather the storm in a disruptive external environment
Polly Wallace-Kruger provides tips on how to deal with an uncertain, and potentially disruptive, external environment
BLOG: Making CSR the norm
Director of people and culture Debbie Mawer explains how Claims Consortium Group’s relationship with a local charity reaps mutual benefits
Blog: Five ways to write a good business strategy – and use it
Miriam Cunningham covers some steps anyone can take to make sure their plan is clear and cohesive
BLOG: Making cross-sector boards work
Kathryn Morley says it is willingness to collaborate and a sense of shared purpose that makes cross-sector boards work
BLOG: Time off work for charity trustees
Joe Irvin calls on the sector to urge the government to consult on allowing trustees reasonable time off work
BLOG: Why we need to receive philanthropists better as a nation
Cheryl Chapman calls for a rethink on how we receive philanthropists as a nation
BLOG: Appraisals for trustees, the key to good governance?
Julie Laxton explains Touchstone Support’s decision to put in place a trustee appraisal framework, and the benefits it has had to the charity
BLOG: Community energy, a magic bullet for a multitude of charitable objectives
Colin Baines says charities and foundations should seize the opportunity to support the community energy sector
BLOG: Why the third sector needs to be prepared for the mayoral elections in May
YMCA Birmingham CEO Alan Fraser says English devolution means third sector organisations need to prepare for a new reality if they are to survive
COMMENT: Time for the sector to speak up
Caroline Slocock says the voices of marginalised and disempowered groups must be heard, and the voluntary sector has a vital role in ensuring it is
BLOG: After Brexit - a fairer, more sustainable British economy?
Friends Provident Foundation director Danielle Walker Palmour responds to the issues highlighted in a Demos study
the charity commissioned to look at the opportunities and threats to the creation of a more resilient UK economy after Brexit
BLOG: Using tech to improve services in a small charity
National Ugly Mugs CEO Alex Feis Bryce says tech can have a transformative effect in delivering social change, as charities face increasing demands to deliver more for less
BLOG: Three simple tips on how small charities can attract major donors
Ikhlaq Hussain of Orphans In Need says charities of all sizes can have successful major giving programmes
COLUMN: Social injustice and why the sector needs to look inwards
Sir Stuart Etherington says there is a long way to go in terms of fair representation of the UK population in the charity sector’s workforce
BLOG: Lifting the lid on asset manager performance on responsible investment
Nandi de Haas says research has found there is a wide variety in the quality of responsible investment performance and disclosures
BLOG: Social media dos and don’ts for healthcare organisations
Following the launch of Skills for Health’s new social media toolkit senior marketing manager Dawn Bratcher shares some key tips
BLOG: Is opt-in the only way forward for fundraising?
The DMA's Skip Fidura says charities must be honest, transparent and give individuals control to build and maintain trust
BLOG: No one has made it through life without someone else’s help
Esther Blake says volunteer mentors can transform the lives of children in care
BLOG: Investing responsibly can support charitable missions
ShareAction’s Jo Mountford explains how investing responsibly can see charities' investments support their missions with more than just financial returns
Children England CEO Kathy Evans says recent evidence of declining trust in society’s institutions is a call to action for the charity sector
BLOG: How ‘thank you letters’ can help you reach your major giving potential
Ikhlaq Hussain of Orphans In Need on how the presentation of a thank you letter can make all the difference to major donors
BLOG: Saving and changing lives – and being able to prove it
Refuge chief executive Sandra Horley CBE explains how impact measurement is crucial to the charity's success
BLOG: What can medical research charities do to ensure they are protected from the faltering economy?
Dr Penny Woods, CEO of British Lung Foundation provides her thoughts on the future for funding
BLOG: Future generations need cross-sector models to succeed
OnSide Youth Zones chief executive Kathryn Morley says innovation and collaboration are needed if voluntary and public sector provision is to continue to deliver
BLOG: The gift of giving time
Action Tutoring chief executive Susannah Hardyman says giving is as much about volunteering as donating money
BLOG: New policies are needed to stimulate charity mergers
Eastside Primetimers CEO Richard Litchfield argues that the bodies supporting the voluntary sector should operate in a more joined up way to improve the infrastructure for charity mergers
BLOG: Could you put the price up please?
The CEOs of Impetus PEF and Action Tutoring say charities should stop short changing themselves
BLOG: Getting personal with renters - online campaigning that works
Janey from Shelter says personalisation was at the heart of the charity’s award winning Fix Renting campaign
BLOG: Social media is an opportunity the sector cannot afford to ignore
Digital communications expert and co-author of the Charity Social Media Toolkit Zoe Amar looks at why charities should learn from each other to reap the benefits of social media
BLOG: Good financial practice in small charities
Nicholas Faraday says a vital part of what an organisation does is how it manages and reports on its finances, and this is equally true for small charities
LEGAL BLOG: Law Commission proposals could simplify charity law
Bircham Dyson Bell senior associate Sarah Williams says changes outlined in a recent consultation could help charities focus on their missions and avoid costly delays in implementing decisions
BLOG: Executive support needed to build on increasingly important legacies
Executive and board level support is a key part of successful legacy fundraising campaigns, says Remember A Charity director Rob Cope
BLOG: Time for trusts to embrace a ‘grants plus’ model
Richard Litchfield says providing practical support alongside grants can help funded charities boost the impact of their grant money, but there needs to be greater willingness to get behind a ‘grants plus’ model
BLOG: Trust in charities – the sector must communicate its value
Mike Kelly discusses why the third sector must do more to demonstrate its value, following the Charity Commission’s announcement that public trust and confidence in charities is at its lowest level since monitoring began
BLOG: Do yourself a service and find out about social investment
Geetha Rabindrakumar explains why it is not just the finance team that should take an interest in social investment
BLOG: How do we increase fundraising skills at a trustee level?
Simon Callaghan on the need to increase the number of trustees with fundraising skills
BLOG: Charities could pay a significant price if the UK votes to leave Europe
Shadow Minister for Civil Society Anna Turley argues British charities benefit hugely from the UK’s membership of the EU
BLOG: Charities need to think like journalists to get better coverage
Becky Slack argues charities need to be braver in their media activity, willing to put their head above the parapet and challenge the status quo
BLOG: Building capacity to weather challenges essential
Following research last week showing small and medium-sized charities are suffering the most from public spending cuts, Locality chief executive Tony Armstrong outlines how his organisation is working to safeguard the resilience of its members
BLOG: Charities must defend themselves – as long as their actions are defensible
Alex Goldup argues charities need to protect their reputations, but this will only be possible if they do not shy away from asking difficult questions about how they operate
BLOG: Documentary shows human cost of Kids Company’s collapse
Camila’s Kids Company: The Inside Story proved to be a fascinating, if disheartening, look behind the scenes at the charity during its final days
BLOG: Last year was an annus horribilis for the charity sector – but it can recover
YouGov’s Briony Gunstone says that although the sector’s reputation took a hit in 2015, the change in perception is not irreversible
BLOG: We need a public services constitution
Acevo’s Simon Dixon argues for a permanent and revolutionary change placing charities and the individual at the centre of public service delivery
BLOG: Trustees need more help looking at mergers
Eastside Primetimers CEO Richard Litchfield says the Charity Commission has a major role to play in helping trustees think objectively about their achievement of mission and impact
BLOG: Why Trustees' Week is obsolete
Esther Foreman and Grant Taylor are bringing together experts to work out the practical steps needed to attract and retain technology and digital skills on trustee boards
BLOG: Evaluating cyber-risks: the new frontier
Dr Stephen Hill and Mia Campbell of the Fraud Advisory Panel look at the risks facing charities online, and how they can be managed
BLOG: ‘The rules need to change but not the main player’ – Boswell on the fundraising review
Lindsay Boswell argues that while the Etherington review contains many excellent proposals, the recommendation to scrap the FRSB is ‘deeply flawed’
BLOG: Partnerships the key to boost youth social action – Matt Hyde
As he announces the launch of a new campaign, A Million Hands, with six charity partners, The Scout Association’s chief executive, Matt Hyde explains how a partnership approach is empowering young people to make social change
BLOG: How to focus on impact when it comes to social investment
Eibhlin Ni Ogain covers the lessons Nesta Impact Investments has learnt while providing support to social enterprises
Bloggers must have access to council meetings
Councils should open up their public meetings to local news 'bloggers' and routinely allow online filming of public discussions as part of increasing their transparency, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said. Local Government Minister Bob Neill has written to all councils urging greater openness and calling on them to adopt a modern day approach so that credible community or 'hyper-local' bloggers and online broadcasters get the same routine access to council meetings as the traditional accredited media have.