Friday, 21 December 2012

Make a Flake

A little seasonal Voluntary Sector Humour.

I'm taking a couple of weeks off blogging, I assume everyone will be taking a couple of weeks off reading.

See you all in the New Year! 

Thursday, 20 December 2012

CIO - Charitable Incorporated Organisation

(Image courtesy of GenBug)

[UPDATE 2016 - see why I don't think CIOs are a good idea.]

CIO stands for Charitable Incorporated Organisations.

At the moment, there are two key types of charitable organisation:

  • Un-incorporated: Each trustee is personally financially liable for the organisation
  • Incorporated: Each trustee and member is liable to a fixed tune, usually £1

In order to become incorporated, you need to register your organisation with Companies House. However, the Charity Commission is looking to take over the paperwork and accounts on that one, incorporating charities as, well, Charitable Incorporated Organisations.

Makes sense. Apparently:

They've been chewing this over since 2006 and have delayed it several times already, but this time it looks serious.

More info on registering a CIO on the CC Website. They have also issued a timeline of registration for 2013.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Open Public Services

(Image courtesy of DonMarcoCaballero)
In brief:

In July 2011 the Coalition Government published its Open Public Services White Paper, in which the Cabinet Office sets out its policy framework for how it wants public services to be owned, delivered and funded in the future, and the roles of the individual citizen and the state in this. 

You can find the white paper briefing online.

You can also find an overview in this publication: Open Public Services 2012

It seems to be a push to increase the involvement of the Voluntary Sector in delivering public services. Increased outsourcing rather than straight-out privatisation.

Sort of questionable when many of the care homes, disability and educational activities run by the Voluntary Sector have had to close due to recent funding cuts.

Find out how the Voluntary Sector are getting on with the Open Public Services experience in this report:

It involved the following organisations: Age UK, Baca Project, British Red Cross, CAF, CFG, Changemakers, Clinks, LVSC, NCVO, NCVYS, Turning Point, West Mercia Probation Trust, Westminster City Council, YSS.

Each have contributed case studies and recommendations.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Future of International Development

The speech was delivered at the British Council in New Dehli, India on October 16th this year, explaining:

Trade flows, remittances, and foreign direct investment have all over the last decade grown much faster than aid. So have domestic tax revenues in virtually every country. The role of donors now is not so much to fill financing gaps across the developing world:
  • We need to focus on the toughest problems (like the continuing challenge of child nutrition).
  • We need to concentrate on promoting science, technology, innovation and ideas and building the evidence on whether they work.
  • We need to help build the skills, capabilities, and institutions which help countries succeed.

Although delivered in Dehli, there was no mention of the forthcoming decision to cut aid to India.

He outlines the 'new architecture of development' in six steps:

  1. Clarify the business we are in
  2. Change our offer
  3. Improve our offer to meet big development challanges
  4. Sustain and increase aid volumes
  5. Focus more rigorously on the results delivery
  6. Become more transparent and accountable

Each of those sections are addressed in the speech.

One fact of particular interest:

Official aid globally has increased from $60 billion a year a decade ago to $120 billion now. Which is part of the reason, incidentally, why development progress has accelerated over the last 10 years. 

Fairly useful outline of DFID's future thinking.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Contracts Finder

If you're a charity, social enterprise or organisation in the UK looking for government contracts and tenders, check out Contracts Finder.

Contracts Finder lets you search for information about contracts worth over £10,000 with the government and its agencies.
You can use Contracts Finder to:
  • Search for current contract opportunities
  • Find out what’s coming up in the future
  • Look up details of previous tenders and contracts

When you hit the 'Start Now' button and scroll down, you can search for opportunities and see what is already being bought by the government as part of their transparency policy.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


This could turn out to be a useful development:

iZettle is a small card-reader that plugs into iPhones, iPads and a number of Android smartphones or tablets. It is designed for use by any small trader who can't afford the infrastructure needed to take credit card payments. You hand over your card to the stallholder - or plumber or window-cleaner - it is swiped through the device, and then you sign for your purchase. The merchant pays a commission of 2.75% a transaction, and the consumer gets to use their plastic rather than cash in new places...

iZettle was launched in Sweden a year ago, and according to the co-founder Jacob de Geer, it is now used by more than 75,000 small businesses and individuals in six countries. In Sweden, he told journalists at the launch, 700 blacksmiths are using the device. "It's bringing new merchants to the table. My ambition is to democratise card payments."

It could prove to be of significant benefit to smaller organisations and social enterprises who can't afford the set-up fees for card readers, allowing them to sell goods locally to help generate unrestricted income.

Worth keeping an eye on its progress via the iZettle website.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

UN Gender Trust

Last year saw 15 years of the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women:

The United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund)... kicked off its 16th year announcing more than  US$8 million in grants to 12 local initiatives in 18 countries...

To date, the UN Trust Fund has delivered more than USD 78 million to 339 initiatives in 127 countries and territories.

You can check out their digital library online.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Writing a Governing Document

(Image court of storebukkebruse)

If you're thinking of starting a community organisation, you're going to need to start by writing your Constitution.

The above article gives a helpful introduction, as well as some links to other useful resources.

I highly recommend you start with Voluntary Action Leicestershire's Constitution Template. It's only four pages long and contains helpful step-by-step guidance notes throughout.

If you need more assistance, you can pop down to your local Voluntary Action Council for advice, or check out my Charity Start-up package.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Benefits & Grants for Individuals

Stumbled upon this site the other day.

We are a charitable service which helps people access the money available to them – through welfare benefits, grants and other help.

Turn2us have a website full of free resources. It seems to cover a couple of bases:

  • Benefits: Help for those having trouble getting information about benefit entitlement.
  • Grants: Accessing grants for families and individuals.

Certainly worth knowing about. It's usually a lot harder finding information on grants for individuals than it is finding information on grants for organisations.

Do drop a comment below if you find them useful.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Social Entrepreneurship in China

This is a fascinating video:

Apparently, in China it is very difficult to start an NGO, but easy to start a business. There is a wave of young Chinese setting up socially responsible businesses tackling everything from care for the elderly through to heating water in rural villages.

There has certainly been an increased push towards Community Interest Companies and Social Enterprises in the UK, but there is still confusion and friction between our traditionally strong Voluntary Sector and the for-profit Private Sector.

Perhaps we can learn some valuable lessons from China's success?

Monday, 3 December 2012

Facebook Fundraising

(Image courtesy of birgerking)

There's a few tips and tricks in there, but one section that I thought I'd highlight:

Funky Apps

In the research for this HowTo, a commenter mentioned a Facebook page called the Soi Dog Foundation. If you log into Facebook and follow that link you'll see three apps along the top: Adopt a Dog, Sponsor a Dog and Donate.
This is a new development in Facebook's use as a fundraising tool.

When asked how they did it, Soi Dog responded:

"These are apps we have written. It is not too hard to do so, but someone who knows HTML and has some technical experience is needed. If you have such a person around, get them to visit Canvas Tutorial and they can take it from there."
It's worth getting your organisation an IT savvy volunteer, as this area of Facebook fundraising is likely to continue to grow. Apps are the way of the (immediate) future.