Monday, 30 December 2013

Human Development Report 2013

Let's round off this year with a roundup of UNDP's Human Development Report. Have a happy, peaceful and prosperous new year!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Picture Manipulation

If you're trying to cut back on the cost of your software, there are several alternatives to PhotoShop for image manipulation.

One of my previous clients, Mikron Theatre Company, recently mentioned their love of Pixlr.

I've previously mentioned Fotor, and GIMP is a well known freeware version of PhotoShop.

You can easily kit out your office with all the latest technology without spending a fortune. Excellent for creating flyers, posters and images for your website. Fun for volunteers to learn, too.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Integrating Value for Money

A very useful tool by BOND for Integrating Value for Money into the Programme Cycle (PDF). A quick and colourful checklist of questions to ask yourself about whether your project is delivering the best value for money that it can. This is a growing issue in both International Development and home-grown initiatives.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Microfinance Handbook by World Bank

Useful, interesting and free, The New Microfinance Handbook from The World Bank (PDF).

The objective of The New Microfinance Handbook is to provide a strategic guide to help assess the financial service needs of the poor and to determine how a diversified financial sector can address these needs. It takes a different approach from the original Microfinance Handbook. Rather than taking an 'institutional' perspective (supply driven), the book considers the clients and their needs (demand side) and how the market can better meet their needs first and foremost. The result is a book which is less of a 'how-to' guide but rather a description of financial markets and how they work, or do not work, in serving the needs of the poor - and what is needed to improve the market. The book aims to facilitate access to and usage of financial products and services that genuinely meet the many needs of the poor through various sustainable financial service providers.

If your organisation is working in the field of microfinance, it's a must-read.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Simple Guides to Social Media

Social media is confusing. Following on from my earlier post: Which social media to choose? I thought I'd share a couple of easy to follow guides I recently created for an organisation in Africa called Kivu Writers.

I've just helped them to set up their first Social Media accounts, and they needed instructions that their volunteers would be able to get to grips with.

It's also worth checking out my post on how to get a free website.

These guides really aren't exhaustive, but they try to impart the key things you need to know in order to use each platform. To get a sense of what I'm talking about, you can check out my examples via Kivu Writers' website/blog (also - clever, huh? Check out for completely free domain names), Facebook page and Twitter account

Or, if you'd just like someone to do it for you, check out my popular packages.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Charity Banking Status with Co-operative Bank

I've just been on the phone to The Co-operative, and thought I would update on some important information affecting community groups and charities who bank using the Community DirectPlus account:

  • There are currently no plans to review the £1million per annum free banking limit for charities
  • Your account is protected, the same as personal finances, up to £85,000

Therefore it still offers one of the best and most convenient nonprofit accounts on the UK market for small to medium-sized charities, and I'd still recommend it. The person I spoke to said that they would be continuing to uphold their ethical approach to banking - this part remains to be seen. However, in the absence of Triodos or Charity Bank driving to attract disaffected Co-operative account holders, we may as well wait it out.