Your organisation: Management, finance and governance
Edition 11 – Wednesday 3 June
Changes to furlough rules
Firstly the rate that the government pays:
- Currently, and up to the end of July, the Government pay 80% of salary up to the cap of £2,500 per month, plus 3% pension contributions, and the NI.
- From 1 August the Government will pay 80% of salary up to the cap of £2,500 per month, but the employer will pay the pension contributions and the NI.
- From 1 September the Government will pay 70% up to £2,190 per month, employers will pay 10% of salary plus the pension and NI.
- From 1 October the Government will pay 60% of salary up to £1,875, employers will pay 20% of salary plus the pension and NI.
Secondly, the ability to bring back employees from furlough part time. The HMRC website states:
From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.
The scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3 week period prior to 30 June.
This means that the final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10 June, in order for the 3 week furlough period to be completed by 30 June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.
Further guidance on flexible furloughing and how employers should calculate claims will be published on 12 June.
Community buildings – guidance for hosting pre-schools
The legislation to allow community buildings to open for use by a pre-school is now in force (as of 1st June). The regulations now say that community buildings can open for two reasons:
1. To provide essential voluntary activities or urgent public support services OR
2. For early years childcare provided by a person registered on the Early Years Register under Part 3 of the Childcare Act 2006.2.
Community centres and halls must still remain closed to the public for all other activities.
See more detail here
Sector bodies call for Covid-19 ‘data collective’
A group of 15 major voluntary sector organisations has called for the creation of a “data collective” that will enable charities and other sector bodies to more effectively share information about the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the think tank NPC, the British Red Cross and Citizens Advice are among the organisations to have signed an open letter proposing the move. It says that the organisations “want to make sure that people in charities, on the front line and in leadership positions, have access to the information they need, in a timely fashion, in the easiest possible format to understand, with the clearest possible analysis of what it means for them”.
Online discussion events
NCVO is asking you to share your experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic, and invites you to join their free online discussion events in partnership with Tortoise.
Each one will cover a specific topic that gives you a chance to share the challenges you face, the decisions you’re making and the solutions you’re finding with your colleagues in voluntary organisations.
- The future of fundraising: threats and opportunities – 2 June, 14:00 – 15:00
- Building organisational resilience: what do we need to think about? – 9 June, 14:00 – 15:00
- Lessons learnt from the pandemic: planning for a new normal -16 June, 14:00 – 15:00
- Lessons learnt from the pandemic: planning for a new normal – 23 June,14:00 – 15:00
- Working together to move forward: opportunities and challenges – 7 July, 14:00 – 15:00
- What do we want the future of the sector to look like? – 14 July, 14:00 – 15:00
Charity Retail Association’s latest re-opening pack
The Charity Retail Association has issued version 4 of its Charity Retail Reopening Pack. This version includes the workplace-specific guidance published by the Government last week and supersedes previous versions.
Virtual Board Meetings
Legislation that will allow charities to hold board and members meetings virtually, even if the organisations’ constitutions do not permit it, passed the first stage on its way to becoming law on 20th May.
The Office for National Statistics has published indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey covering the period 21 May to 24 May, which aimed to understand the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on people, households and communities.
Friends Against Scams
Friends Against Scams is a National Trading Standards initiative which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams. Their website has a range of information to help prevent scams, as well as online training and downloadable information.
New guidance from Health and Safety Executive
- Using PPE at work during the Covid-19 outbreak
- Hand sanitiser products and surface disinfectants during the Covid-19 outbreak
South Western Railway has been running a reduced train service since March. From Monday 1 June, they will re-introduce services on several routes including:
- An hourly service between Guildford and Farnham
- An hourly service between Ascot and Aldershot
- A full service on the Salisbury to Romsey via Southampton Central & Eastleigh service
- A full service on the Island Line
When this is all over
Rev Tim Clarke of Ibex has written a blog on the theme of “When this is all over”. And launched a competition to write a blog/make a video on the same theme. Prizes for winners! See here
Edition 10 – Thursday 29 May
Discretionary Grants Fund
As previously outlined in the newsletter, this funding has been passed from government to local authorities and should be open to charities with properties that are receiving charities business rates relief – but it is discretionary.
Guidance for local authorities was published on 13th May and states: “It is recognised that local authorities will need to run some form of application process as the potential beneficiaries are highly unlikely to be known directly by the local authorities. This will allow local authorities to undertake proportionate pre-payment checks to confirm eligibility relative to their local scheme and to allow each local authority to determine how to use its discretion in relation to the appropriate level of grant.”
The Charity Tax Group advises that charities contact their local authority to express their view that they should be eligible!
How’s your Chair?
Is your Chair looking a bit frayed at the edges? Chairs and other trustees play an invaluable part in the life of the VCS and deserve our thanks – volunteering at board level takes a special set of skills and knowledge, as well as time and energy. The Association of Chairs has produced a handy Self Care for Chairs guide. #ShowYourChairYouCare
A winge from me… I’ve been trying to persuade Zoom to let Action Hampshire ‘bulk buy’ Zoom licences at a reduced rate, on behalf of smaller charities and community groups. After lots of to-ing and fro-ing, Zoom have refused to help. So I’ve got the hump! I’m investigating alternative options, with GoToMeeting seemingly a good option. Please let me know if you have any experience of alternatives, or any other suggestions/bright ideas. (Charity Digital provide a reduced rate for Zoom subscriptions, but you have to pay them £56 to access it, so you only save about a fiver).
Covid-19: guidance for Community Interest Companies (CICs)
The Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies (CICs) has robust plans in place to maintain services for CICs and protect the welfare of employees during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Do you have any experience of commissioning or contracting (good or bad) since the outbreak?
NCVO needs you to help make the case for a more flexible approach to commissioning and contracting post-Covid-19. They are working in collaboration with Children England, Clinks, Locality and Lloyds Bank Foundation to set out what the ‘new normal’ should look like.
Complete this form and tell your stories of good and bad commissioning practice since the outbreak. Your experiences will help highlight the benefits of flexible and collaborative approaches.
Lottery record breaker
The Covid-19 Community Support Fund (made up of £200m of the £750m promised by government) received hundreds of applications when it launched last Friday, with requests totalling “multi-millions of pounds” – and broke the Lottery’s record for the most applications received in a single day.
There’s no specific deadline or window for the fund, and how long it remains open will depend on both the demand, and how quickly decisions to award grants can be made. If you are thinking of applying, or you’re working on an application now, don’t hang about! Further details are in our funding section.
Lockdown and its effects on society
Stacie duPerrouzel, a freelance writer/director, is working on a story about the lockdown and how it has affected society.
She is particularly interested in speaking with charities who are working with women, domestic violence survivors and people in an economically unstable position.
Contact Stacie by phone on 0777 1790 042 or email Stacie Duperrouzel to find out more about her project.
Edition 9 – Wednesday 20 May
Furlough and holiday
A number of people have been asking us about furlough and annual leave entitlement. The furlough rules state that:
- Furloughed staff continue to accrue annual leave while on furlough – their contracts and terms and conditions are no different to normal.
- You can ask furloughed staff to take ‘reasonable’ amounts of annual leave whilst on furlough, but you need to give them double the days as notice. Ie. if you want them to take 5 days a/l, you need to give them 10 working days of notice.
- Bank holidays. If you are paying furloughed staff anything less than 100% salary, you need to either give them the ‘credit’ for the bank holiday when they return to work, or pay them the 100% rate for the bank holiday.
£100m fund launched to support charities through crisis
The Covid-19 Support Fund aims to raise £100m in total, with £82.5m already pledged by 29 personal finance companies.
The fund has been launched in partnership with the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and has made an initial £20m donation to the National Emergencies Trust (NET). Charities will not be able to apply for funding directly, but money will be distributed through umbrella bodies. The fund aims to “provide immediate relief to charities affected by Covid-19”. It is looking to support community-based charities that are struggling during the crisis, charities supporting the most vulnerable, and wellbeing and mental health initiatives, among others.
We don’t currently know any further details, but as National Emergencies Trust money is being distributed through Community Foundations, this initial funding should provide a welcome top-up for Hampshire and IOW Community Foundation’s funding.
The Government’s Covid-19 recovery strategy: Implications for charities
Elizabeth Chamberlain has written a helpful blog about the ‘steps’ towards easing lockdown and how they will affect charities. Many charities are thinking about how they will manage phased re-opening. Some community buildings are telling us about issues such as pre-schools operating from their premises wishing to re-open on 1st June, but the buildings themselves not being permitted to open until at least July.
Sayer Vincent have a useful Covid-19 hub and FAQs on their website, covering issues such as Gift Aid, business rates and Annual Reports. Sayer Vincent are specialist charity accountants, so it’s worth a look.
Transition from lock down
ACAS have put together a new digital training session designed to address the key issues that employers are facing in navigating from lock down through to transition and beyond.
These sessions will be delivered by Zoom, with small delegate numbers to allow the opportunity to ask questions of our knowledgeable advisers and to also allow for delegates to share their own experiences and explore the key issues they may be facing.
- 08th June – 10am till 12pm
- 16th June – 10am till 12pm
- 24th June – 10am till 12pm
- 3rd July – 10am till 12pm
Monitoring the impact of Covid-19 on the charity sector
Pro Bono Economics and Civil Society Media want to continue to understand the pressures being faced by the charity sector, and to monitor how things change week to week as the Covid-19 challenge shifts. In order to collect this data, they are running a weekly survey which will take only 60 seconds to complete.
Click here to complete the survey
The Evaluation Mindset: When nobody listens
Maybe evaluation is not at the top of your priority list right now, but given that we’re all doing things in new and peculiar ways, perhaps it should be (or near the top anyway). Chris Lysy has written a fantastic blog about evaluation. I really enjoyed reading it – largely because it’s got lots of brilliant cartoons.
DCMS Committee report on the impact of Covid-19 on charities
The DCMS Committee has published its report on the impact of Covid-19 on charities, saying the funding provided so far is ‘too little too late’
The report argues that the government should introduce the stabilisation fund advocated by NCVO and other sector bodies, criticising the government for only focusing on charities working directly on Covid-19, the lack of transparency in the allocation of funding, and calling on the government to allow furloughed staff in charities to volunteer for their employers.
NCVO chief executive Karl Wilding has this week expressed concerns over the length of time that the publication of criteria for funding is taking.
Social Enterprise online forum
Social Enterprise UK have launched an online forum, designed to bring the social enterprise community together to share their experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic, to discuss important topics and to post offers of support and calls for help. You can register for it here
Charity Retail Association Reopening Pack
The second draft of the CRA’s Reopening Pack is available for download. The pack consists of helpful guidance for when the green light to open up shops begins to shine, and provides some suggestions of things to think about in the meantime. The pack is being updated regularly in response to feedback and as government guidance changes.
Updated and interactive data on the Covid-19 crisis for charities and funders
Think NPC has built an interactive dashboard to help charities see which places are currently suffering the most from Covid-19, and where underlying factors such as age, health, ethnicity, as well as economic indicators, may indicate greater risk. Take a dive into their website and let us know what you think.
Edition 8 – Wednesday 13 May
Peers tell Chancellor he must allow furloughed charity staff to volunteer for their own organisations
A letter to Rishi Sunak, written by the Liberal Democrat Baroness Tyler of Enfield and signed by 13 others, says failure to do so could create ‘an irreparable void’ in charity services. The letter, sent yesterday (12th), acknowledges that the job-rentention scheme needs to be protected from abuse, but the nature of charities means the chances of that happening are “inherently remote”. It adds: “We strongly believe charities must not be discouraged from delivering critical front-line services at a time where demand has soared, income has disappeared and they face a very uncertain future.”
Making the government’s Covid-19 support schemes work better for charities
Many of the business support measures are open to charities, but they are designed in ways that actually restrict access. Elizabeth Chamberlain explains the improvements that NCVO and others are pushing for.
DCMS select committee report calls for urgent action to support charities
After hearing evidence from NCVO and many other charities, the committee’s recommendations include a stabilisation fund for the sector and a review of existing support schemes.
Is your district council dishing out the dosh?
Figures released this week by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show a big discrepancy in the distribution of Covid-19 support grants by local authorities. The data covers the distribution of Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund (RHLGF), both of which can be claimed by charities in some circumstances.
The top distributor nationally is our very own Basingstoke and Deane Council, who has distributed over 97% of their allocation. At the other end of the scale is Havant Borough Council who have only distributed 40%.
We are wondering whether the councils with the lower levels of distribution have not had many applications, or of there are other barriers preventing these funds being distributed. Please let us know what the issue is, if your area is at the lower end – we will make sure information is fed in to MHCLG – email Kirsty Rowlinson. If you want to check on your council, the data is here
Local authorities and discretionary funding for charities
Last weekend, the Government announced additional discretionary support for small businesses, including charities
This additional fund of £617m will be distributed via local authorities. It is aimed at small businesses – and charities – with ongoing fixed property-related costs.
‘Discretionary’ is a key issue. Local authorities are being asked by the Government to include priority for small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief. However local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses, based on local economic need. The allocation of funding will be at the discretion of local authorities.
This is a limited pot of funding and we urge you to contact your local authority urgently if you believe you may be eligible.
Extra 1,500 free places available for Third Sector’s Fundraising Conference
Third Sector is making an additional 1,500 places available for free for next week’s (20th -21st May) virtual Fundraising Conference after the initial allocation of tickets sold out within 48 hours.
We understand that some smaller charities have not been applying for government support because of confusion over business rates and rateable value. Rateable value (RV) is a value that is given to all non-domestic and commercial properties. It is used to assess the amount of business rates the property owner or leaseholder must pay. Some government support for businesses (including charities and voluntary organisations) is allocated based on the RV of your premises. You can find out the RV of your premises by entering your postcode or part address to find the details for your premises.
Once you know your rateable value or RV from the database above, you can calculate business rates. Your business rates (whether or not you actually pay them) will be roughly half that figure. (The multipliers for this financial year be either 0.5040 or 0.4910 depending on the type of property), so about half. If your rateable value is £50,000, then your business rates will be around £25,000. Clear as mud?
A quarter of charities cannot take digital donations, CAF poll finds
Almost a quarter of charities cannot take digital donations, new research shows, meaning it will be harder for them to adapt to the more cash-free environment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
CAF said other research had shown that, within days of lockdown being imposed in late March, the use of cash in the UK fell by 50 per cent as consumers turned to contactless payments in a bid to reduce the spread of the virus. Is this something your organisation is worried about? If so, contact us and we’ll see if we can help.
Covid-19 research findings. What do donors think about giving now?
Bluefrog Fundraising carried out depth interviews with people who actually give to charity, including donors who had cut back their giving.
You can watch a video of their findings here
Financial health of sector ‘worse than all-time low in manufacturing’
A survey by Acevo, in partnership with the Centre for Mental Health, finds that the financial health of the sector is worse than that of manufacturing, which is at an all-time low. Seven out of 10 charities say donations and new business have fallen in the past month, and nearly six out 10 say cash flow has worsened. Seventy per cent of respondents said new business and donation income had fallen, while 59 per cent said they felt cash flow had deteriorated and 61 per cent said their reserve levels had fallen.
There will be no ‘back to normal’
For anyone starting to think about resilience and redesign, NESTA have produced a useful and considered PESTLE analysis. Click here to view
Has anyone written a fundraising recovery plan for the rest of the year?
This question was pasted on a Covid Facebook group we are following. It had 50 comments attached to it – mostly people saying that they knew they should create one but weren’t sure where to start. Charity Excellence Framework posted this as some guidance
An updated warning on charity fraud
Action Fraud has updated its charity fraud page to include new trends and issues to look out for. It is worth sharing this information to ensure beneficiaries and donors know that your charity is legitimate.
See the full details here
Shelter warns of ‘tsunami’ of evictions once the lockdown ends
According to The Independent, Shelter says many of the two million people applying for universal credit, which includes the local housing allowance, are still struggling to meet the costs of rent, which is leading to mounting debt and rent arrears.
It is asking for the government to increase housing benefit to match 50 per cent of the average rent in the area. “Our services are already hearing from families in homes they could comfortably afford under normal circumstances who are now in serious financial difficulty,” Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, told the newspaper.
#iwill campaign letter urges a Covid-19 conference for young people
The letter is supported by 80 charity organisations, includes the Scouts, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and Unicef.
It says: “We must recognise and respect their contribution. From Norway to New Zealand to Scotland, other countries are already leading the way forward in engaging with young people directly on these issues and more. The UK government should do the same.” For more information, click here
Power to change report: Locally rooted community organisations play central role in tackling the crisis
Power to Change has produced a report called ‘Local Heroes: How to Sustain Community Spirit Beyond Covid-19’ which presents six insights into the initial community response to the crisis. The report says mutual aid works best at the micro-level and that mutual aid at scale needs community organisations. It adds that community spirit is everywhere, but some places need more support and that community organisations have changed quickly to meet local needs. Lastly, the report finds that bigger institutions rely on community organisations to respond well and that trading community organisations are falling through the cracks.
The Charity Commission may have ‘eroded’ public trust, says Sir Stuart Etherington
The Charity Commission may have “created a climate where public confidence may have been eroded, rather than public trust being enhanced”, Sir Stuart Etherington, the former chief executive of NCVO has said. Etherington says that the sector needs to think through what a good model for charity regulation would look like. He writes: “It [regulation] should be based on a public interest framework, which is not the same thing as public opinion. One thing is for sure, voluntary organisations suffering significantly as a result of the reduction of income are not going to have the resources to respond to the level of compliance implied by current narrow view of regulation. So, the framework will need to change.”
Edition 7 – Wednesday 6 May
Helping charities focus on recovery
A blog by NPC’s Charlotte Lamb, says charities should be focusing on their core purposes and adapting their work to changes in the external environment, but in line with their resources and capabilities, helping to anchor them in a time of uncertainty.
She examines whether core purposes need to be adapted, looks at opportunities in the external environment and how resources can be maximised, concluding that strategy development is key.
UN urges nations to ‘recover better’
As the world begins planning for a post-pandemic recovery, the United Nations is calling on Governments to seize the opportunity to “build back better” by creating more sustainable, resilient and inclusive societies.
The United Nations is devising a blueprint for a healthier plant and society that leaves no one behind. Read here and check out #buildbackbetter on Twitter.
Society will be weaker in the future if charities don’t get help now, warn peers
The Liberal Democrat peer Lord Addington called a virtual debate to discuss how the charity sector would be affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. A fuller description of the proceedings can be read here.
Opening the debate, he said: “Virtually all aspects of life have a charitable input into them. Education, care, support, social activity, the arts and sport are all covered and interact with it in certain ways, as do virtually all commercial activities. This is something we must take seriously and pay attention to, not only during the crisis but as we exit it.”
Many positive statements about the voluntary sector were made by peers during the debate, which was oversubscribed, leading to 17 peers being excluded.
During the debate, Baroness Barker, Lib Dem, said: “This debate, from which several members of the House have been excluded by the government, is inadequate to cover the complexity and the details for the subject, and that is rather unsatisfactory. Therefore my first question is to ask when the government will set aside time for a proper debate. It is needed.” Hear hear!
‘Overlooked’ charities could add much more to the economy than is currently estimated
The charity sector’s contribution to the economy is severely underestimated and could amount to £200bn per year, a report from Pro Bono Economics (PBE) has found. This is 12 times more than officially estimated, a discrepancy which leaves the sector “vulnerable to policy neglect”.
The report, Undervalued and Overlooked? The Need for Better Understanding of Civil Society’s Contribution to the UK Economy, was put together by 3 PBE economists. It argues for a review of the way the charity sector’s contribution to the economy is officially calculated.
Currently, the sector’s gross added value (GVA) is estimated at £17bn. However, the report’s authors say that four types of contribution have not been taken into account:
- Official volunteers
- Informal volunteers
- Spillover fiscal benefits (eg. helping homeless people into accommodation and work can result in lower crime rates and health spend, as well as higher tax revenues)
- Wider economic spillover (eg. receiving counselling at primary school can result in a person living a healthier life and having higher lifetime earnings).
The report says that while there is not enough data available to make an accurate estimate, if these factors are considered, the sector could be worth as much as £200bn. Finally, the report suggests that the £750m government response package to the Coronavirus crisis is insufficient due to this undervaluation.
Public understanding of charities ‘must be improved when pandemic recedes’
A study by the academics Beth Breeze and John Mohan says the public’s ‘low and arguably uninformed’ opinion of the sector dates back at least 70 years.
The study, called Sceptical Yet Supportive: Understanding Public Attitudes to Charity says that people in Britain are supportive of charities but do not really understand them.
The report says more needs to be done by the sector and its stakeholders to provide evidence-based responses to public criticism. But it says that “When influential people are ‘sticking the boot into charity’ – whether they be senior political figures, current and former chairs of the Charity Commission or newspaper editors – this hardly seems likely to stimulate public support”.
Gift Aid Newbies
Some established organisations may find themselves in a situation where they wish to claim Gift Aid for the first time. For example, a group that usually charges for lessons, but is now taking donations for on-line sessions. Sayer Vincent have a helpful ‘beginner’s guide’ to Gift Aid here
Insurers ‘hold secret talks’ on £100m fund to help charities
Sky News claim that the chairs of major insurance companies including Aviva, Hiscox and RSA have floated the idea during discussions in recent weeks, and the Association of British Insurers, the industry body, has been involved. According to the broadcaster, the objective of the new fund would be to donate sums to smaller charities that have been brought to the brink of collapse by the pandemic. [My breath is bated]
Megan Hann has written a great blog for School for Social Enterpreneurs on “5 Reasons why now is a good time to consider crowdfunding” [I was initially skeptical, but I have to admit that she really does have a point, 5 in fact]. And for those in Winchester District or Solent area, there are two funding schemes that can lever in extra funds for your Crowdfunding campaign.
Volunteering interest has declined but donating intention doubles
A poll of 10,000 British people conducted by YouGov found that the number of British people interested in face-to-face volunteering during the coronavirus pandemic declined in April, but those interested in making financial donations to charities doubled.
Grassroots radio boosted through community fund
The government has announced that the £400,000 Community Radio Fund administered by Ofcom will be used to provide a lifeline for radio stations hit hardest by the coronavirus. Relevant stations will be invited to bid for emergency grants through Ofcom to help meet their core costs. Community radio stations can receive further guidance and information from Ofcom
Healthwatch Eye and Ears
Healthwatch Hampshire are asking you to tell them about people’s experiences of health and social care services at this difficult time. “We don’t want to add more work to everything you are already doing, but if people are talking about or expressing concerns about health and social care services please encourage them to get in touch with us and provide feedback. We will use the feedback to create change and improve services by sharing this with health and social care partners.”
Healthwatch would also like feedback on how the public are finding the new ways of working across health and social care e.g. different processes for appointment bookings, use of e-consult, and potentially video consultations. Has this actually improved things? They would love to hear from you, please get in touch or ask people in your community to contact them directly.
Edition 6 – Wednesday 29 April
Mental health support for frontline workers
Our Frontline offers round-the-clock one-to-one support, along with a collection of resources, tips and ideas chosen to support your mental health as you do your work to protect us all and keep the country going. Text FRONTLINE to 85258 for a text conversation or call 116 123 for a phone conversation – all in confidence, with a trained volunteer, at any time. The website also has lots of other resources that can support your emotional and mental wellbeing.
Dealing with harrowing conversations
Many services are currently supporting clients whose mental health is extremely fragile. The Zero Suicide Alliance has produced two online training packages which can support staff and volunteers with these conversations. The training can be accessed here
Think tank compiles data on coronavirus to help charities and funders
NPC says that a big challenge is to determine which people and places need extra support now, and which might need support as the crisis develops. This, it says, will become particularly pertinent when we start to see some of the economic factors of this crisis take effect. Its tables show the places that are suffering the most from Covid-19 and those where underlying health factors leave people facing most risk. Extract showing data for Hampshire
Leading through uncertainty
In his recent blog, Ben Cairns from IVAR (Institute for Voluntary Action Research) reviews the lessons learnt from the recession and austerity to see how they can be applied to dealing with the current crisis. Read his blog here
Community owned businesses
Plunkett Foundation is working with others to secure long term support and investment for community businesses. They are asking for feedback from community businesses – how has your thinking changed as a result of the current crisis? What new services, innovations, expansions is your community business planning or already operating? What does your community business want to do – and how might Plunkett help? Email or phone 01993 810730.
2.6 Challenge total passes £7m
The event established by a number of mass-participation events, designed to make up for some of the shortfall in donations caused by the cancellation of the London Marathon and other events, saw people all over the country take part in self-designed challenges themed around the figures 2 and 6. At time of writing the total raised stood at just over £7m, according to the 2.6 Challenge website.
DCMS Committee Hearing
On 22nd April, DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) held a session which covered financial support for charities.
NCVO have written an article about the session here, but the main points are:
- Charities are engaging with policymakers
- Charities working directly on coronavirus will be prioritised
- Charities will be expected to make use of reserves first
- Departmental funding is oversubscribed
- Some funding is on the way soon
- The government still wants other schemes and philanthropy to fill the gaps
Rural proofing lockdown
Jeremy Leggett, Rural Policy Adviser to ACRE, considers why all decisions to be made about exiting from lockdown and moving into the recovery phase need to be rural proofed to be most effective for everyone.
Rural Services Network
There is so much going on in our communities to provide support and encouragement to everyone who is either in self-isolation, in lockdown or working from home. The Rural Services Network wants to share these great local initiatives and would love to hear what is happening.
Edition 5 – Wednesday 22 April
Thank you and keep it coming… A message from Sue Dovey, our Chief Exec
I have found myself on a number of countywide groups that are addressing the Covid-19 crisis – a vulnerable people’s group, a food group, a logistics group, in addition to groups that feed information to national and government groups.
All of these groups are working their socks off to ensure that Hampshire’s most vulnerable people have access to support in this time of crisis. However, they are dealing with logistics, systems, supply chains etc.
What I am able to add is real experience of how these things are working, especially where unanticipated and unintended consequences become apparent.
The only reason I am able to make this contribution is because of the information that you are sending me. So thank you to Madeline for the information about guide dogs and social distancing; to Debbie for keeping me informed about food stocks in your local foodbank; to Jo for telling me about the closure of vital village shops; to Keith for telling me about the methadone scripts. Each piece of information illustrates the impact of this crisis on someone’s quality of life.
Keep the information coming, I am using it wherever and whenever I can. Please ring 07793 444971 or email and keep telling Sue about the realities of life on the ground. She wants to hear from as many people as possible. Thank you!
Charities at increased risk of fraud and cybercrime during pandemic
“All charities, but especially those providing services and supporting local communities during the coronavirus crisis, could be targeted by fraudsters,” the Charity Commission has said in an alert to the sector. Procurement fraud is one example – payment is made but no/substandard products are received. Other types of fraud to look out for include emails purporting to be from the chief executive with instructions to change account details or pay someone new, phishing emails and unsolicited offers of financial support.
Best charities to work for
The winners of the Third Sector “Best Charities to Work for 2020” have been announced. It was open to all charities with 15 or more employees. Top three were: Thirtyone:Eight, Designability and ReachOut
Key themes of the top 15 charities:
- encouraging activities to create strong teams and foster good personal relationships.
- Good leadership and strategic planning – staff have confidence in their organisation’s leadership and understand the long-term strategy.
- Basics of pay and conditions – staff are satisfied with the organisation’s benefits scheme.
- Staff are supported to advance their careers.
- Employees of small or medium sized charities seem to be happiest. Only one of the 15 winning organisations employs more than 100 staff.
9 of the top 15 are London based charities, but we have one of the winners is our midst. The Brain Tumour Charity in Farnborough, Hampshire came in at number 11. Congratulations!
How can we capitalise on the upsurge in volunteering?
Policy fellow from the Kings Fund Helen Gilburt writes that “In the moment, the willingness of so many to step forward and volunteer has to be seen as a silver lining, but winning the race and turning this into a lasting legacy will require organisations to see volunteers as more than a resource. Importantly, they will need to consider the balance between people and services in need of volunteers and the needs of volunteers themselves, and to ensure that we invest in capacity, capability and flexibility to incorporate those needs in our communities as we seek to find our way forward post-Covid-19.”
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance hub
The Charity Tax Group have detailed guidance on their website for those wishing to reclaim staff costs. For example, they say that “applications need to be completed in one session and will time out after 30 minutes of inactivity. Also there will be no e-mail confirmation so take a screenshot/print the confirmation and make sure you retain calculation information in case HMRC needs to review it in future”.
Practical relaxations to the operation of Retail Gift Aid
Many charities have now closed the offices in which Gift Aid claims are processed and are now working remotely. With Gift Aid claims due to be processed in April 2020, this has presented charities operating Retail Gift Aid Standard Method with several problems. The Charity Tax Group has guidance on its website about temporary relaxation of rules.
Virgin Money Giving
The fundraising platform is waiving its 2% platform fee for charities during the lockdown period. Charities (or donors) will still need to pay the 2.5% payment processing fee.
Edition 4 – Wednesday 15 April
Financial package for charities
On Wednesday last week, the Chancellor announced £750m in new funding for charities.
After a month of urging the Treasury to create a financial package for the sector, charities welcomed the announcement but said it will not be enough and called on the Treasury to keep the funding under review.
The £750m will be new money, separate from the £300m which the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) announced on 27th March. But it is important to note that the money is very much targeted at charities responding to the current crisis. That is of course right and proper, but it won’t help those whose viability is affected by the crisis. A stark contrast to what has been done for profit making organisations in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors.
£370m is due to go to small and medium-sized charities, channelled through the NLCF and other funds. It will support locally-focused charities doing most during the outbreak – such as delivering food and medicines and providing financial advice.
Another £360m will be allocated by government departments to charities providing essential services and supporting people during the crisis. Out of this:
- up to £200m will support hospices
- funding is specifically allocated to St John Ambulance to support the NHS and Citizens Advice to allow more staff to provide advice.
The announcement also singled out vulnerable children’s charities delivering local services and victims’ charities, including domestic abuse, to help address rising demand. It’s not clear how much flexibility there will be for other types of need – disability charities are an obvious example – and more clarity is needed on that.
The government will also match public donations to the BBC’s Big Night In charity appeal, with a minimum donation of £20m to the National Emergencies Trust.
Karl Wilding, chief executive of NCVO, said: “Today’s announcement is an important first step, though it will not be enough to prevent good charities around the country from closing their doors. Even many that survive will look very different in a few months’ time, with a severely reduced capacity to provide the support that people rely on.”
Charities fail to claim £600m in Gift Aid each year and we now need that money more than ever. Unlike funding bids, as long as you qualify, the money is certain. There are different types. Are your claiming everything you’re entitled to? This Charity Excellence resource will give you what you need to get yours.
Charity SORP News
The SORP-making body has published guidance for trustees and preparers of charity accounts, looking at the potential impact of COVID-19 on financial reporting by charities.
Implications of COVID-19 control measures and charity financial reporting: PDF | Microsoft Word
Edition 3 – Wednesday 8 April
Key issues Trustees should consider
Gatenby Sanderson has pulled together a seven-point checklist of the key issues trustees should consider to ensure they offer the best support to their organisation.
FREE HR helpline
Croner’s free HR helpline is now available for all voluntary sector organisations. Call 0844 561 8133 and state the name of your organisation.
Your organisation and Coronavirus
Information to help you protect your staff, volunteers and beneficiaries, and plan for financial and other impacts on your organisation.
Edition 2 – Wednesday 1 April
DSC has urged funders to ‘support core costs and be flexible’
DSC has addressed funders in an open letter, detailing how to best support charities at this time. Among “10 things foundation trustees and other funders should do now”, DSC lists supporting core costs, being flexible about reporting, speeding up application processes for emergency funding, removing funding restrictions and responding to cash flow issues. “By being a good grant-giving trustee – show you get it. Break some rules and chuck some conventions away. Take a few well-calculated risks. There are bigger considerations here than grant monitoring and reporting, KPIs and outcomes metrics.”
Funders pledge flexibility and support to grantees
249 funders (so far) have signed a statement published by London Funders pledging to offer flexibility and support to grantees during the crisis. Click here to see who the signatories are and how they have agreed to support grantees.
Are you a Chief Executive or senior leader in need of a friendly and confidential chat?
Our Chief Executive Sue Dovey would be very happy to have a (virtual) drink with you down the (virtual) pub. Whether you want a rant or a weep, contact Sue and she’ll be happy to listen (and then forget). Ring Sue on 07793 444971 or you can email e-mail. Our job is to support you!
Edition 1 – Thursday 26 March
The Institute of Fundraising have published guidance on how to approach individual giving against the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak.
Reporting accounts and finances
The Charity SORP has issued updated guidance about what and how to report. Full guidance from the Charity Commission is here
Some key questions that trustees should consider when thinking about how best to support their organisations:
- Do we have, or need to develop a plan which:
– sets out the potential risks and explores different scenarios
– identifies responses to manage these risks
-gives authority to staff or individual trustees to make key tactical decisions quickly
– sets out a clear line of authority and decision making in the case of absence
- Can we refocus our efforts and activities, in line with our charitable purpose, to respond to coronavirus?
- What are our most essential operations and services? How could we continue to operate these in the event of isolation or staff absences?
- What organisations can we partner with to continue to deliver services or provide new support?
- What extra flexibility or support might employees, volunteers and beneficiaries need at this time and how can we communicate with them?
- What immediate actions do we need to take to manage our finances – considering cash flow and increased contingency costs?
- Can we speak to funders about the impact of cancelling, delaying project activities, or even in repurposing funds?
- How can the board and staff team utilise technology to continue to meet and make decisions if we cannot meet in person?
- How might this impact on our corporate decision making, audits and filing deadlines as well as meetings such as AGM’s?