Just over a week left


Ok what happened to February, even with a whole extra day I must have missed it, and on the same vein how did my daughters reach five and seven.

 They say time flies when you are enjoying yourself so I must really like my job. March is upon us and there is only a few days left to take the Cambridgeshire VCS survey. Whilst we recognise that this takes up your valuable time we really appreciate the information that it gives us. Not only does it help us develop the services that you want but it also helps us demonstrate our impact to our funders. In these times of austerity the better we are able to show how work benefits organisations and improves their outcomes the easier it is for us to argue for continued funding.

We would be the first to stop doing what we are doing if we did not believe it makes a difference. Feedback we get back tells us the importance of having an organisation like CCVS around in times of crisis, there to provide support and direction to all those that make such a difference to communities.

So if you haven’t taken our survey please do by clicking here and forward the link to anyone else you know who is involved in a voluntary organisation or community group in Cambridgeshire.

 survey 2016 button



Four reasons why I always complete surveys


I can safely say that I have never won a prize for completing a survey, but whether you offer an incentive or not I will complete your survey as long as it is relevant. I do this in the misplaced belief that it will increase my karma and that in return I will get more responses back from the surveys I send out.survey 2016 button

So first of all please complete our latest survey. There is a link at the end of this blog. (Or if you don’t want to read on click on the box).

Why am I a survey pushover then?

  1. As the author of surveys I feel your pain. I understand that you have sent out a request for people to give you their opinions for a reason. No one goes to the effort of designing and publishing a survey unless they want some information that will help them, their customers or in the case of charities their funders. As such I want to be able to help you achieve the aims of your survey by being as helpful as possible. If you are the sort of person who wakes up and simply thinks ‘I will design a survey, test it and send it out for no apparent reason’ then stop, get a life, and go out and find a volunteering opportunity.
  2. My opinion is important and generally right. Those who know me will probably agree that I am not backwards about coming forwards. The truth is you do need to add your voice to the crowd if you want to see the changes made to the world that you think are important. There are those that decry the rise in clicktivism or slacktivism that is typified by online petition sites like change.org or the UK government site. I think that they have a place in raising awareness and giving people an outlet to show their views. They are also an interesting window on public thought. The top three petitions on the Govt site at time of writing were

    1.    Block Donald J Trump from UK entry 578,388 signatures

    2.    Stop all immigration and close the UK borders until ISIS is defeated. 459,845 signatures

    3.    Accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the UK. 449,827 signatures

  3. Data is important. More and more we are being asked to justify our existence, to demonstrate need and to show user involvement. A good survey does all these things and so much more. This survey is a constant source of reference for me. I use parts of it when filling in funding applications. I use parts of it on funding reports, in annual reports and in our annual review. We use the survey results to determine the services and training we look to provide. We use the results to back up arguments in meetings we attend. We use the report to raise awareness of our work and the work of the wider sector. I would encourage everyone to do this type of survey to address their organisational needs (apart from the fact that if everyone did I would have even less time to do the rest of my job).
  4. Karma. What goes around comes around. I have given my time now people will give theirs.

For me the Annual survey of the Cambridgeshire Voluntary and Community Sector is one of the most important things we do each year. This year we are looking to nearly double the responses to give an even richer picture of the sector in the county. We are hoping to build on the work of previous years and include further information and opinion in the survey report to ensure that the work of the sector can grow and prosper. We are hoping to use the results to guarantee our funding as well as the funding that is available locally for everyone.

So please do sit down, find ten minutes and work your way to the end of the survey. There are no prizes but we will be very grateful and you will increase your karma if you ever send out a survey of your own.

You can complete the Annual survey of the Cambridgeshire voluntary and community sector 2016 here.

The First £1.5 billion – and what it tells us

An interesting look at social investment.

Nick Temple

Gritty with quote_1As one (tough) financial year passes, and another (as tough) begins, it feels like a useful time to delve into the sector’s finances more broadly. More specifically, to take a look at Big Society Capital’s report on the Size and Composition of Social Investment in the UK, released a couple of weeks back. (NB – the report was Matt Robinson’s swansong at BSC, as he leaves for international development pastures – he’ll be missed as a clear, reasoned, and principled voice).

The headlines are impressive: £1.5bn worth of social investment (that’s the total value at the end of 2015, not deals done in the past year). Dealflow in the year c. £430m (which is up from the £200m figure reported two or three years back) demonstrating 20% growth or thereabouts. And some evidence of a shift from secured lending to more unsecured lending and different types of products.


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