What do you do when your lottery funding stops?

Featured

Or Is sustainability an urban myth?

There is no doubt that lottery funding has revolutionised how organisations are funded across the country, and that it has supported countless good causes. (Why not see what they have funded in your area on 360 giving). But what happens when your lottery funding runs out?

NCVO state that of the £50billion funding that comes into the sector in a year the lottery is responsible for 1% of this, so given the number of organisations that rely on this funding it is a surprisingly small amount. I have not analysed who is funded but this article concentrates on those organisations with incomes between £10K and £1million, that make up just under half the sector.

On the whole these organisations are relying on paid staff as well as volunteers to deliver predominantly local projects. Organisations work across the whole range of issues and causes that charities cover, and unfortunately NCVO research shows that these organisations have been disproportionately impacted by austerity, seeing income drop especially from statutory sources but also in other areas.

Apart from the biggest most of these organisations will not have a fundraiser, or, if they are lucky, they may have a part time fundraiser. Otherwise fundraising falls to other staff and to volunteers or trustees.

So, when these organisations get a three-year Reaching Communities grant, they breathe a sigh of relief and start concentrating on delivering services that make a difference. This funding will often cover the bulk of the programme that is being delivered. It will ensure a vital service continues and the organisation has a (by our terms) long term future. These days the money may also come with a Building Capabilities grant to improve how the organisation works and their sustainability.

But what happens when the funding starts to reach its end? How is this money replaced? What does sustainability mean?

If groups are very, very lucky they may get a second round of lottery funding, but this puts off the problem for another three years or so. But if this is not the case how do groups replace a single significant grant.

Earn your income. According to NCVO the biggest amount of money coming into the sector is from earnt income. This could be from selling services or a charity shop or from contracts. This is not long term income unless you are lucky to be able to get a contract which in the current climate is getting harder for small organisations. Couple this with the fact that many of these organisations are delivering to individuals and communities that can not afford to pay, earning significant income is not going to be a big source of new money. And to be fair the organisation was probably already maximising this to top up their lottery funding!

We have heard of groups being advised to try Social finance, but let’s get real this is a niche funding stream that the vast majority of organisations in this size range will not be able to access even if the trustees have reached the ‘we will try anything’ point to keep the organisation afloat. You can read one take on Social Impact Bonds here

Corporate sponsorship. If I had a pound for everyone that came to CCVS with the idea that this was going to solve their funding issues we could return all our grants! This is not a panacea as business does not have lots of free cash they are waiting to give to worthy causes. Building better relationships with business is extremely positive, many organisations benefit from financial and other support, but this type of fundraising takes time and energy. If you want to look at how business can help there are ways but it is more than simply sending them a well written email.

The public is the biggest external funder of the sector. But most of these organisations do not have the expertise, staff, or time to fund themselves in this way. Raising money from donations or legacies is time consuming. As technology moves on many organisations do not have the wherewithal to collect as much as they did in the past. Even in my local sandwich shop most people pay by card which means less change going into the collection tin on the counter. Fundraising from the public takes time and effort and you need to invest to make it happen. Maybe those organisations who get Building Capabilities funding should include investing in the skills and the technology to facilitate and grow this type of funding.

Statutory grants and commissions. This was a way many organisations were funded in the past but we are seeing grant levels going down, commissions getting bigger and services being taken inhouse. https://neweconomics.org/uploads/files/NEF_Local_Government_Austerity_2019.pdf. The truth is they are not in the money so neither are we.

This leaves the staple for many of these organisations, grant funding! But many of these are for small amounts, often they want to fund something new and anything more than one years funding is unusual. We regularly see organisations trying to raise money this way. It didn’t take long to find a local group getting money from 45 different funders to find the £180K needed to run. The time and effort to apply and report to these is phenomenal and it has to be repeated year in year out. No wonder we are seeing burn out, organisations cutting projects and organisations closing.

What is sustainability in the real world. It is something we aspire to, something we pay lip service to because we have to, or something we can only dream about? How many of us are one funding decision away from partial or total collapse? People want our services, so do the professionals, it is not the need that is the issue it is the expectation that we will be there to deliver whatever. How much energy in the sector is wasted in getting the money and reporting and measuring? Energy that would be better used in delivering solutions and solving problems. Pretty much every organisation has the most senior person in the building not actually delivering services but filling in forms and writing reports.

What is the answer?

We need multi year grants from all providers three years minimum, 5 is better.

We need all funders to stop demanding their own reports. Organisations do financial reporting for trustees, they should also be reporting on activities and impact. Let us tell you as funders what we are already reporting and only ask for something different if you desperately need it.

We need more standardisation across how we apply for funds. This is the CV vs application form debate. If organisations have written project plans with budgets, needs analysis, outcomes etc. there should be an easy way to apply using them along with a covering letter about how you meet the funders particular priorities.

We need funding to enable small charities to catch up digitally and technologically with bigger charities in order to allow them to raise funds more effectively.

We need a long term, high profile campaign to change the narrative about charities so that the public recognise charities as the majority and not the minority of mega charities. That way they will think about smaller local organisations when they fundraise, donate or leave a legacy.

We need to reverse cuts to local government and other statutory services and ensure that they are funding local services and groups.

We need the HNS and local Clinical Commissioning groups to put their money where their mouth is about the importance of non-clinical and preventative services. We need to start to fund this to save money in the future.

We have to address inequality as a country in order to reduce its impact on people across all aspects of their lives.

Lottery funding is fantastic (if you are reading this we could do with some here at CCVS) but with it comes the inevitable cliff edge of what happens when it runs out. Fundraising is taking more time, energy, and resources away from delivering solutions. This is especially true in the smaller organisations who have been most impacted by austerity and reductions to income. We really need to address this or more organisations will be forced to close projects or simply cease to exist.

Advertisements

“They heard me… but they listened to you”

Featured

Some wise words from Julia Campbell.

Julia is one of my favorite experts. Despite the fact that she is from ‘across the pond’, and despite the fact that we do very little non grant funding it is worth signing up for her emails etc. The reason for this is because she is fantastic in helping you think about how you communicate and how you tell your story, and whilst these skills are often seen as being those of a great fundraiser I think they should be skills everyone working or volunteering for a small charity or community group should be looking to improve. Check out her website here.

This was the introduction to one of her recent email newsletters, and I love it!

Have you watched the fantastic HBO show Chernobyl?

In the last episode (no spoilers), one of the characters says to another, regarding their influence during the disaster:

“They heard me… but they listened to you.”

One was a scientist, who had all the data, info, and hard facts to back up his hypothesis about the explosion that caused the tragedy.

They heard him, they processed all the facts that he relayed to them patiently, somewhat in disbelief.

One was a career government man, but one of integrity, one that people felt good about listening to.

He carried the weight of trust and credibility, and people literally went into the fire for him.

This reminds me of the famous Maya Angelou quote:

Maya Angelou

You need statistics and data to demonstrate that there is a problem, that it is urgent, and that it needs to be solved.

You need information and education to be seen as credible, and to build trust with your audience.

But if people don’t feel GOOD about the person telling the story, about the people delivering the message, it won’t resonate, and it won’t change hearts and minds.

The truth of human nature is that we trust our guts much more than our heads.

Getting people to pay attention is challenging.

But attention can be manipulated, through irrelevant but eye-catching imagery, click-bait headlines, and other unsavory digital practices that steal attention and interrupt and annoy people.

While getting attention may seem like an uphill battle, it can be purchased, stolen, or exploited.

However, getting people to CARE – that’s much more difficult.

In all of our communications, we need to aim to go deeper than just a click, or a like, or a view.

Attention is great. But action is better.

How are you working not only to get people to hear you, but to listen?

Julia Campbell https://jcsocialmarketing.com/

I suggest you check out Julia’s website sign up to her emails and follow her on twitter @JuliaCSocial or on your social media platform of choice.

And before you ask, no she hasn’t paid me!

Struggling to recruit volunteers, it may be your fault!

Featured

If CCVS had a pound for every group we hear about who are struggling to find volunteers then we would be rich (or at least have a much lower fundraising target)!

As the local support organisation for the sector we get many calls from groups looking for new volunteers or new trustees. I covered some of the issues with trustee recruitment in a previous blog and in this blog I am looking at volunteering.

One of the scariest slides I use when talking about volunteering is from NCVO via the Third Sector Research Centre and this states that 9% of the population are responsible for just over half of formal volunteering. 9% of the Cambridgeshire population equates to 58,340 people which sounds a lot but is only 17 people per square kilometre, so this means those committed volunteers are pretty spread out. I am sure many in the sector will recognise that ‘serial volunteer’ in their community, and in fact my experience is that many who work in the sector are those serial volunteers.

The NCVO research into Volunteering, Time Well Spent, shows that 7 in 10 of us have volunteered at some time in our lives, but only 40% have done so in the last 12 months, and only 7% see volunteering as something that has consistently run through their lives. It also shows that older people are more likely to have volunteered recently, and that those in the higher social classes are more likely to volunteer.

We know we need more volunteers; we also know that people’s lives are changing. And yet are we as organisations changing our volunteering offer and what we are asking of them? All the surveys show that people do have free time, but we are competing with many new distractions and leisure opportunities that take people away from volunteering.

This gets me to the heart of what I think is the issue. I think that some of the problem, and perhaps most of the problem, with the lack of volunteers lies with us, the people looking to engage them and get them on board. I think we have to change two key things. This won’t be easy; it won’t be the same for everyone; and it may mean we have to compromise a bit on what we do.

We have to change how we ask people to volunteer.

Time well spent showed that 35% of people who had never volunteered had not been asked or had not thought about it. This is a ringing indictment of the sector. We need to be asking more people to volunteer, we need to be making this ask engaging, and we need to ensure that the ask stands out from all the other messages people receive.

There are any number of great volunteer recruitment ads doing the rounds. For me they need to concentrate on the impact the volunteer will have or the difference they will make. They need to engage and draw interest so there has to be an eye-catching photo or strapline. An advert should give the basic information about where and what the opportunity is about. There needs to be somewhere for the volunteer to go for more information – a website, the other side of the leaflet, a phone number.

Initially you need to make sure you have grabbed the attention of your audience; this means that you need to know the audience and what will grab their attention. You probably need a series of adverts and asks that appeal to different groups. You will have to invest some time and thought into this. The scout and guide movement have done this, check out some of these images.

I have collected some examples in this Pinterest board but to be honest there are probably more bad examples than good out there, and what I find engaging will not be engaging for everyone. Get creative and understand your audience.

We are not offering the right things

For too long we have had a Henry Ford approach to volunteering offers “You can have any colour as long as it is Black.” In other words organisations develop and define the volunteering opportunity they want, then try and recruit to it. Too often this does not fit with how people want to volunteer or what they are able to commit to. If we are doing this then no wonder we find recruiting hard work. People want to enjoy their volunteering, not feel guilty that they have missed a session.

I volunteer for Junior Parkrun as my youngest enjoys running it. But with young kids and a busy life we do not go every week, so we are probably at 60% of the runs. Luckily the way that Parkrun manage volunteering if I don’t turn up then the run still happens. There is a flexibility that suits me. This may mean a little extra work for those volunteers that organise the runs (and who do have to commit more), but if I had to commit to being there every week, I wouldn’t be able to and I would not volunteer at all!

What I am saying is that organisations have to think about how people want to, and are able to, volunteer and design the volunteering around that. That does not mean that volunteers can mess organisations around. If you have made a commitment it is important that you keep it, as in those weeks where I have signed up to volunteer but on waking up and seeing the rain my daughter decides she is not running – I still turn out and don’t just ‘not bother’.

I understand that in some settings it is important for clients to see people they know so volunteers have to be a bit more consistent, but there are ways of sharing a role or organising an organisations volunteering opportunities so there are a variety of roles that require different commitment levels – this is what the Parkrun model has done.

There are examples of organisations that run regular events like Parkrun but with a different volunteer team each time. Foodcycle https://www.foodcycle.org.uk/ is one, every week they put on meals using volunteers who sign on when they can and for roles they are interested in.  There are systems being developed to help manage this, one example of which comes from the museums sector.

If our volunteering opportunities do not reflect the lifestyle and availability of the potential volunteers then we will struggle to recruit. Similarly if we do not support and train our volunteers and make the activity enjoyable then we will not retain our volunteers. It is up to us to adapt to what potential volunteers want and not expect them to adapt to us. If we do not change potential volunteers will decide to re-watch Game of Thrones, or go for a run, or pop to the pub or do any one of the things people choose to do with their free time.

To Conclude

If 70% of the population have volunteered at some stage, and half of those who have never volunteered are prepared to give it a try that is a lot of potential volunteers.

We need to reach out to the lapsed volunteers and those that have never tried it. We need to ensure that volunteering is fun and flexible as well as rewarding and impactful. We need to create volunteering opportunities that fit with the lifestyles of those we are looking to attract, and adverts that make opportunities stand out.

If you want to get more information on all aspects on Recruiting and retaining volunteers then keep an eye on our training pages we also have a few tips on the website.

Who would be a trustee or committee member?

Featured


Attribution: Alpha Stock Images – http://alphastockimages.com/
Original Author: Nick Youngson – http://www.nyphotographic.com/
Original Image: http://www.thebluediamondgallery.com/wooden-tile/t/trustee.html

If you ask many small charities and groups, the answer to the above question is “not enough people”. If you ask most members of the public, they would probably look at you blankly and ask what a trustee does. Almost nobody volunteers for a charity because of the quality and excitement of their trustee meetings. People get involved because it is a cause, an organisation, a mission they are passionate about; people want to make a difference by doing, campaigning, interacting and not by meeting to check the safeguarding policy is up to date or the annual returns have been posted! Too often trustees are press-ganged into the role, I have lost count of the number of trustees I have met over the years who were dedicated supporters and/or volunteers of a charity and have been co-opted (coerced) onto the board because there was a need for more bodies.

Lots has been written about diversity on boards and this is something that should be encouraged, but too often the reality for most charities is that ‘we will take anyone who offers’. I know any number of charities who are so desperate for a treasurer they would happily accept the Count from Sesame Street as at least he understands numbers. Sometimes diversity or skills are less important than warm bodies who will turn up. We need to think about how smaller groups can turn this around given that there is no budget, and that there is less kudos and more work in small organisations, often trustees have to take on the day to day management tasks as there are not the staff or volunteers to do this. Arguably the role of say the secretary in a small organisation with a £50,000 turnover is more time consuming than it is in a multi-million pound one. In the small organisation you are doing it all, in the larger one you are checking that someone has done ‘it’.

Without a doubt a diverse, highly skilled, and well recruited trustee board is a positive benefit to an organisation. There are lots of people thinking about this at the moment, but I wonder how many will do so in a practical way for small organisations. How much of the advice will take into account the reality of working in rural or more deprived communities?

Recently Susan Elan Jones, the Labour MP for Clwyd South and co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Charities and Volunteering introduced a 10 minute bill that has passed the first stage in parliament. This would add trustees to the list of activities that organisations have to give employees reasonable time off to attend, putting trustees on a par with councillors, magistrates and school governors. This is a good thing but there has been a recent issue with these bills making it through the parliamentary process. And anyway parliament seem to be obsessed with something else at the moment! – We can hope this is successful and you can find out more in this article.

If we assume that this happens will it help our small groups? Yes but …. What is reasonable time off? What does it mean to smaller local firms who may employ the local trustees? What does it mean for those in low income or temporary work who may be the trustees of the grassroots organisations? Will this mean more trustees for small local charities?

Should we pay them

My answer is and always will be no. This may seem idealistic but if you start paying people then motivations change and so does the whole ethos of charities IMHO. So, no payment but let’s be better about expenses. Encourage people to take them, if all do it, it won’t make that person who does need to take them feel stigmatised. If those that don’t need them donate the money back to the charity or another charity great, and we can claim gift aid, so great with a perk! Also remember expenses might include paying for child care or to overcome other barriers to coming out like a carer or interpreter. We all say we pay expenses but how many of us are doing it as no one has asked?

Open recruitment will make us more diverse.

That is what the research says, and I have to agree. But (and there is always a but), how practical is this for small groups with no budget and little experience. Luckily there are lots of resources available including a new guide from Getting on Board called ‘How to recruit trustees for your charity’ This has lots of advice that builds on the ‘Taken on Trust’ research. This included work to support 30 charities to recruit new trustees of which 74% were successful. Whilst this is great if only ¾ were successful when given significant help and support then it shows how difficult it can be for small organisations.

CCVS is there to offer some support so do contact us if you need help, but you have to sell your organisation and the role! Few organisations do advertise, and when they do it is generally in the free places where they are appealing to the ‘usual suspects’. By putting your advert on Reach or on Do-It, or for that matter on the CCVS website, you are advertising to people who are engaged. By advertising on social media, you are competing with all the other noise. This is a start but if you are looking to diversify your board you are going to have to invest time, energy and resources into this then. Use the above guide to try and get it as perfect as possible and be creative with your ad and where you place it..

Why do no diverse people come forward when we advertise?

There is an issue about diversity on boards. The Charity Commission has been (unhelpfully) highlighting this for a while. I am pretty sure that most of those working in the sector are aware of this. Unfortunately, open recruitment will not solve this alone. We need to address some fundamental issues which stem from the ‘that’s not for the likes of me’ syndrome. We need to look at any issues that exist about why some people do not see themselves as trustees. We need to look at why those from the working class or those from lower income groups do not see them selves as trustees. We need to address why there are fewer people from BAME communities who are trustees. We need to think why young people are not becoming trustees. We need to spread the word that trusteeship is about them, that they do have skills, insights and experiences that are important, we need to highlight the things that people can gain from being a trustee (there is a whole blog about what I have gained from it, but do check out this). If whole sections of the community do not see themselves as potential trustees no amount of open advertising is going to improve things.

So what can we do?

I think that there is a disconnect in the advice and the reality for small charities (those with an income below £100K). I also think that there is more that we as a sector can do, and more that we as a local support organisation can do.

  • We see many adverts that list the skills needs for trustees as HR, finance, management, social media etc. and less that stress the need for commitment, passion, interest, lived experience. We need to get better at appealing to a wider group of people, we have to work to write better adverts.
  • We need to find ways to make more people see themselves as trustees. This means that groups working with these individuals need to look at how we educate and inform people that charities want them.
  • We need to find funders that will fund grassroots programmes to provide advice, support and training to get more people to become trustees.
  • Charities have to want diverse boards and not just say they do. Often boards become ‘clubs’ and this is very off putting if you do not naturally fit in. It is important that all organisations look for new ideas and disrupters, and are able to engage with and encourage the change that they bring.
  • We need to think where we are advertising and not simply use the usual channels, and this is where open recruitment needs to be better – if we have an advert that appeals to a certain group, we need to put it in front of that group.
  • We need to put in place appropriate training and support for new trustees. This has to be from infrastructure organisations and also from the trustee’s own organisation. We need to make this support and training flexible and appropriate to trustees from all backgrounds.
  • We need to be better at articulating both the difference that trustees make and the personal benefits that being a trustee brings. Many volunteering opportunities are couched in this way and sometimes it feels that trustees are looked at differently than volunteers when in fact it is simply one form of volunteering.
  • We need to make our meetings accessible to different people, this means looking at the times and venues but also at the use of technology and how we structure meetings.

Without trustees the sector grinds to a halt, yet for many small groups getting trustees is an ongoing struggle. We need investment that will both help the groups look in new places as they recruit, and will also help more people to see themselves as potential trustees. We need good quality advice, support and training for new and existing trustees to ensure they are kept informed and up to date with best practice and legislation. We need everyone, including the Charity Commission, promoting the fantastic work charities do and how trustees contribute to this.

What I need to move my charity forward and be the best it can is someone committed and passionate about our vision. I can’t teach that, I can teach a bit of charity law, or finance or strategic planning.

Advert to a page to find out more about being a trustee on the CCVS website
Advert to Duties of trustees training to be held on 30th April in Cambridge

An Asset Based Approach to Health – the 3 things you should know about social prescribing

Some interesting thoughts and insights into social prescribing.
The what it is and what it isn’t table is something we will use.
We still believe that if it is to work then service providers need to be paid full costs of each referral, and minimum number guarantees need to be in place to ensure that groups can continue.
We also believe that scaling up is not something that sits with local grassroots delivery, but that sharing practice can be liberating and exciting, as can partnership.

Becky Malby

The Asset-Based Health Inquiry launches this week, investigating how best to develop social prescribing. You may have read previous blogs here on how best to collaborate with communities – ‘Them and Us” about the power of citizen leadership; ‘Primary Care and Scale – who should we be collaborating with?’ setting out the need to build out from communities not artificially mandate a scale for working with populations that doesn’t recognise existing community identities.

The report intends to shed light on the amazing work that is
already happening. Perhaps the best advice we can give is this:

  1. Don’t add Social Prescribing on as another project. There are real people making real connections in the community, and health teams already partnering with communities – start there. Learn from them, grow and spread their approach. We met example after example of great work happening. It might not be…

View original post 647 more words

The NHS won’t achieve the mental health revolution without the support of small charities

A great blog from Lloyds Foundation

Lloyds Bank Foundation Blog

Claire Murdoch, NHS National Director for Mental Health, shares her vision for the future of mental health – a future in which the NHS and local partners work hand in hand to ensure people with mental health issues get the best care possible, as close to home as possible.

DSC_0096_Edited 2

Over 35 years I have had the privilege of working with so many impressive people and organisations dedicating their time and energy to making a difference to the lives of people with mental health issues. I have seen how small charities have been fighting against stigma, loneliness and lack of resources for decades. Today, I am so proud of the mental health revolution we are conducting together throughout England – a revolution that wouldn’t have happened without the support of our partners working tirelessly on the ground. On World Mental Health Day, I want to pay tribute to their dedication and…

View original post 467 more words

More Hallmark successes to celebrate!

Some great news from our partners at Cambridgeshire ACRE who have helped two more village halls achieve the Hallmark status.

Cambridgeshire ACRE's Community Buildings Service

At Cambridgeshire ACRE’s AGM yesterday we celebrated two more halls achieving their Hallmark accreditation. The certificates were presented by our President Sir Hugh Duberly and Vice-President Right Reverend Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely.

Trustees from Fowlmere Village Hall

Fowlmere Village Hall achieved not only Hallmark 2 but also Hallmark 3! They are the second hall in the county to achieve the top level in Hallmark. Our congratulation to the management committee who have worked incredibly hard over the last few months to achieve both levels in such a short space of time.

Trustees from Little Gransden Village Hall

Little Gransden Village Hall achieved Hallmark 2 and our congratulations goes to the trustees of this charity. It has been a busy year for Little Gransden Village Hall who are just completing an extension to their building. The trustees are planning to complete level 3 of Hallmark over the next few months…

View original post 235 more words

Little Gransden celebrate success

Great celebration video from Cambridgeshire ACRE

Cambridgeshire ACRE's Community Buildings Service

Trevor and Sue discuss with Lisa how they are delivering improvements to their hall.

On a recent visit to Little Gransden Village Hall I met with charity trustees Sue (Chairman) and Trevor (lead trustee for buildings and maintenance). They showed me the committee’s latest project and I was also pleased to hear from them about their experiences of taking part in the Hallmark accreditation scheme. Please take a look at this short film of our visit.

If you would like to know more about Hallmark or any of the other Support Cambridgeshire services we offer with our partners please get in touch with me Lisa Chambers by clicking the link or giving me a ring on 01353 865048

Support Cambridgeshire is a partnership of three community based organisations, Hunts Forum of Voluntary Organisations, Cambridge CVS and Cambridgeshire ACRE.

Support Cambridgeshire is funded by Cambridgeshire County Council. For more information please…

View original post 10 more words