Removing Barriers to volunteering

By Chris Trevorrow. June 2022.

Our Volunteering for All project, supported by Cambridge City Council, works to reduce the barriers many people experience in accessing volunteering.  At a recent workshop we shared some of what we have learned from this work and pulled in best practice from providers from around the world[1]

  • A significant proportion of the population experience barriers to volunteering; we tend to think of barriers relating to those with physical impairments, but others affected include people with mental ill health, neurodivergent individuals, people from different cultures, people with criminal records, people with caring responsibilities and those unable to afford the time or the associated expense of volunteering.
  • In addition to physical barriers people can face psychological and organisational barriers.  People might have a fear of taking on something new in a different environment, they might fear rejection.  They might come up against unhelpful attitudes from existing staff and volunteers or a rigid inflexible approach to how things are done.
  • There are compelling reasons organisations should seek to be inclusive.  To meet their statutory responsibilities and deliver on their equality policies but also to widen the pool of talent, embrace the expertise of volunteers with lived experience and improve their own future sustainability.
  • Inclusive organisations have:
    • a welcoming and open culture
    • a clearly communicated equality policy
    • volunteer roles that offer flexibility and work with individual need
    • fair and open recruitment and management procedures
    • a zero tolerance of discrimination
    • a demographic that reflects the community they serve.
  • To be more inclusive here are a few things to think about:
    • How and where you advertise roles – could you extend your reach to where different groups of people will see your information?
    • Think about the language you use – is it plain English, would other languages be appropriate. could you offer information in another format such as video or an audio file?
    • Review your recruitment process and only include what is essential.  Think about creating entry level roles that allow people to develop.  If you need references can you ask for character references rather than from an employer, can you just ask for one reference rather that two?
    • Can you more flexible, review the length of shifts, can some tasks be undertaken at home, can people volunteer as a group or as a family?
    • Can you do more to communicate the environment people will volunteer in taking away the anxiety some may feel in going somewhere new, you might invite them on a visit or send a video or some photographs?
    • Can you provide information on transport or arrange lift shares?
    • Think about flexible ways to share information with volunteers, can you set up a system where people share information on the phone not just via email? Can you offer training or handbooks in different formats?

To find out more or discuss how to be more inclusive contact us on volunteer@cambridgecvs.org.uk and check out our Volunteering for All pages on our website.


[1] This includes Time well spent Diversity and Volunteering(NCVO 2020)

Tips for making a good funding application

by Chris Trevorrow. May 2022.

purple background. Jars of coins with plants growing out of them. CCVS logo. Making a Good funding application

1. Are you ready to apply?

Have you got a constitution and a management committee?

Do you have key policies, procedures and insurance in place?

 Are your accounts up to date?

 Have you submitted any outstanding reports to previous funders?

Do you have the permissions needed to undertake your project for example permission from your landlord for alterations to a building.

2. What are you applying for?

What beneficiary need are you meeting?

What outcomes and activities will you deliver?

Who will run things, and do they have the required skills and experience?

What do you want to spend the funders money on?

When will your activity take place?  Will the funder decide in time? Most funders will not fund something that has already happened.

3. Can you make a convincing case for support?:

What is the challenge?

Who is need and why?

What do those in need want?  Are your beneficiaries involved in developing your ideas?

Why is this the solution the one to back and why is your group best placed to do it?

4.    Can you provide evidence of need? For example,

Do you have credible up to date research?

Evidence of unmet need?

Letters of support?

5.    Is your budget realistic and offering value for money?  Does it add up correctly?

6.    Find potential funders

Who might fund your activity? Is it a good match for their stated priorities? Will they fund the items you are asking for? Will the timing of their decisions work for your project?

Search for funders using the Support Cambridgeshire 4 Community online funding portal

Check out funders own data on what and who they have funded via GrantNav

Search the accounts of similar charities to your own to see who funded them, you can find information on the Charity Commission register

Sign up to Support Cambridgeshire funding alerts

Contact CCVS for other ideas enquiries@cambridgecvs.org.uk

Successful fundraising – notes from our workshop

by Chris Trevorrow. April 2022.

‘Fundraising is the gentle art of teaching people the joy of giving’ Hank Rosso

Leading trends[1] in income generation for voluntary groups in 2022 include a continued reliance on digital even with the reintroduction of face to face and the hybrid approaches that accommodate both options.  Alongside this is the growth of peer-to-peer fundraising – think Captain Tom and all those who emulated him but with fewer zeros – and the need to continue to accommodate cashless donations even for face-to-face fundraisers. 

At the same time, we are entering tough economic times making it essential that voluntary groups develop a fundraising strategy, building a case for support which they can communicate and share with all their stakeholders and engage and retaining a strong supporter base.  A fundraising strategy pulls together information about your objectives and identifies what you need and how you’ll achieve it

A fundraising plan helps manage resources often using a calendar to map out key dates and deadlines both internal and external to an organisation.  In developing a plan, a group needs to consider the fundraising channels and tools that will work for them.

  • individual giving might involve an old-fashioned collection but with a cashless option.  There are a wide range of options using smart phones that don’t require a card reader  Pledjar donation app, QR codes eg Bopp, Give Star
  • Utilising donation functions on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram
  • Selecting the right gift giving platform to encourage your supporters to fundraise for you
  • Ensuring face to face events deliver a good return on resources and cost see Cabinet office guide to organising an event
  • Hybrid events can combine the best of in-person and digital by increasing participation, limiting environmental impact and being cost effective.  People might pay a premium for the inperson experience but others can also take part and donate if you live stream the event for example on Facebook

Successful fundraisers seek to build an ongoing dialogue with supporters, encouraging them to give by clearly communicating the difference the group makes to people in an engaging and motivating way.  They look to build the supporter relationship making connections and thanking them properly. 

Key factors in fundraising success:

  • Know your audience and what matters to them
  • Engage and inspire through stories
  • Create a sense of buy in before you make an ask
  • Make donation frictionless
  • Create a time limited campaign
  • Link to external events 
  • Thank supporters and share success
  • Make everyone in your organisation a fundraiser

If you would like to discuss fundraising with us, please get in touch at enquiries@cambridgecvs.org.uk


[1] Top Fundraising trends for 2022 Charity Digital

CIOF research trends

Congratulations to Camcycle who have announced accreditation as a Living Wage Employer.

By Lorna Gough. April 2022

Camcycle say:

We believe that our staff, including our interns, deserve a fair day’s pay for their efforts and want to support them to live and work locally in the community that they serve. We’d encourage other local businesses to do the same: the process is straightforward with helpful resources and a responsive team at the Living Wage Foundation should you need assistance.”

Did you know that CCVS is able to support your organisation through the accreditation process, and Cambridge City Council will fund the first year of the accreditation fee?

To find out more about what the Living Wage is, how to become accredited, and what that would mean for your organisation, read our previous blog.

Camcycle staff team with the Living Wage accreditation plaque.

The Charities Act 2022

A picture of the houses of parliament with the River Thames in front
Berit from Redhill/Surrey, UK, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Act received royal assent in February of this year. The Act is generally pretty mundane with no areas of real controversy. It is designed to bring in some of the recommendations from the 2017 Law Commission report into charity law  that will make things simpler for charities.

Thanks to the Law Commission for highlighting the following documents

The Charities Act, including Explanatory Notes, are available here.

A marked-up copy of the Charities Act 2011, showing the changes that are made by the Charities Act 2022) a “Keeling Schedule”) is available here (revised version as of 24 February 2022.

The changes brought about by the Act will not take practical effect immediately. We now have to wait for the Charity Commission to set out how it is going to implement the changes, they have published a blog about the process on their website. The upshot being that actual changes will only happen as the commission is able to implement them.

What is in the Act?

The charity commission highlight 5 key changes

  • charities and trustees will be able to amend their governing documents or Royal Charters more easily – remaining subject to the Commission and the Privy Council’s approval in certain circumstances
  • charities will have access to a much wider pool of professional advisors on land disposal, and to more straightforward rules on what advice they must receive, which could save them time and money when selling land
  • charities will have more flexibility to make use of a ‘permanent endowment’ – this is money or property originally meant to be held by a charity forever. This includes a change which will allow trustees to borrow a sum of up to 25% of the value of their permanent endowment funds, without the Commission’s approval
  • trustees will be able to be paid for goods provided to a charity in certain circumstances, even if not expressly stated in the charity’s governing document (currently trustees can only be paid for supply of services). From pencils to paint, this will allow charities the flexibility to access goods from trustees when it is in the best interests of the charity (e.g. if cheaper), without needing Commission permission
  • charities will be able to take advantage of simpler and more proportionate rules on failed appeals. For example, if a charity appeal raises too little money, the charity will be able to spend donations below £120 on similar charitable purposes without needing to contact individual donors for permission

The rules about changing governing docs or purposes are mainly about bringing CIO’s and charitable companies in line with each other. This could make it more tricky for non CIO’s but it will mean simply updating purposes without making significant changes will no longer be regulated.

We have no idea when the commission will release guidance and actually make the changes, but Russell Cooke the solicitors have written that they recommend charitable companies wanting to make major changes to purposes do it now before the changes are implemented.

There is a good summary of the Act from Stone King on their website

Please contact us if you have any questions enquiries@cambridgecvs.org.uk