RICHARD BLAUSTEN, editor of CHARITIES MANAGEMENT, writes: The news material below is just a selection of items to give readers a broad feel of what is going on in the charity world with an emphasis that is not necessarily seen in other charity publications. Thus we highlight corporate involvement with charities, particularly the fundraising efforts of staff, and we run management-related items that we feel deserve particular attention.
We have given special coverage of an interesting report on donor attitudes and would urge readers to take advantage of the considerable information in it by scrolling down to read the item, if necessary returning to it to read the material in full later.
Do have a great read of the whole NEWS section.
Building society doubles staff volunteering time
Leeds Building Society is doubling the amount of time available for staff to volunteer for good causes. Its volunteering programme offers every employee seven hours’ paid leave each year to spend in their communities, and now the mutual has added a further seven hours’ volunteering time to enable colleagues to support its national partnerships – Samaritans and Parkrun.
Richard Fearon, chief commercial officer at Leeds Building Society, says: “These organisations are different in so many ways but share a commonality of being powered by thousands of volunteers. We’re founded on the principle of people helping people, and volunteering is one of the greatest expressions of this. So, in response to the enthusiasm shown by colleagues and to increase our impact through our partnerships we have doubled the volunteering time available.”
During national Volunteers’ Week, people from the society volunteered with Canal and River Trust, Skelton Grange Environment Centre, St George’s Crypt, Hyde Park Source, Larchfield Care Home and the Woodhouse Community Garden.
In 2017, 50% of staff took up the opportunity to support their local communities, investing 4,700 hours in more than 160 projects up and down the UK.
Chimps move into charity’s new Eden
Charity Twycross Zoo has launched its brand new £3.5 million habitat, Chimpanzee Eden. At 11m high, the semi-translucent habitat features tropical and native shrubs, with glazing and discreet openings allowing visitors to see chimps close up as they pass through the habitat. It is part of Twycross Zoo’s ambitious £55m masterplan to become a national conservation organisation and world-class visitor attraction.
Decked with imagery of chimps and forests in Cameroon, where the zoo’s partner Ape Action Africa works to rescue and protect chimpanzees (and gorillas), Chimpanzee Eden is home to the zoo’s chimpanzees which are already enjoying the new surroundings, swinging, climbing and playing through both indoor and outdoor sections of the immersive, jungle-like habitat.
Sharon Redrobe, CEO of Twycross Zoo, says: “We have dedicated years in the thinking, months in the building and countless hours in husbandry to prepare our troop of chimpanzees to live together as one large group and now we are delighted to share Chimpanzee Eden!”
Twycross Zoo is home to over 500 animals from around 125 species and open to the public the whole year.
New Gift Aid issues revealed in figures
HMRC has published its figures on the value of tax reliefs given to charities and their donors which are now worth over £5bn a year and, as Graham Batty, a charity tax specialist at accountancy firm RSM, points out: “While the overall trend remains upwards there are a couple of important messages for charities in what, on the face of it, is a rather dry document.”
Explains Batty: “It may come as a surprise but the biggest element of the value received by charities is business rate relief which was worth just over £2 billion in 2017-2018. That is an inflation busting 9.4% increase. However, given the pressure on their finances, local authorities are beginning to resist granting charities more than the mandatory 80% relief. They also seem to be starting to look closely at claims – a charity has recently been refused rates relief for some of its charity shops because they were run by a non-charitable subsidiary rather than directly by the charity itself.
“The second, and perhaps more worrying message, concerns Gift Aid. The amount reclaimed by charities - and the additional tax relief claimed by donors - has been fairly static over the last few years. This is something that will concern charities given how hard they work to raise funds, but what is the cause?
“Digging further into the statistics it is noted that the greatest value of Gift Aid donations declared on tax returns come from the over 65s. The increases in personal allowances and tax free allowances for savings income over recent years mean that many older people now pay less tax – payment of tax is a prerequisite for making a Gift Aid donation - than they did in the past. They no doubt continue to give but outside Gift Aid. There is a real need for charities, with the help of HMRC, to promote Gift Aid and engage with younger donors.”
Each charity should have own code of ethics
All charities – large or small, domestic or international – should ensure that, as a starting point, they have their own code of ethics, says an Institute of Business Ethics briefing. A charity’s code should not just provide guidance for trustees (as recommended by the Charity Governance Code), but also for employees, volunteers and other stakeholders.
The IBE supports the work of NCVO in developing a code for the sector but recommends each charity develops its own. A code of ethics should reflect the unique needs and aims of their organisation, their individual circumstances, history, values, culture and scope.
“A code sets out an organisation’s commitment to its key stakeholders in terms of conduct. Even very small charities would benefit from having a code, which does not need to be a long or complex document,” says IBE director Philippa Foster Back.
The briefing identifies key ethical issues which charities need to address in order to maintain their social licence to operate:
- Bullying and harassment.
- Referencing systems.
- Speaking up (whistleblowing).
- Executive pay.
Guidance on charity boardroom behaviours
ICSA: The Governance Institute has produced guidance aimed at improving behaviours in charity boardrooms. Based around the Charity Governance Code’s seven principles of good governance, the guidance translates these principles into suggested boardroom behaviours.
The boardroom behaviours attributed to the seven principles of good governance have been broken down as follows for trustees:
- Principle 1 – Organisational purpose: committed to the cause; clarity of focus (understanding their role and purpose); being strategic.
- Principle 2 – Leadership: leads by example; can operate as part of the team.
- Principle 3 – Integrity: integrity; independent thinking; ethical.
- Principle 4 – Decision making, risk and control: probing but not controlling; risk aware, not risk averse.
- Principle 5 – Board effectiveness: self-aware; creative, innovative; keen to learn and improve.
- Principle 6 – Diversity: open-minded; courageous.
- Principle 7 – Openness and accountability: listens; inspires trust; accepts responsibility and accountability.
Louise Thomson, head of policy (not for profit) at ICSA (Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators), says: “Good governance is about more than just having the right policies, procedures and protocols in place. This is why boardroom behaviours and the ethical practices, values and culture of the charity are of equal importance.”
Public still don’t trust charities enough
Public trust in charities hasn’t improved since 2016, according to the Charity Commission’s Trust in Charities 2018 report. The research finds that public trust in charities has plateaued since 2016, and remains low at 5.5 out of 10. The public now trust charities less than they trust the average person in the street.
Baroness Stowell, chair of the Charity Commission, says: “What the public expect is not unreasonable: they want charities to be guided by their ethos and purpose in everything they do, and they want charities to use their money efficiently and responsibly. The public have seen evidence of charities failing to demonstrate these behaviours.
“So it is not surprising that trust has not recovered, and that the public are calling for greater transparency. This is proxy for a more profound issue: the public want evidence that charities are what they say they are.”
This year’s Trust in Charities research represents a shift in focus. In previous years, the report focused on quantifying the extent to which the public trusts charities. The focus this year turns to what trust means for the sector, how trust relates to its success, and what charities can do to exemplify trustworthy behaviours. Key findings are as follows:
THE FACTORS OF TRUSTWORTHINESS. The public want charities to demonstrate good stewardship of funds, to live their values, and to demonstrate impact. The research suggests that when charities are able to show that most of their donations directly reach the end cause, and that they are having quantifiable positive results, both trust and self-reported propensity to donate increases.
THIS SHOWS THAT TRUST MATTERS TO DONATION BEHAVIOUR. Moreover, many of those who feel that their trust in charities has decreased in the past two years (and this cohort has increased in number to over 4 in 10 members of the public) say they are donating less money as a result. Those who do not trust charities are far less likely to have recently made repeat donations than those who do.
OVERALL TRUST AND CONFIDENCE IN CHARITIES REMAINS AT SIMILAR LEVELS TO 2016 WHEN THE RESEARCH WAS LAST CARRIED OUT. In both years, scandals reported in the media involving major humanitarian charities (which are also the type of organisation the public instinctively think of when they think about “charities”) occurred before the polling took place, negatively impacting overall trust and confidence.
NEVERTHELESS, THE SECTOR HOLDS UP WELL COMPARED WITH OTHERS. It is still more trusted, for instance, than private companies, banks, and politicians. It remains less trusted, however, than the average man or woman in the street.
THE PUBLIC STILL THINK THE SECTOR PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN SOCIETY. They simply want it to evidence the positive effect it has with their generosity. Words are not enough, concludes the report; the public expect trustworthy behaviour and proven impact.
Strong trends in donor attitudes revealed
The Charity Commission report has been put into a different perspective by the Love Charity 2018 report based on research commissioned by fundraising communications agency Killer Creative and conducted by YouGov. This says that Britain’s strong emotional feelings towards charities continue to shine through, even as trust in the sector has eroded.
Surprisingly, in view of the Charity Commission report, the majority of respondents (61%) report that they are no less likely to give to good causes, with 17% even expressing a desire to “give more”, in spite of negative headlines, aggressive fundraising tactics and concern over how donations are spent.
Moving away from this difference with the Charity Commission report, which did have a very different focus, the Love Charity report came up with a wide range of findings on the public’s attitudes towards donating to charities.
Killer Creative sought to investigate the nature of people’s emotional ties to charity; uncovering just how loved charities in the UK are today, and how this love manifests itself. According to the report, 58% of the UK population love at least one of the top 30 UK charities, with MacMillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Dogs Trust, and the RSPCA topping the list of the most loved charities.
Of all the respondents, those most likely to “love” and have a strong affection towards at least one charity are retired women, living in north east England from a working-class background.
Rob Alcroft, COO of Killer Creative, says: “There are some clear differences between the most loved charities and the rest of the field. Whilst the top five are cancer and animal related causes, there are some surprising absences from those that are most loved; namely children’s charities, and age-related causes. The reasons for this extend beyond the cause to the very actions that a charity undertakes as a part of its fundraising, and the transparency it displays.
“When we look further into the data, we can see that the most loved charities are well known for fundraising activities the public are most inclined to feel positive about, such as mass participation, rather than those which induce a negative emotional response, such as telephone and face-to-face appeals.”
MILLENNIALS VERSUS BABY BOOMERS. Those most likely to love a charity are the older generations:
Interestingly, however, the decline in trust for charities is felt much harder amongst the over 55’s with 54% trusting charities less, than it is amongst the under 24’s; where only 35% trust charities less.
Levels of donations from the young have increased more than the average, with 21% of 18-24 year olds professing to give more, and 18% of 25-34 year olds doing the same. Despite levels of trust falling generally, the majority indicate they are maintaining their support for charities:
GIFT AID IGNORANCE. Killer Creative’s research found less than half of the population can correctly identify how Gift Aid works. When presented with a range of possibilities for how Gift Aid applies and who it is available to, only 48% can correctly identify the outcome of agreeing to Gift Aid, with under 35’s and over 55’s being least likely to understand what Gift Aid does (45%).
CAUSES OF THE LOSS OF TRUST. Whilst around 2/3rds of people don’t care how charities “raise their funds” (66%), there are some clear elements of concern that do affect how much they trust charities. How charities spend their donations, for example, being of concern to 71% of people who expressed a decline in trust for charities.
This was unsurprisingly followed by media headlines influencing 64% of people whose trust has declined, as well as wages of staff members (63%), aggressive fundraising (59%) and concern over advertising costs (46%).
The vast majority (87%) of the public desire at least one significant piece of information about a charity that they are going to support. This ranges from details of where the money goes (77%) to the number of employees a charity has (13%). The most important factors the public wants to be informed of point towards a general desire for a greater level of transparency from the organisation.
Alcroft says: “There is a clear link between the trust people have for charities, the love that they feel for them, and the transparency of the organisation. With an overwhelming indication that transparency is key to answering public concerns, it is clear that those charities topping our ‘most loved’ list are getting this right, and others can learn from it.”
Importance of information to respondents:
SOME REALLY DISLIKED FUNDRAISING METHODS. Cold calling and street sign-ups undeniably help sustain the coffers of many charities, but the results of the Love Charity 2018 report raise serious questions over the need to balance the deployment of these fundraising activities against the potentially negative effect that they have on sentiment felt by the public towards the charity undertaking them.
As demonstrated in the below chart, some activities such as mass participation fundraising events are 10 times more likely to encourage positive feelings from the public than negative ones, whereas street canvassing and cash appeals are up to 35 times more unpopular than they are liked.
Alcroft states: “Whilst charities undoubtedly have seen the benefit of canvassing and telephone appeals in the past, it’s clear that other tactics engender more positive feelings. The potential loss to charities from negatively perceived activities is unlikely to be captured by organisations which record only the positive donation outcomes. For every donation achieved by such activities there are likely to be hundreds or thousands of missed opportunities, as people are being turned off by unengaging fundraising tactics.”
Music charity key tenant in regeneration project
World Heart Beat Music Academy has been singled out from a field of 42 organisations to become the newest cultural tenant at Embassy Gardens, EcoWorld Ballymore’s multi-billion pound regeneration project in London’s Nine Elms. EcoWorld Ballymore, together with Wandsworth Council, chose World Heart Beat to create and drive a new educational, cultural and performance venue, to open in 2019.
World Heart Beat’s new creative space at Embassy Gardens, situated next to the US embassy, will include a fully equipped 110 seat auditorium and educational, recording and broadcasting facilities. With almost a quarter of their £2 million fundraising target already achieved, World Heart Beat is still seeking further investment through major grants, donations, sponsorships and performance events.
World Heart Beat Founder Sahana Gero says: “Embassy Gardens is going to elevate us to a completely new level. It means that our concept for changing the lives of the next generation of raw talent through music education can become a reality for much greater numbers than we can reach currently. It will support our ambitions to create more outstanding concerts and innovative programmes and will open up thousands of opportunities for young people who find inspiration and lifelong success through music.”
Dato’ Teow Leong Seng, president and CEO of EcoWorld International, says “As a business we have always had the celebration of music at our core. Internally we promote talent through our very own EcoWorld choir, and we are delighted that this meaningful partnership extends further our dedication to the arts, allowing more children to thrive through creating and playing music.”
Leader of Wandsworth Council Cllr Ravi Govindia says: “Art and culture is at the heart of our vision for Nine Elms and World Heart Beat are well known for championing music education of all kinds to young people in the borough. This will contribute to creating a vibrant hub of activity in the developing the Embassy quarter – helping to link communities, new and existing, across the Nine Elms area.”
First social investments by homelessness fund
Two homelessness charities have become the first to receive investments from Homeless Link’s £4.5 million Social Investment Fund – rare in that it is exclusively for the homelessness sector and a sector-specific fund.
Doorway in Warwickshire and the East Anglian Anchorage Trust, both of which support young people experiencing homelessness, have been awarded loans of £35,000 and £25,000 respectively. The investments are meant to support the long term sustainability of the organisations and increase their social impact, at a time when the sector is experiencing cuts and changes to funding models, and will benefit from diversifying its potential income streams.
Homeless Link, the national membership organisation for homelessness and supported housing agencies, launched its fund for charities and social enterprises working to reduce homelessness across England in May 2017. The programme is provided through the Growth Fund, which is managed by Access - the Foundation for Social Investment, with funding provided by the Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital.
The Homeless Link Social Investment Fund offers organisations flexible, unsecured funding of amounts between £25,000 and £150,000. It is looking to invest the remainder of its £4.5 million via a blend of loan and grants and is open for applications at any time.
The aim of the fund is to learn where social investment can be most effectively used alongside other forms of funding to improve outcomes. It is looking to support agencies to increase the homelessness sector’s knowledge and experience of social investment, develop new models for income generation and funding, and improve their long term sustainability.
Amputee charity wins major flower show award
When Quad amputee Ray Edwards, founder of charity Limbcare, and his Limbcare team joined forces with landscape designer Edward Mairis to create a garden for this year’s Hampton Court RHS Flower Show, they won a Silver Medal. The garden design, meant to represent a message of hope to amputees and their families as they confront the task of accepting a dramatically changed life, will have an ongoing role as an integral part of the charity’s projected new Amputee Well Being Centre.
The Limbcare Garden contains features representing the needs and challenges facing amputees, and the support available. For example, the bridge over the pebble stream represents the amputee reaching out to the charity and receiving a helping hand. One seating area provides a communal space to share and another seat is an intimate space to get away.
Says Mairis: “Within this calming space, the amputee can face up to what has happened to them and then learn to think differently about what’s important in life.”
The amputees garden team worked under the expert guidance of David Sutton, director of firm The Garden Concierge, who led the landscaping.
Limbcare is undertaking a £3m crowdfunding quest to raise money for the centre.
Donation for camp for child carers
As part of its long term relationship with Simplyhealth, Over The Wall, the charity that provides free residential camps for children with serious health challenges, has received £50,034 from the insurer to fund a camp for 70 child siblings with caring roles and responsibilities.
The camp Simplyhealth has funded will take place in 2019 and will specifically focus on enabling the siblings of children who have a serious illness to enjoy a memorable, fun and empowering experience.
Roger Cotton, head of charitable giving at Simplyhealth, says: "Young carers make significant sacrifices at an important time during their own development. We hope the camps for siblings of children with serious illnesses will provide a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with their own wellbeing and spend time having fun with others who take on a caring role.”
Donation triumph for toy firm
Toy retail company The Entertainer has now altogether raised £750,000 for charity through Payroll Giving, which was initiated by the firm in 2011 to make it easier for employees to make donations through their pay. Over half of its employees are now giving regularly to 180 different charities in the UK from their pay. The company matches every donation pound for pound, with employees new to the scheme also enjoying an additional £25 for their chosen charity when they first sign up.
Gary Grant, founder and chairman of The Entertainer, says: “Giving back is very important to us which is why each year we donate 10% of our profits to a number of children’s charities and organisations. We also encourage all of our employees to support a charity of their choice in whatever way they can.”
Strenuous fundraising brings results
Close Brothers Motor Finance employees have raised £30,823 for the NSPCC and Cancer Research UK through a series of fundraising events, some very physical. The employees from across all the firm’s offices took part in a range of activities, including the challenging Snowdon climb, a 200 mile bike ride, 20 mile relay, 10km Pretty Muddy race, auctions and bake sales. In addition, Close Brothers Motor Finance’s network of dealer partners got involved in the charity initiatives, with the regional branches providing leadership.
Employees were also keen to help their local communities – the Scottish branch raised money through building a barn on a local farm, while the Welsh branch were sponsored to complete a beach clean-up along the Welsh Peninsula.
Charity donates to Guatemala volcano victims
Assistance for 30,000 people whose lives have been devastated by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in Guatemala has been boosted by a £25,000 grant from the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the Freemasons’ charity, to Plan International UK which is working in the three most vulnerable evacuation centres.
The volcano, which erupted with shattering force at the beginning of June, has left at least 100 people dead, with the figure still rising. Well over 12,000 people have lost their homes or been evacuated, with more than 4,000 being housed in temporary shelters. Tens of thousands more have been left without access to safe shelter, food, drinking water and sanitation facilities. An estimated 1.7 million people have been affected so far.
Public appeal money for Bangladesh deafblind
The global deafblind charity Sense International, will begin a pioneering programme to transform the lives of children and young adults with deafblindness in Bangladesh. It follows a successful appeal that raised £521,000 from the public – including a £216,000 contribution in Aid Match funding from the UK government.
Sense International will work with local partners in Bangladesh to improve access to education and opportunities to work for children and young people with dual sensory loss in the country. The programme will recruit and train specialist teachers who will work with families to support the children at school; training for mainstream teachers; the creation of a model school to promote best practice; and targeted meals so that children with deafblindness are well enough to learn.
Less than 10% of children with a disability in Bangladesh are in primary school. It is rare for children with deafblindness to be included, often because teaching staff don’t have the skills to support them and families are overwhelmed by the emotional and practical challenges. Without access to education, children with deafblindness remain at home, and do not develop the vital communication and life skills they require to achieve basic independence.
Corporate partnership to combat low literacy
Publisher Penguin Random House UK has entered into a two-year partnership with the National Literacy Trust to improve social mobility in the UK by closing the literacy and creativity gap between the nation’s most and least disadvantaged children. Literacy continues to be one of the most serious barriers to social mobility in the UK. One in six adults in England and Northern Ireland currently lack the literacy skills expected of an 11 year old. In England struggling to read is more closely linked to the risk of being unemployed than in any other developed country.
Already having a long relationship with the charity, the company will now support a number of different initiatives run by the charity through an extensive colleague volunteering programme, colleague fundraising, and a goal to donate 150,000 books to National Literacy Trust Hubs, which support children and families in some of the poorest communities in the UK.
Penguin Random House will fund 12 National Literacy Trust programmes to be delivered by its staff at disadvantaged primary and secondary schools local to its offices in London and warehouses in Frating and Grantham, starting in 2019. These programmes will include:
- Early Words Together: working with parents of two- to 5 year olds so they can support their child’s communication, language and literacy development at home.
- Young Readers Programme: helping primary school children discover a love of reading through a series of fun events and book gifting.
- Words for Work: improving young people’s communication skills to prepare them for success in the workplace.
Print facilities project for charity
The National Childbirth Trust is now beginning to benefit from the steady rollout of a Corporate Social Responsibility partnership with national print management dealer networks UTAX (UK) through the UTAX Community Print Project. Some months after the partnership got under way, 27 of the NCT 332 branches across the UK now benefit from it.
The UTAX Community Print Project provides free printing services on an “As Agreed” basis to pre-approved community events and charitable activities across the UK. It also ensures that charities such as NCT, whose volunteers have little or no access to printing facilities, can now apply to have their general promotional and event publicity material or public information notices printed.
The partnership gives the opportunity for three local NCT branches to be chosen to receive complimentary printing every month; offering the ability to produce literature in a variety of sizes and styles, to assist with the promotion of branch events and general information.
Charley Clewley, marketing events manager at UTAX (UK), says: “As a company we feel it is extremely rewarding to be able to assist local branches within such a prestigious charity. It makes perfect sense for us to utilise our printers, when not in use, to help community groups and projects that rely solely on donations and fundraising.”
Liveries’ charity communications prize awarded
The Glaziers’ Company and the Public Relations Practitioners’ Company jointly presented the Clarity in Charity Communications Award to Gillian Croxford, Assistant Clerk to the Worshipful Company of Innholders, at the Public Relations Practitioners’ dinner at Apothecaries’ Hall.
The prize is awarded for excellence in communications. It recognises non-professional communications activity (i.e. not carried by a professional PR company or individual who trades as a public relations or communications practitioner) linked to the livery movement and the charitable sector.
Despite having no PR expertise herself, Gillian harnessed the efforts of the young team of liverymen and freemen to produce copy for regular email communications to the members (although frequently having to write the articles herself!), drove with huge enthusiasm the company’s entry in the Great River Race 2017, which raised over £8,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society and Hospitality Action, and was editor of the new format Annual Review.
She was responsible of sending out 10 newsletters which contained 52 articles of interest to the membership. What is most impressive is that these newsletters produced “open” rates of over 70% (compared to the industry average of just under 20%) and “click-through” rates of over 31%, compared to the industry average of just 1.9%.
Automatic disqualification rules have changed
Charities should have systems in place to check whether any of their trustees or senior managers will now be disqualified, warns law firm Charles Russell Speechlys. There are two key changes: an increase in the number of legal reasons for disqualification; and individuals who are disqualified from acting as a trustee will also be disqualified from holding certain relevant senior management positions in a charity.
Charles Russell Speechlys says there were already some legal restrictions on who can act as a charity trustee, for example where there exists undischarged bankruptcy, unspent convictions for dishonesty and deception, or an order relating to misconduct or mismanagement of a charity.
Now the reasons for disqualification will include certain unspent convictions such as for terror offences, Bribery Act offences, money laundering offences, and being on the sex offenders register. It will still normally be the case that it is a criminal offence to act while disqualified; and a disqualified person has the right to apply to the Charity Commission for a waiver of their disqualification.
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