Strengthening of Fundraising Preference Service

The Fundraising Regulator has made changes to the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS), the tool that allows people to stop direct marketing communications from charities, which strengthen the service for both charities and members of the public. The changes have been implemented in response to an independent review of the FPS, which found that the service continues to provide an important backstop for people who may be feeling overwhelmed by contact from charities.

In response to the review’s recommendations, members of the public can now request that up to 10 charities stop sending them direct marketing in one online transaction. The previous maximum was three charities in one online transaction, and it is still possible to suppress up to 20 charities at a time by contacting the FPS via telephone.

With a quarter of the 13,000 people who have used the service to date acting on behalf of a friend or relative, it is also now easier for charities to see if a suppression request has been made on behalf of someone else. This will help indicate that there is a potentially vulnerable person involved, so that charities can ensure they deal with these requests swiftly.

Further information has also been added to the Fundraising Regulator website to help charities understand what they need to do when they receive a suppression request and to support the public to use the FPS effectively.

In addition to the recommendations made in the evaluation, the Fundraising Regulator has introduced a way for people to submit an FPS request on behalf of someone who has died. When charities access their FPS requests, those made on behalf of a deceased person are clearly shown so that these records can be handled differently to other requests.

Alongside these measures, the Fundraising Regulator is working to increase awareness of the FPS, educating both members of the public and charities about its use and importance. This includes launching targeted digital marketing campaigns, working with other organisations to promote the FPS to people in vulnerable circumstances, and engaging with people with a specific interest in charities and people who may be caring for a friend or relative.

Cost of living squeeze hits donations

With households tightening their outgoings as the cost of living crisis worsens, research from the Charities Aid Foundation shows cost pressures are affecting donations to charities. Six in 10 (58%) people plan to cut back on discretionary spending over the next six months in order to manage their bills - rising to 69% amongst 25-34 year olds. Only a quarter of people (26%) say they won’t be cutting back on anything.

For charities, says CAF, this has a knock-on impact. In February, only a quarter (25%) of people donated to charity in the past four weeks. This figure is significantly lower than the usual average for the month (29%), meaning that around 2m fewer people donated to charity than usual.

With many cutting back on discretionary spending, around one in 10 (12%) people reported in February that they plan to cut back on charity donations. However, as more families face financial struggles with the increased cost of living, previous research from CAF found that nearly nine in 10 (86%) charity leaders anticipate that demand for their services is likely to increase.

Big annual rise predicted for legacy income

The average annual income from charitable gifts in wills in the UK is predicted to rise by 26% to £4.2 billion over the next five years, according to the latest forecast from forecaster Legacy Foresight in its report The Legacy Market Outlook 2022-2026. This factors in legacy trends, projected number of deaths and the most likely economic conditions, together with estate administration issues to predict the number and value of future charitable bequests in the UK.

Jon Franklin, economist at Legacy Foresight, says: “There are several factors that will influence the legacy market over the coming years, not least the potential impact of the crisis in Ukraine on the stock market and elevated death rates linked to Covid. But the underlying drivers of legacies remain robust and even in our most pessimistic scenario we expect to see considerable growth both in the number and value of legacy donations for charities.”

UK deaths dropped well below their peak of 689,000 in 2020 to 666,000 in 2021. However, last year’s figures remained 10% higher than during the pre-pandemic years of 2015-2019. Sadly, projections from the Office of National Statistics suggest the number of deaths will remain slightly elevated in 2022, before returning to a more gradual long term upward trend.

Over the next five years, Legacy Foresight predicts that charities will see an average of 134,000-137,000 bequests per year.

When it comes to legacy values, the key economic drivers of house and share prices are anticipated to continue to perform relatively well, although the crisis in Ukraine creates some uncertainty. These underlying economic conditions support growth in the value of residual bequests, which is expected to rise by around 13% over the five-year period.

While the central outlook predicts average annual legacy income of £4.2 billion, pessimistic and optimistic alternative scenarios see that income ranging between £4.0 billion to £4.4 billion a year (growth of 21-30%).

Charity sector support at five year high

Data agency Wood for Trees’ annual State of the Sector Report 2022 says that overall, charity sector income and number of supporters increased significantly during 2021, compared to 2020, and is at the highest level seen in the last five years. Income was 9% higher and supporter recruitment up 22% in 2021, compared to the previous year.

Key income areas across the sector performed at similar levels in 2021 and remained stable compared to 2020 results, led by high value giving (107%), community fundraising (103%) and gaming (102%).

Although stabilised, income from regular givers remains in decline since the onset of the pandemic in favour of one-off donations, which has stayed almost 50% higher than the last three years.

According to the Wood for Trees report, income by channel showed a considerable increase in digital and direct mail during 2021 – both at the highest levels seen in the last five years. DRTV delivered a steady increase in income, largely from one-off giving. However, income from direct dialogue continues to fall, coinciding with the start of Covid-19.

Not only have supporters increased in number, but also active category size. There were 9% more active supporters in 2021 compared to 2020. Most were recruited via community fundraising (150%), one-off donations (131%) and regular giving (111%), showing significant increases compared to 2020.

Supporters were mostly secured through direct dialogue (126%), digital (117%) and direct mail (117%). Digital and direct mail recruitment channels have witnessed a considerable boom since the start of the pandemic. However, supporter recruitment via DRTV took a significant hit during 2021 at 57% of the success seen in 2020.

In addition, supporter profiles continue to lean towards older, more affluent populations but there has been a continuing trend in the rise of younger, less well-off families who are choosing to donate.

Wood for Trees managing director Jon Kelly, says: “It’s been interesting to see how the charity sector has performed in the last year and how the effects of Covid-19 are still impacting on charities in the longer term. In particular, the changing behaviours in the ways supporters are choosing to respond and interact with their chosen charities, such as the continuing shift we’re seeing from regular giving to one-off donations and a resurgence of direct mail in supporter recruitment.

“It’ll be fascinating to see how fundraising performance progresses in 2022 with the learnings taken from dramatic changes implemented during Covid restrictions and lockdowns, and how this will compare to pre-pandemic years.”

Charity sector high on list for remote working

A study from e-learning platform Preply has revealed charities as the UK’s third most progressively flexible sector, offering the third highest ratio of remote job roles. Job role descriptions found for the charity sector which detail the option for remote work make up for 16% of total number of jobs listed.

The sector appears to be amongst the most flexible in more ways than one, as charities are also revealed as having the 10th most amount of part-time remote job roles - 15% of the remote jobs listed were part-time positions. Although charities rank among the topmost flexible sectors, analysing the total number of jobs available in January, the sector also appears to be one of the most competitive, ranking 9th for the least amount of total jobs listed.

With remote job roles making up for 23% of total jobs listed, ranking top in the UK is the IT sector . The UK’s second most progressively remote sector is media, digital and creative, for which the study found 18% of all job roles listed are remote.

Understandably, says Preply, some jobs just can’t be done remotely and the sectors found ranking bottom will find themselves there because they are predominantly manual or face-to-face. This is definitely the case for the lowest ranking sectors - hospitality, manufacturing and motoring - in each of which fewer than 1% of jobs listed are remote roles.

Setting out to identify the UK cities where demand from those seeking remote work has grown the most over the last 3 years (2018 vs 2021), the city of Swansea in Wales has seen the highest increase in searches for remote jobs since 2018, with searches up by a whopping 1,575%.

The second highest increase in demand is seen in the city of Leicester, with a 1,239% hike in “remote jobs” searches. Birmingham has seen the UK’s third highest increase (up 971%), followed by Northampton (up 783%) and Leeds (up 766%) respectively.

Social care providers forced to shut services

Social care providers are facing a perfect storm of workforce challenges and rising cost pressures of service delivery as they are forced to turn down admissions to services and, in severe cases, shut services altogether.

This is according to independent research from economics and business consultancy Cebr commissioned by learning disability charity Hft. This found that three quarters of learning disability care providers turned down new admissions to services in 2021 while more than a third had to close their services permanently due in part to an average staff vacancy rate of nearly 16%.

While nearly all providers believe that increases in staff wages could help recruitment and retention challenges, Hft’s latest Sector Pulse Check report found that 80% of those surveyed say the fees they receive from local authorities to deliver care will not be enough to cover their wage bills, forcing them to dig deep into their own reserves to pay their staff a fair rate.

“Social care staff should be paid a fair wage, one which is commensurate with the responsibilities of the job and that will help reduce high turnover and vacancy rates in the sector,” says Kirsty Matthews, CEO of Hft.

“Despite the introduction of a higher National Living Wage earlier in April, record inflation means that, in real terms, most front-line staff will not see a pay uplift and workforce challenges will persist as employees cope with the cost of living increase” she adds.

Concerningly, one in 10 providers will need to cover 20% of their wage bill from their own reserves, rather than through fees paid by local authorities to deliver the right standard of care to those they support, according to the research. On average, each provider surveyed will need to find £640,000 to cover the cost of wages, stretching the already finite resources of providers further.

This is at a time when the sector is in an increasingly precarious financial position, with 71% of providers reporting they are either in deficit, with costs exceeding funding, or that their surplus has decreased. This has increased from 56% in 2020. Alongside workforce challenges, Hft’s research highlights that financial pressure is forcing providers into difficult decisions such as handing back contracts to local authorities and offering care to fewer people to remain sustainable.

Wage increase for care employees

Brunelcare, the Bristol based charity providing housing, care and support for older people in the South West, has announced itself as a Real Living Wage employer so that all employees who work at Brunelcare are now being paid at, or above, the Real Living Wage of £9.90 per hour. The Government’s national living wage currently stands at £9.50 per hour.

Set by the Living Wage Foundation, the Real Living Wage has been independently calculated according to the real cost of living. Brunelcare wanted to ensure that they were a Real Living Wage employer by 2022 after discussions started in 2019. In the South West almost a fifth of all jobs (18.1%) pay less than the real Living Wage - around 424,000 jobs.

The introduction of the Real Living Wage at Brunelcare has seen all 1,072 employees receiving a pay increase of at least 3% from April 2022, alongside 762 of those employees receiving a further increase of 6.5%, to get the charity’s lowest paid employees to the rate of £9.90 per hour.

Big fundraising target achieved by insurer

Allianz Insurance has reached its ambitious target of raising £1m for Mind. The partnership launched in 2019 with the aim of raising funds for the mental health charity, as well as supporting Allianz to create an open workplace where mental wellbeing is championed.

The substantial donation could not be more timely for Mind which points out that the nation is currently facing a mental health crisis. Its research reveals that two in three adults say their mental health has worsened since the first national lockdown and the charity’s services are more in demand than ever. The money raised will help fund Mind’s services, such as the Mind Infoline, the online peer support community for adults; Side by Side, and the campaigning Mind does to make sure everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect.

Despite the challenges of lockdown, which prevented many face-to-face fundraisers from going ahead, Allianz got creative with ways to raise funds - from shaving beards to cycling from London to Amsterdam. A key fundraiser was Stronger Together, which was designed to motivate and connect employees during lockdown. Fitness and wellbeing activities were logged using an app which turned into charity donations. Over 1500 employees took part, covering 180,887km by running, walking and cycling, spending 40,746 hours moving and raising £40,950.

Beyond fundraising, Allianz worked together with Mind to raise awareness of mental health, highlighting how people can access support, and encouraging employees to talk. Over the course of the partnership, 193 mental health first aiders were trained and introduced by the charity to support employees. Wellbeing activities, such as guided meditations and fitness classes, on occasion hosted by Mr Motivator, were also offered.

Northern law firm supported homeless charity

West Yorkshire homelessness charity Simon on the Streets has received more than £8,000 from local law firm Schofield Sweeney during its time as charity of the year. Schofield Sweeney, which has offices in Bradford, Leeds, and Huddersfield, has supported the charity since 2017 and made Simon on the Streets its annual charity partner throughout 2021, raising £8700 over the past 12 months.

The 170-strong workforce has fundraised via lockdown-friendly activities including participating in sleep-ins, plus bake sales, bike rides, payroll giving and business events including networking and sponsoring the charity’s annual golf day.

Simon on the Streets offers support to homeless and vulnerable people across Bradford, Leeds, and Kirklees. It costs the charity £13.08 to fund an outreach worker’s support for an hour meaning the funds raised by Schofield Sweeney have paid for 16 weeks’ worth of support to those on our streets.

The charity is encouraging local businesses to continue to support it throughout 2022 and is offering the chance to pay for as little as an hour of an outreach workers time at just £13.08.

Social investment loan for housing aid charity

WHAG (originally Rochdale Women’s Housing Aid Group) has received its first social investment loan of £2.15 million from Social and Sustainable Capital. The charity is now a provider of housing and support services to homeless women, and men and women experiencing and fleeing domestic abuse in Rochdale, Halton and Cheshire West. It also now provides support for young parents.

The loan from SASC’s Social and Sustainable Housing Fund will be used to purchase 17 one, two and three bedroom flats and houses to provide short term accommodation for up to 17 clients and their families. WHAG currently manages a property portfolio of 63 units, of which one is owned and the rest rented from registered providers or private landlords. With the properties financed by the loan it expects to increase its portfolio to 80 units by March 2023.

Kirsty Rhodes, CEO at WHAG, says: “We’re really excited to take on social investment for the first time as it’s enabling us to purchase our own properties and not be so reliant on renting properties. This gives our clients more options of locations. Owning properties is a way for our organisation to become more financially sustainable in the future and to be able to offer people a better choice of accommodation, in safer and nicer neighbourhoods close to transport and other essential amenities. We felt the loan was a safer option for us as a charity than borrowing from a bank.”

New housing charity registration

The Aster Foundation, the arm of housing association Aster Group which focuses on enabling better lives beyond bricks and mortar, has been granted official charity status by the Charity Commission. Its registration will see the foundation formally become a separate entity from the core business.

Through analysing its own data, Aster Group has identified that nearly half of the neighbourhoods it works across fall into financially stretched categories. The foundation believes that becoming a charity will enable it to offer a wider and holistic range of programmes to help these groups and ultimately meet its aim of enabling the lives of 40,000 people by 2030.

Cancer charity launched to support young adults

The Ella Dawson Foundation has been launched as a national charity providing psychological, physical, nutritional and wellbeing support for young adult cancer victims between the ages of 18 and 30 years old, along with their families, for a period of up to two years following the completion of active treatment.

Supporting the charity is a team of clinical professionals, as well as a band of young ambassadors, who will help shape its work in line with the needs of young adults with cancer and their families.

The foundation was established as a legacy to Ella Dawson and the life she lived. An aspiring artist, Ella, from Huddersfield, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of blood cancer in 2019 shortly after graduating from Newcastle University. Over the course of two years, she underwent constant and intense treatment. However, the cancer kept returning and sadly, Ella passed away in July 2021, aged 24 years old.

When Ella was diagnosed, she found that inclusive wellbeing support tailored to the unique needs of young adults with cancer in the UK was limited. Whilst she received outstanding clinical and medical care, she noticed that there was also a great need for psychological, physical, wellbeing nutritional, and social support. So, she set out to create a blueprint of how young adults with cancer could be better supported holistically.

Initially, Ella created a blog of her health journey including advice on nutrition, exercise and staying positive during treatment. She also worked closely with blood cancer charities to help and support others as she continued to develop her extensive knowledge of physical and mental health, wellbeing, and self-healing.

In addition to its various support programmes and activities, the charity has several fundraising initiatives planned, including the London to Paris Cycle Ride in July, the Great North Run in September, and an Everest Base Camp Trek in November.

The foundation invites young adults living with cancer and their families, clinicians, and other parties who wish to learn more about and support its work, to get in touch.

Renewed support for animal welfare charities

Home cleaning brand Shark is extending its partnership with both Dogs Trust and Cats Protection, committing to donate £50,000 to each charity over the next year. The partnership marks the third year in which Shark has partnered with the two charities, committing to over a combined £380,000 in donations to both since 2019.

Since the partnership began the money went to care for 5,000 stray or abandoned dogs in Dogs Trust’s rehoming centres and for nearly 10,000 veterinary health checks for cats in Cats Protection’s care.

Shark’s TruePet vacuum cleaners are purposefully designed for homes with pets.

Music education initiative really takes off

The National Schools Singing Programme celebrated a year’s preliminary work at its two-day inaugural conference at Hinsley House in Headingly, Yorkshire. Attendees came from Catholic dioceses across the UK. Backed by £4m grant funding from the Hamish Ogston Foundation £75,000 will go to each diocese which joins the scheme to establish and develop excellent youth choirs.

Dioceses which have signed up range from the Diocese of Portsmouth in the South to the Diocese of Aberdeen in the North. All English bishops have enrolled their dioceses in the programme and will benefit from approximately £4million of generous grant funding provided by the Hamish Ogston Foundation. At the end of this year, the programme is projected to engage more than 10,000 children every week.

The NSSP initiative takes inspiration from the Schools Singing Programme developed by the Diocese of Leeds in 2003 to establish and improve music programmes for children at Catholic state schools in and around Leeds, which currently reaches around 6,500 children every week.

It uses the existing infrastructure of Catholic state schools and offers additional funds to support world-class inclusive music programmes. The programme’s lead musicians, Benjamin Saunders and Thomas Leech, act as consultants for the NSSP and support other dioceses as they develop music programmes for young people.

Hamish Ogston announced at the conference that a further fund will soon be available to dioceses which establish a financially sustainable singing programme, to replicate the Leeds Keyboard Studies programme, providing real hope for future trained organists.

Homeless charity receives its biggest donation ever

The Julia and Hans Rausing Trust has made a donation of £3m to Centrepoint to support the development of the charity’s Independent Living Programme to give young people experiencing homelessness in London and Manchester a home and a job. The donation is the largest single donation the charity has received in its 52-year history.

Centrepoint will use the donation to tackle the shortage of quality affordable homes. It aims to only charge a young person approximately one third of their salary as rent. This would typically mean a 20 year old young person in Manchester, earning the minimum wage (currently £6.56 per hour) would pay around £350 per month to live in a self-contained home.

However, Centrepoint’s intention is to work with ethical employers to ensure young people are earning above the minimum wage which would typically mean someone in London earning £18,000 per year would pay around £500 per month to live independently.

Since its formation, the Julia and Hans Rausing Trust has provided over 1,000 grants totalling more than £290 million.

New London centre for blind children

The Royal Society for Blind Children has moved into the new Richard Desmond Life Without Limits Centre, realising a dream to deliver a space dedicated to supporting blind and partially sighted children and their families.

The centre, located within the Northern & Shell building on the north bank of the Thames near London Bridge, will be a hub for the work of the RSBC throughout England and Wales.

The design and fit out of the centre includes a media suite, an accessible kitchen, small meeting spaces for one-to-one support, and a large flexible space for group activities.

Children and young people will be supported to take part in activities both at the centre and across England and Wales with technology and virtual sessions. They will be able to engage in creative activities including song writing, making music and writing poetry.

The media suite will enable the children and young people to produce podcasts and other digital content, and in the accessible kitchen they will be able to have cookery sessions or cook-a-long via the live online sessions. The centre also has a dedicated modern office space for RSBC’s staff.

Sue Sharp, RSBC CEO says: “It was always our ambition to create a space that was designed especially for blind and partially sighted children and young people - a space where they can come together to share their hopes and experiences, and where we can support them to develop their skills and confidence to pursue their dreams and ambitions.

“We’re immensely grateful to the team at Northern and Shell and, in particular, their chairman Richard Desmond for making the space available, and to him and the many other donors and professionals who have generously given their money, time and expertise to create this truly remarkable space, and for helping to make change in the lives of blind children and young people. It has been a huge collective effort and we owe an immense debt of gratitude to every one of them.”

Local businesses commit to local philanthropy

Local businesses will link up with the charity sector after Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce named a community foundation as its charity of the year.

Local community groups are set to benefit after the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Hertfordshire Community Foundation, which aims to encourage local philanthropy, the giving of time, resources or both by local people to help support their communities.

The charity provides philanthropy advice for individuals, families, businesses and charities, as well as funding and other support for groups and individuals.

In 2020/21, HCF awarded more than £2m in grant aid to charitable projects working to help the most vulnerable residents of Hertfordshire.

Proceeds from the chamber’s Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards raffle will be donated to HCF, and alongside financial support, the three-year partnership will also see the chamber helping to raise the profile of the charity across the county.

Briege Leahy, CEO of Herts Chamber of Commerce, says: “It’s about making key introductions to connect the charity with businesses which are as passionate about supporting charities as we are. We want to link the charity and business sectors for funds or volunteering.

One of the key issues that the chamber wants to support HCF is around poverty in the county, and the key campaigns it is involved in.

“Linking up with HCF can also support businesses’ environmental, social and corporate governance commitment.”

HCF supports on average four Hertfordshire charities each year. During the last financial year, the charity handed out 420 grants to 276 groups and organisations, reaching about 85,000 people. It also helped 145 families living in crisis.

This year, the charity’s grant making is likely to be its highest yet, at more than £3m.

Charity partnership extended

Phoenix Group, the savings and retirement business, is extending its partnership with Samaritans for a further year. Since the partnership launched in April 2021, the group has donated more than £340,000 to the charity.

Phoenix staff have undertaken a variety of activities to fundraise for Samaritans and promote its work across the UK over the last 12 months, including a sponsored virtual walk of almost 300 miles equivalent to the distance between the group’s Edinburgh and Wythall offices, as well as taking part in the “Santa in the City” run in London in December.

As well as supporting the charity financially, the company’s employees have attended workplace training courses delivered by Samaritans’ experts, as well as awareness raising sessions.

Senior Phoenix executive Andy Moss says: “The money we have donated to Samaritans over the last 12 months has covered the equivalent of more than 66,000 calls for help. But our continuing partnership is an opportunity for us to work with the charity to support its needs, not just raising funds, but donating time and sharing skills where needed.”

Charities should register unresolved banking complaints

The Business Banking Resolution Service, the independent and free dispute resolution organisation is appealing directly to the charity sector to see if its unresolved banking disputes can be tackled.

The BBRS resolves disputes based on what is fair and reasonable for each case. Organisations going through the service will be assigned a dispute resolution specialist, who will act as a single point of contact and offer practical support. The BBRS can make both financial and non-financial awards when a complaint is upheld.

The BBRS’ Historical Scheme covers banking complaints first registered in the period from 1 December 2001 to 31 March 2019. Organisations may qualify for support if they had turnover between £1 million and £6.5 million per annum at the time of their complaint, and their case has not already been settled, been subject to an independent review, or gone to court. This includes organisations which have since closed, merged or been sold.

The BBRS can also assess more recent unresolved complaints through its Contemporary Scheme, which covers cases for the period from 1 April 2019 onwards: it is for organisations with turnover up to £10m per annum; and total assets up to £7.5m; and which are not eligible to take their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Charities with outstanding historical banking disputes are urged to see if they can apply for support using a quick online tool as the deadline for historical complaint applications is just one year away, closing on 14 February 2023. Professional services businesses are also encouraged to see if their clients could be eligible for the BBRS.

Dirk Paterson, customer director at the BBRS says: “We want as many organisations as possible to have the opportunity to use the BBRS’ service. This includes businesses, trusts, charities, friendly societies, and cooperative societies. It. We urge them to see if they qualify for our help and, if so, to register. If they’re unsure, organisations can check online or contact us to find out more.”


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