Charities are mentioned just four times in the new Conservative manifesto, according to someone in the charity press busy with Ctrl+F – and just once in the Labour equivalent (details below, if anyone’s interested). It is a common trait of many working in national charities to over-estimate the importance of the charity…

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Two reports about the state of the UK voluntary sector were published last month which, refreshingly, both focussed on the smaller end of the charity market. The Select Committee on Charities, appointed to consider ‘issues related to sustaining the charity sector and the challenges of charity governance, published Stronger charities for a…

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It’s been another interesting year for many charities in the UK. To celebrate we want to request nominations for the Fiveways charity awards, as sponsored by The Daily Mail! The key categories are as follows: Transparency in governance, supported by the Charity Commission Lifetime underachievement, for the longest self-serving chief executive Worst…

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Two years ago I wrote that, as far as criticism of charities goes, we ain’t seen nothing yet. Since then a 92 year old fundraiser who had received 466 charity mailings in one year killed herself, and a poorly governed children’s charity closed in sudden and very public circumstances. The fall-out from…

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We recently completed a Fiveways Charity Stress Test with a major UK-wide health charity looking at their Governance. Once again, I’m left thinking that the way British charities are run is a mess. In this instance our test raised only one immediately significant ‘stress’ – relating to the length of tenure of…

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Financial pressures and media criticism are, now more than ever, forcing charities to ensure their services and fundraising activities are as effective as possible. Key to an effective activity is effective targeting – the right message, service or fundraising product to the right person at the right time – and central to…

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Reports in The Independent last week that Olive Cooke received at least 460 requests for donations in 2014 brought the fundraising behaviours of large charities back into the limelight. Of particular public interest, it seems, is the practice of data being (legally) shared, swapped or sold between and amongst organisations. In itself…

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In recent years the focus of interventions in public health and sustainability has been on behaviour change. The essence of behaviour change is action – for people to stop a problem behaviour and/or adopt a desired behaviour. This focus is due to a recognition that knowledge based approaches are not always sufficient…

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We believe that all non-profit organisations helping people that are struggling with life have a particular duty to ensure that the quality of their services is excellent. In these times of heightened scrutiny, however, the anonymity provided by helplines makes them particularly vulnerable to criticism, justified or otherwise. Anyone can call, email…

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“The charity sector is in crisis”, says William Shawcross, chair of the charity commission, following the public ‘outcry’ about the death of Olive Cooke. “Oh no it isn’t!” responds Stephen Bubb, Chief Executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations. “Self-regulation of fundraising isn’t working,” says Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive…

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