Sustainable funding round-up: August 2016

It’s two months since the last sustainable funding round-up, so there’s lots to catch up on, even though it’s August.

The fundraising regulator goes live

The fundraising regulator became fully operational on 7 July with the transfer of the code and complaints handling and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreed with the Charity Commission. The MOU sets out how the Charity Commission and the fundraising regulator propose to work together to ensure best practice in fundraising, and clarifies their respective responsibilities.

IoF’s fundraising convention moves house

The Institute of Fundraising moved its annual fundraising convention to its swanky new digs at Barbican Centre, London, in July. As usual, the real highlight for me was the unique helpfulness of the legions of volunteers, closely followed by the many excellent, thought-provoking sessions. If you missed out, there’s plenty to read if you search for #fundraisingconvention on Twitter, and I wrote guest blog posts for UK Fundraising summarising my day one and day two experiences.

Crowdfunding news

Worth a look is the new crowdfunding report that Nesta recently published in partnership with NCVO. It’s based on interviews with UK crowdfunding platforms and a survey of more than 450 charities, community groups and social entrepreneurs; the report explores opportunities and challenges in crowdfunding for good causes. And if you need more insight into crowdfunding, check out this excellent blog post by Lucy Gower – why you should be testing crowdfunding.

NCVO consultation responses

NCVO has just put in its response to the government’s consultation on new policy directions for the Big Lottery Fund. Read Michael Birtwistle’s overview on the blog or read NCVO’s response. NCVO emphasised the need for the new directions to ensure that funding from the Big Lottery Fund remains distinct from that of government, and also highlighted some significant concerns about how the proposals could undermine this fundamental principle of lottery funding.

NCVO also recently responded to the government’s consultation on the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, calling for the eligibility requirements to be relaxed and the matching requirement dropped.

Other fundraising news

360Giving’s campaign to open up UK grants data and make grantmaking more informed and effective has received a big boost with a £745,000 award from the Big Lottery Fund. This will help the organisation to pursue its ambition for 80% of UK grants to be made openly available by 2020. It will also develop the tools to make it easy for people to access the data and support its use for greater learning and collaboration.

The UK Community Foundations has announced a second £500,000 round of its New Beginnings Fund for frontline organisations working in response to the refugee crisis. See details of how to apply for the new round (Word, 900KB).

Lloyds Bank Foundation has launched a new £1m fund to tackle sexual and domestic abuse. The focus of the funding is not on service delivery, but rather on research, influencing policy, and developing effective models and partnerships.

Local charities match fund competition

The Office for Civil Society has just launched a competition for a £250,000 pot of match funding for a single fundraising campaign to run alongside its Local Charities Day. The deadline is very short – 21 August – so you’ll have to get your application in quick!

Training and events

Worried about the financial fallout from Brexit? In Charlotte’s NCVO blog post, she highlights that a key thing charities should be doing after Brexit is review their budget. Even if your organisation does not received EU money, the economic forecast for the country is uncertain and you should plan for this.

If your income is not particularly diverse, or you do not have decent reserves, then you need to prioritise correcting that. Look at when your guaranteed money is likely to end and assess whether there is significant chance of a fall in income at that point. We have a range of free tools and resources on our website around sustainable funding, you can watch the recording of the free introductory webinar Ros Jenkins gave earlier in the year or talk about training and consultancy.

If you need support developing a funding and income strategy, then our flagship accredited course, the Certificate in Financial Sustainability has been re-vamped to run across three modules. We have also added a range of dates to choose from, so you don’t need to worry if you can’t make all the dates from the same cohort. The next dates are in September.

Do you struggle making accurate business plans? Our sustainable funding and strategy lead, Ros Jenkins, was reading the book Nudge on the way home from delivering our Turning Ideas into Income course, and realised that a lot of the behavioural psychology referenced in the book rang true for charity trading ventures.

She has pulled out a couple of the ideas that could cause your new trading idea to come unstuck and made some suggestions on how to overcome them in her new blog post, ‘Being human: It’s a challenge for starting new trading ideas’. The course she refers to next runs in October.

Our Writing successful bids course also runs again on 23 September.

You can always contact us about training or consultancy support. And if you have anything you think we should include in next month’s round-up, please do drop me a line.


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Richard Sved is an NCVO sustainable funding consultant. He has worked and volunteered in the charity sector for 25 years. He has led the fundraising function (in-house and as an interim) for six national charities, including National Literacy Trust, Leap Confronting Conflict and Girlguiding.

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