Funding round-up: February 2018

The Road Ahead 2018

NCVO has published its annual report, The Road Ahead, looking at the forthcoming year and the key trends that are likely to influence the operating environment of charities. The report uses a PEST analysis to outline the key drivers shaping the sector in four areas: political, economic, social and technological. In terms of economic trends, I highlight how pressure on public finances is set to continue, with potential implications for charities that rely on public sector grants and contracts, while the ongoing squeeze on disposable household income could have an impact on the levels of donations charities receieve. NCVO members can access the Road Ahead 2018 full report and non-members can download a summary.

Charity Tax Commission advisory and reference groups announced

Last year NCVO established a Charity Tax Commission to undertake a full review of charitable tax reliefs in the UK. To help ensure the work of the commission is informed by a broad range of views, experience and expertise, we’ve set up two groups that will be supporting its work: an advisory group of individuals with expertise in taxation and finance issues will provide technical feedback and advice to the commission and a reference group of senior people from across the voluntary sector will provide sector-specific insight and views.

The commission will be launching its call for evidence at the end of this month. If you would like us to let you know when the consultation is live, you can sign up here.

Government review of inheritance tax

Philip Hammond has asked the Office for Tax Simplification to review inheritance tax to make sure the system is “fit for purpose”. The chancellor wants the review to focus on technical and administrative issues, and look at gifts rules and whether the current framework distorts peoples’ investment decisions. A date for the review has not yet been announced but you can follow me on Twitter for updates as they emerge.

New government guidance on the VAT treatment of grants and contracts

HMRC has published updated guidance on the VAT treatment of grants and contracts, which sets out indicators to consider when deciding which services are eligible for VAT. Charity Finance Group (CFG) has warned that the updated guidance could be damaging to small organisations as it contradicts accepted practice in the sector, while Charity Tax Group (CTG) feel that overall it is an improvement as it provides greater clarity for charities. I’m keen hear what frontline charities think of the new guidance, so please get in touch if you have any thoughts.

Charity Tax Group will be holding an event in London on 6 March where speakers will provide analysis of the updated guidance and take questions from charities.

The Presidents Club scandal

NCVO’s Karl Wilding has written a blog post on what charities should be thinking about following the Presidents Club Scandal, including some pointers to help deal with any questions which might arise. He looks at accepting, refusing and returning donations and reminds charities to consider whether they have the right policies in place for checking where donations come from.

The Fundraising Regulator: a bitesize brief for smaller charities

NAVCA have produced a bite-sized guide to the Fundraising Regulator for small charities. The web page concentrates on areas that small charities need to consider, including complaints against small charities, the Fundraising Preference Service, and the Regulator’s approach to smaller charities.

NCVO Annual Conference

NCVO’s Annual Conference will be taking place in London on Monday 16 April – you can read the full programme here. Amongst the wide range of breakout sessions there will workshops on ‘The past, present and future of major donor fundraising’ and ‘Fundraising in an age of GDPR’.

JustGiving offering 10 fundraising conference bursaries for small charities

Ten small charities will be able to attend Third Sector’s Annual Fundraising Conference this year for just £30, with bursaries from JustGiving. Each bursary secures the selected small charity a Silver Pass to the event, which takes place on 22 and 23 May (normally costing £250). The bursaries are open to charities with a turnover of £500,000 a year or less.

Blog – Blockchain and cryptocurrency will not solve the charity sector’s problems

The Sceptical Fundraiser has written a blog post countering claims that blockchain technology is good for the sector. Reasons highlighted include it’s very hard to convert your money from a cryptocurrency to cash, it’s terrible for the environment and it won’t solve the problems associated with donor trust.

The latest from NCVO’s Funding Central

Sport England is inviting local community organisations and sports clubs to apply for funding to enhance spaces in their local communities that give people the opportunity to be active. £15 million is available annually to support projects which create or improve opportunities to play sport and get active in local communities. You can find more information on Funding Central (you won’t need a subscription to see this!)

The RBS group’s Skill and Opportunities funds (£) opens for a new round of applications on 5 February with a deadline of 23 Feb. Funding is available across the UK and Ireland for projects in disadvantaged communities that help people start a new business or increase financial capability.

Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is inviting expressions of interest to a New Food Waste Reduction Fund (£), which aims to help avoid surplus food produced by food businesses from becoming waste, by enabling not-for-profit organisations across England to redistribute more of this food to people in need. The new £500,000 fund is being administered by WRAP on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

To access more information on thousands of grants, contracts and social investment and keep up-to-date with all the latest news, deadlines and funding opportunities from around the sector subscribe to NCVO’s Funding Central.

Upcoming training

Outcome and Impact Measurement 2 March 2018

Developing Your Theory of Change 6 March 2018

Writing successful bids 23 March 2018

Data protection reform – an introduction to the GDPR for the voluntary sector 23 March and 13 April 2018


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Avatar photo Paul joined NCVO over seven years ago after working for a leading public affairs agency. Since then he’s led our policy work on a variety of issues, including welfare-to-work reforms, volunteering, the Compact, public service commissioning and procurement regulations. He now leads our work on funding and finance with a particular focus on charity tax relief and safeguarding EU funding post-Brexit.

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