Top 10 Knowhow resources in 2018

Now that we’re back at work after the holidays, we thought it would be interesting to see what our users downloaded from our information and guidance website NCVO Knowhow in 2018. This helps us to target our support to where it’s most needed. We also thought our colleagues in infrastructure organisations would find it useful to see what resources the sector needs most.

Six of the resources are reserved for staff and volunteers of NCVO’s member organisations. We operate a ‘freemium’ model which means most of our content is free to all, but in order to provide value to NCVO members, advanced content such as templates are member-only. It was interesting to find out that a significant amount of our member-only content was among the top ten. Anyone wishing to have access to this material can become one of our 14,000+ member organisations.

Many of the top 10 items also align with our Trusted Charity quality standard (formerly known as PQASSO), which contains sections on planning, governance and managing money.

1. Legal checklist for charities

Three of the top four downloads are specific to good governance. This is not surprising given this area has been under an increased spotlight over the last couple of years.

This checklist covers the legal aspects that most voluntary organisations need to be aware of. I was not surprised to see this come out on top with 3,602 downloads in 2018. With my ‘chair of a small charity’ hat on, I find it super-helpful to have all my legal responsibilities listed in one place.

2. Campaign strategy template

In second place came our campaign strategy template which includes the main questions your campaign strategy should answer. This template is a tool to help you make essential decisions about your campaign.

NCVO does a lot of work supporting campaigning and lobbying through events and courses such as our Certificate in Campaigning. Those following our policy work will know that in 2018 we secured a clear statement from the prime minister that clauses in contracts do not prevent charities from making legitimate criticisms of government policy, and that the government would consider ways of clarifying these contracts in future.

3. Trustee skills audit

A skills audit is a way of identifying what trustees bring, and the gaps in skills and knowledge on your board. It can be useful when you’re looking to recruit new trustees.

4. Governance wheel

As part of our extensive content on charity governance, the governance wheel is a simple visual tool that helps boards quickly get a sense of how well they’re functioning and fulfilling their roles. It links to the Charity Governance Code and can be used as a starting point for reviews based on the Code.

5. PEST analysis template

PEST (political, environmental, social and technical) analysis is a planning tool for exploring the trends in the external environment that your organisation or a project may have to face. It often sits alongside a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis.

This month we will be publishing a new 2019 PEST template to accompany the launch of The Road Ahead, our annual review of the trends shaping the future of the voluntary sector.

6. Business plan template

Our extensive Knowhow section on business planning will take you through a typical charity business plan and outline what you should be writing in each section. The actual templates are member-only.

7. Example whistleblowing policy

Our information on whistleblowing is part of an extensive section on HR and employment law and outlines what legally counts as whistleblowing. It also provides a list of key points that a whistleblowing policy should cover. The template itself is member-only.

8. Financial responsibilities policy template

Two items on financial procedures were the eighth and tenth most popular, highlighting the sector’s desire to manage its money responsibly.

Our Knowhow section on writing a financial procedures manual takes you step-by-step through all the sections of a typical manual. The template itself is member-only.

9. Health and safety policy

Our health and safety content takes you through the main things that charities need to do to comply with both the law and good practice. The template policy is member-only.

10. Financial procedures manual intro template

This template is a one-page model introduction to the financial procedures manual.

We hope to further develop this body of knowledge in 2019. We invite anyone that has a specific request for something that you can’t find to get in touch and let us know what you need.

I wish you and your charity or social enterprise a successful and prosperous 2019.

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Lev Pedro Lev is our public services senior officer. His work supports voluntary organisations to succeed in tendering for public service contracts and develop consortia. He also leads on NCVO’s relationships with infrastructure organisations.

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