Resources for organisations

Here you’ll find some resources which may address your concerns, or start you on your journey of discovery.

All sessions are free, and anything discussed will be kept confidential.

Safeguarding

Crucial for all charities, not just those working with groups traditionally considered at risk, a thorough, well-developed safeguarding policy is a vital component of your organisation’s policy suite. A clear, well-planned policy will outline your commitment to protecting your clients, employees and volunteers and will also demonstrate how your procedures will protect them from harm. It should also outline the process you have in place for reporting and recording concerns and incidents.

Remember, safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility and when creating your policy it’s a good idea to involve your staff so that they can understand the issues that arise and what to do. It’s also worth bearing in mind the principles set out in the Care Act of 2014, designed to help protect vulnerable adults. These are:

  • Empowerment 
    Ensuring people are supported and confident in making their own decisions and giving informed consent.
  • Prevention 
    It is better to take action before harm occurs
  • Protection 
    Giving support to those who need it
  • Proportionality 
    Providing the least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented
  • Partnership
    Working closely with community organisations can decrease risk as they can assist in preventing and detecting abuse
  • Accountability 
    Being accountable and offering complete transparency in safeguarding solutions will ensure an organisational mind-set that puts safeguarding at the forefront

When designing your policy it is also important to state your intent – in other words your commitment to ensuring that clients, staff and volunteers are protected from all forms of abuse. Remember to be clear on what constitutes abuse and think about the organisational processes that will need to be put in place to report and deal with concerns. Once your policy is complete make sure staff receive appropriate guidance on their role. Include the policy in training and ask everyone to sign it to say they have read and understood it.

Read more in Barnet Council’s Safeguarding Adults Board’s guest post on ‘Safeguarding Checklist for Adults (for the Voluntary, Community and Faith Sector)‘ which provides more links and insights, plus a checklist for you to develop your own Safeguarding policy.

Coming soon:  MASH-VCS Safeguarding Lead Forum, an informal, open space where VCS Safeguarding Leads can ask questions and discuss challenges or ideas with the Adult MASH team from Barnet Council and each other, to promote better communication and confident best practice.

Impact and evaluation

Demonstrating the impact your organisation has is an increasingly important part of fundraising applications, and can also help you fine-tune your service based on robust evidence of what works. Sharpening your awareness of the value of impact and evaluation can help you deliver better services, plan more soundly and get your staff behind you with better morale and increased productivity.

Measuring Up is a free step-by-step assessment tool from Inspiring Impact enabling you to evidence the difference your organisation makes.

Impact Reporting is a cloud-based tool that provides a quick and easy way of reporting social impact. 

The Impact and Insight Toolkit is available from the Arts Council. It’s specifically designed to help organisations understand how well their work intentions align with the experience of their peers and the public.

Once you have gathered impact data this resource from the NPC can show you how best to communicate your story.

The Impact Support website. More than 100 charities and social enterprises shared their ideas for tools to collect, analyse and present data. A wealth of resources will also help you understand what is and isn’t working and what to do about it.

This guidance from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations will not only help you choose your data collection methods but also show the most effective ways of using your findings.

Starting to Measure your Impact. This paper is part of a programme that aims to make impact and measurement the norm for community organisations by 2022.

Reports and publications

Staying on top of sector developments will not only enhance your knowledge and strengthen  your organisational strategy, it will also increase your chances of successful project delivery.

Stronger Charities for a Stronger Society is a publication from the House of Lords considering issues related to the sustainability of charities and the challenges of charity governance.

The Future of Giving. This report from Barclays gives key trends in giving for the UK’s charity sector.

Commissioner Perspectives on Working with the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector was commissioned by the Department of Health to show how local authorities chose to engage with the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector.

Whatever next? Public Engagement in 2022 provides insight into how charities can continue to successfully engage supporters in a fast-changing world.

Governance

Good governance supports both compliance with the law and with relevant regulations so it pays to put time and effort into making sure your governance is up-to-date, thorough and effective.

The Charity Governance Code is a practical accessible tool to help both charities and their trustees develop high standards of governance.

The Resource Centre provides guidance for any not-for-profit group looking for information on choosing a legal structure.

All organisations need policies and procedures to guide their day-to-day activities and governance. Small Charity Support has a comprehensive range of templates including becoming a trustee, large legacies & donations and a reserves policy.

Be clear on what is required of a charity trustee with this comprehensive guidance from The Charity Commission.

If you are setting up a charity you will need to follow these six key steps as outlined by the Government’s step-by-step guide to setting up a charity.

Social Enterprise UK takes you through the essentials of setting up a social enterprise.

Bid writing

It’s of no surprise that increasing competition for funds has led to funders turning down proposals for projects they once would have accepted. However, there are a number of ways to ensure your proposal has the best possible chance of success. Research, a compelling argument, as well as clear evidence there’s a need for your project will go a long way to elevating your proposal, particularly if you can show your organisation to be credible and capable of success.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) offers a free and practical guide to writing funding applications.

The Resource Centre provides general guidelines for funding applications as well as how to write a letter of application and how to complete an application form.

The Directory of Social Change gives its 5 top tips for proposal writing.

Give yourself a winning chance with Writing Successful Bids a low-cost introductory course from the School for Social Entrepreneurs aimed at people who would like to learn some of the core principles for writing successful grant and funding applications.

Human resources

Clear, consistent policies are at the heart of every workplace, ensuring that staff know what’s expected of them and that managers know how to respond. Find policy templates, free HR advice and employment guides from the following resources.

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) provides a wealth of free, impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. Help is available on their A-Z advice pages. They also have a comprehensive online help facility. If you can’t find the answer to your HR query online, you can call the ACAS helpline number 0300 123 1100. Monday to Friday 8am-6pm.

The Small Charities Coalition has a wealth of HR resources with free, downloadable guides on topics such as the Pension Auto-Enrolment Scheme, Employing Someone New and An Employer’s Guide to the Employment Tribunal.

Voluntary Action Islington has a full suite of downloadable HR resources including policy templates for Complaints, Confidentiality, Data Protection, Health and Safety, Lone Working and a Trustee Code of Conduct. 

Populo is a social enterprise providing low-cost, high quality HR advice and a free helpline 07584 731420 between 10am-midday on Wednesdays.

Finance

A sound financial structure is pivotal to success no matter what the size of your organisation, and it is well worth seeking guidance. The following organisations provide financial guidance specifically tailored towards community organisations.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO). This is a membership organisation which can help you with a diverse range of financial topics including (but not limited to) financial responsibilities, controls on financial assets, record keeping, budgetary control and investment. They also publish a comprehensive manual on managing your organisation’s finances, The Good Guide to Financial Management. The NCVO is a membership organisation and fees are based on your charity’s gross annual income. Less than 30k a year is free. Between £100,000-£500,000 costs £164.

The Community Accountancy Self-Help organisation CASH-ONLINE produces a series of financial factsheets specifically for small charities. Topics include (but are not limited to); An Introduction to Charity TaxPreparing for an Audit or Independent ExaminationPayroll and Pensions & Bank Reconciliations. The organisation also offers training and low-cost accountancy services.

The Charity Commission has accounts templates available for charities with an income of less than £500,000 a year.

Marketing and Communications

Effectively engaging audiences and raising positive awareness of your work is key to both the short and long-term success of any community project. Learn to create compelling communications, make the most of social media and get tips for staying on top of new marketing trends and developments with help from the following organisations.

The Media Trust supports charities to build their communications skills offering an online resource hub providing key information on brand identity, social media, digital fundraising and much more.

The Directory of Social Change will help you draw up your marketing plan with its downloadable guide Marketing and Communication Skills for Small Charities

Making the most of social media is the focus of this guide from CharityComms. The guide is free but you need to enter your email address to download.

Get boardroom backing for your marketing and communications strategy with this information from CharityComms on how to talk to trustees about communications. 

Ensuring your communications activities and your organisation as a whole is GDPR compliant is now a must.  Follow these tips from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) to ensure you’re compliant with new legislation.

Online surveys are a quick and easy way to obtain valuable insight and new perspectives on your work. Try the following:

Survey Monkey

Wufoo Surveys

Quicktap Survey

Prezi is a popular presentation tool 

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