• insights

The charity and not-for-profit landscape is constantly changing and we are always developing new thinking, picking up good ideas and coming across valuable information that we like to pass on, in our mission to help our clients achieve even greater success.

This blog is our platform for sharing these insights as they arise, and engaging with the whole sector in the spirit of collectively striving towards excellence.

RobinHamilton
Robin Hamilton
8 Feb 2018, 10:41
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Learning lessons from Oxfam - To disclose or not to disclose? That is the question.

It is sad to see so many media outlets and commentators jumping on the Oxfam-bashing bandwagon – mostly with comment and posturing – so instead here is some practical advice about how to set up a framework for dealing with reputational risk – before disaster strikes.
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DavidSaint
David Saint
8 Feb 2018, 10:41
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How to diversify income

Any organisation that is dependent on one source for more than 30% of its income is at risk. Many charities are dependent on one source for 80% - 90% of their income! Diversification is the name of the game – but where to start? And how can we make sure it doesn’t all go horribly wrong? We explore some practical and pragmatic approaches.
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DavidSaint
David Saint
8 Feb 2018, 10:41
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Awards for Innovation - the fourth annual Stephen Lloyd Awards

The fourth annual Stephen Lloyd Awards are now open for entries, inviting applications from early-stage innovative projects focused on delivering real systemic social change in a sustainable manner. Entrants have an eight-week application window which closes on Friday 6 April 2018.
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DavidSaint
David Saint
8 Feb 2018, 10:41
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Procurement Obscurement?

Does your Procurement Department always get you the best deal? We share some experiences of disastrous procurement processes – and one excellent one! 
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DavidSaint
David Saint
8 Feb 2018, 10:41
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Use it or lose it policy? Plan now, to spend wisely

Don’t get caught up in the end-of-budget-year buying frenzy. Think ahead, and spend on things that will give you a head start on next year.
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DavidSaint
David Saint
8 Feb 2018, 10:41
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Recruiting your first fundraiser

If your organisation is planning to employ a fundraiser for the first time, here are some essential things to do - and some things to avoid - to maximise the chances of success.
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FeliciaWillow
Felicia
8 Feb 2018, 10:41
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Five Indications of Failing Trustee Boards

Poor trustees – always being bashed these days! But these observations, from an experienced governance consultant, will help trustees and Chief Executives take an objective look at how they are doing, and take some simple steps today that will help avoid problems tomorrow. 
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DavidSaint
David Saint
5 Dec 2017, 10:41
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Downloadable policies – just papering over the cracks?

In our increasingly complex society, we now need an astonishing array of policies to cover every conceivable (and occasionally inconceivable!) eventuality.
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DavidSaint
David Saint
5 Dec 2017, 10:41
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How to recruit a Fundraising Director

In recent issues we have considered the best approach for recruiting trustees, and Chief Executives. Now it is the turn of the Fundraising Director.
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DavidSaint
David Saint
5 Dec 2017, 10:41
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Good Merger Index Just Launched

Our partners Eastside Primetimers have published their latest Good Merger Index, a comprehensive look at charity mergers and consolidation activity.
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DavidSaint
David Saint
5 Dec 2017, 10:41
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Simple Governance Review – here’s one I prepared earlier!

Andrew Betts, Director of Advantage Africa was very quick off the mark, by turning the piece in our last issue into a self-assessment questionnaire for his trustees.
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DavidSaint
David Saint
5 Dec 2017, 10:41
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'Preference Diversity' The Essential Team Ingredient

First, what is diversity? Diversity is ‘the fact of many different types of things or people being included in something’. So how do we apply this when looking to build a successful team, or board of trustees? How do we know who to include?
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DavidSaint
David Saint
5 Dec 2017, 10:41
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How to Recruit a Chief Executive

We turn our attention to the recruitment of a Chief Executive. But surely recruitment is recruitment isn’t it? Well, yes and no. Some posts need to be handled in very particular ways – especially in the early stages.
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DavidSaint
David Saint
5 Dec 2017, 10:41
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E-cards? Bah humbug!

A big “thank you” to everyone who sent me an actual Christmas card in 2017 – and also to the handful of people who (unless they were very clever!) seem to have sent me a genuinely personal e-card.
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DavidSaint
David Saint
5 Dec 2017, 10:41
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Support for accessing Resilient Heritage grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund

The Heritage Lottery Fund is now offering Resilient Heritage grants to organisations in the UK who want to build their capacity, or achieve strategic change to improve the management of heritage.
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DavidSaint
David Saint
5 Dec 2017, 10:41
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Governance – what could possibly go wrong?

The Charity Commission recently reviewed their ‘problem cases’, and came up with a list of the nine things that trustees most commonly don’t do, that could have prevented most of those cases happening at all
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DavidSaint
David Saint
5 Dec 2017, 10:41
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How to recruit trustees

Perhaps we should start with ‘how not to recruit trustees’ – because frankly the wrong way is the most common way, yet there are some very good reasons why it’s the wrong way.
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DavidSaint
David Saint
5 Dec 2017, 10:41
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‘Taken on Trust’ research into trustees, and the Charity Commission’s response

Taken on Trust is a new report into awareness and the effectiveness of charity trustees in England and Wales. At 92 pages it is a lengthy read, but it includes a wealth of insights into the role of trustees
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DavidSaint
David Saint
3 Oct 2017, 09:41
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Insights from Italy – a pay cap formula for the Third Sector?

The annual conference of EUConsult (the European network of consultant to the not-for-profit sector) proved a wonderful opportunity for reflection, refreshment and learning, this time in the splendid surroundings of the Angelicum University in Rome.
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DavidSaint
David Saint
3 Oct 2017, 09:41
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Improving Lives, Strengthening Communities: New priorities for The Henry Smith Charity

I felt privileged to be invited to the recent launch of The Henry Smith Charity’s new funding strategy – not least because we were informed that this resulted from the Charity’s first strategic review in 400 years!
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CorinnaLoges
Corinna Loges
3 Oct 2017, 09:41
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GDPR implementation: Feeling Overwhelmed?

I recently attended the Third Sector Briefing on GDPR and was quite surprised by how many charities, according to the show of hands, admitted to not being prepared for Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect in just a few months’ time.
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DavidSaint
David Saint
3 Oct 2017, 09:41
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The £1.19m answer: Einstein’s Theory of Happiness

I was fascinated to read recently that Einstein’s ‘Theory of Happiness’ had been sold at auction for £1.19m. Spoiler alert – at the end of this piece I’m going to tell you what it is!
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KateNicholas
Kate
3 Oct 2017, 09:41
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Managing Reputation - Inoculating Against Crisis

It was Warren Buffet who once said “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it” – a statement that resonates more today than ever before; except these days when a damaging social media post can travel the world in a click of a mouse, it can only take five seconds.
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IanOReilly
Ian
30 Aug 2017, 10:41
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The Value of a Mentor

The most honest feedback I receive in life is after the final whistle is blown and I’m sitting in the pub with my mates.  For me, the feedback is often brutal as they take turns to analyse my football skills, detailing my ‘lack of pace’ in trying to keep up with the pacey 17-year-old...
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GavinSpencer
Gavin
30 Aug 2017, 10:41
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Challenge Events – An Antidote to GDPR - The Great Depression of People Raising (money)

Over the last few years I feel we have been in a ‘great depression’ within the charity sector. This has been fuelled by numerous negative media stories and more recently the introduction of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
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DavidSaint
David Saint
30 Aug 2017, 10:41
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CV Tips – From The Recruiter’s Perspective

Having recently read 79 applications for one role, and 6 for another, I have become a bit blasé about ‘passionate’, ‘committed’, ‘high achiever’, ‘driven’, ‘results orientated’ ….. you see the same words and phrases coming up again and again.
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CorinnaLoges
Corinna Loges
30 Aug 2017, 10:41
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Worried about GDPR? Keep calm and embrace the opportunity

As a former CEO of a smaller sized charity relying heavily on individual giving, I fully understand the concern felt by many small and medium sized charities regarding the implementation of the new Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and e-Privacy Regulation coming into effect in May 2018.
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TimGlynneJones
Tim Glynne-Jones
30 Aug 2017, 10:41
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Website woes? Here’s a solution

When it comes to publicising the work of your charity, a good website is essential. We hear from a lot of people who know this but feel hamstrung by cost, saying it will require £20k or more. Well, you might be encouraged to learn that our new website was designed, built and written for less than £10k.
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ClareBaker
Clare Baker
30 Aug 2017, 10:41
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Postcard from Peru

Do you remember having to do homework for your first day of the new school year: ‘What I did in my summer holidays’. Maybe 'What I learned in my summer holidays' is more valuable? Either way, I'm sure my favourite English teacher, Miss Lovatt, would say this post is 30 years' overdue.
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DavidSaint
David Saint
30 Aug 2017, 10:41
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When the problem is having too much money

This may seem an extraordinary topic to explore in a charity sector newsletter, but over the past 12 months Action Planning has worked with at least 6 organisations for whom this was a significant issue.
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DaveTyler
Dave Tyler
30 Aug 2017, 10:41
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Project management? Never heard of it…

I’ve been a professional project manager for over 20 years and freelance for about 10.  Because of that, I take it for granted that ‘project management matters’ and assume that everyone feels the same way.
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DavidSaint
David Saint
12 Jul 2017, 10:41
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When is it the right time to do a capital appeal feasibility study?

An appeal for a major capital project is not an everyday occurrence for most organisations, and if this is outside the experience of all the key people (eg trustees, senior management team) it can be very difficult to know where to start.
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