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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?
Charities working towards the reduction of casualties on the road can join police forces, fire and rescue services and local authorities in applying for funding from the Road Safety Trust.
One year after the publication of the Government’s landmark Loneliness Strategy, which outlined almost 60 commitments to end loneliness, Minister for Civil Society Baroness Barran has announced a new £2million fund to help organisations.
Charities working to provide healthcare to disadvantaged adults and children in the UK can apply for one of a number of grants of £10,000 to £40,000 from health plan provider Simplyhealth.
A new Carers Innovation Fund has been launched to help finance innovative ways of supporting unpaid carers.
A new fund has been launched to support charities that are helping to reskill people whose industries have been affected by automation.
Charities with a turnover of under £1m are invited to apply for funding from the Aviva Community Fund
Being the CEO of a charitable organisation is exceptionally rewarding, but also uniquely demanding. Many of the challenges we face may sound familiar to corporate leaders too, but the differences are of huge significance.
The lockdown and absence from buildings will have hit some churches harder than others. Yes, some will have included a "give now" link in Zoom and YouTube services but many will not have done, and of those that have, some will have gained a greater response than others.
With polls showing a general reluctance among UK workers to return to their old commute and office-based routines, online video calls are clearly here to stay.
As you begin the new year, don’t forget to prioritise…”
The word “challenging” keeps coming up. If challenging means “different” then it has certainly been challenging. But does that necessarily mean difficult?
It is lonely and tough at the top. A charity CEO’s role requires tremendous reserves of resilience and can often leave the CEO feeling isolated without good personal support.
Over the past year I’ve noticed that charities are starting to see the real value and importance of gathering insight and intelligence from their key audiences – whether they are beneficiaries, supporters or stakeholders.
How many times have you told yourself you’d write that piece of copy to kickstart a campaign or galvanise your support base… and never quite got round to it? A copywriter will push you through that mental barrier and get the job started.
Although you’re a leader, you’re also a member of a team, so walk with your team. If you want everyone coming into the office to connect, then connect. If you work better at home, then they probably do too, so why are you asking them to come in?
Good Governance is not just a tick box exercise, it’s a way to show that you are well run and a good place to give support.
Suzy Lamplugh Trust
Anglican Communion Office
Anglican Communion Office
Together We Learn
I love the voluntary sector in this country. I’ve worked for and alongside charities for over 20 years and have infinite stories of the passion undertaken every day by people across the country.
Church of England Pensions Board
There are so many reasons for organisations to celebrate their own ‘Harvest Festival’, and those that do put their busy missions on pause to reflect and give thanks reap numerous benefits.
Greenfields Evangelical Church, Swansea
Clergy Support Trust
Clergy Support Trust
A Whole New Goal: The Lacrosse Foundation
As you go about your day today and the rest of your week, look out for the kindness shown to you and give thanks.
Now in its 10th year, the Stephen Lloyd Awards is an invaluable catalyst for bright ideas.
On Tuesday 20th October, 2020, we celebrated 30 years of service to the third sector with an online party, complete with wine, nibbles, party hats and over 60 guests assembled from our charity and not-for-profit clientele.
Action Planning has an extensive team of outstanding and highly-experienced Consultants. This month we are delighted to introduce – and welcome - one of the newest members of our network, former Oxfam CEO Mark Goldring.
See the results here for Action Planning’s Three Minute Survey for Charity CEOs
Charity leaders often question the value of consultants. “We need to raise more money, not spend more!” This anecdote explains why fundraising consultants are worth their weight in gold.
Crowthorne Baptist Church
Addressing the responsibilities of the modern trustee: Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Fundraising Consultant
Fundraising and Market Consultant
Fundraising Consultant
Organisational Psychologist & Career Coach
2019 has been a really exciting year for fundraising. Despite the challenges fundraisers face, I feel that they have shown incredible grit and resilience in 2019.
Colette Bennett from the Charity Commission recently presented at Faith Charities Forum, an excellent event held by Civil Society.
Small charities tend to have a healthy respect for digital communications. If you’re small, you know you need to punch above your weight, and you know that the right digital tools can enable you to do that.
Fundraising Consultant
Fundraising Expert
Senior Consultant
Marketing Consultant
"Andrew Johnson – Using Campaigns to Drive Engagement" Seminar Video from Action Planning's 30th anniversary online party!
Charity Consultant
Governance and Communications Consultant
Fundraising Consultant
Senior Strategy Professional
Executive & Systemic Team Coach
Major Giving Consultant
Diocese of Chelmsford
Applications for the People’s Postcode Lottery Dream Fund opened this week.
Embrace the Middle East
Problem solving is an important attribute for any charity leader, or indeed consultant.
Are you a charity that helps women enter the workplace? If so, you may wish to join forces with Futures for Women to help disadvantaged women in the UK attain their career ambitions and become financially independent.
Arts Council England has set up a fund worth £160million to ensure the people and organisations that make up our arts, museums and libraries are protected during the coronavirus crisis.
Faith in Later Life
St Mary’s Church, Bloxham
Due to the impact of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, today’s job market is highly volatile. Some industries face crippling labour shortages whilst others face numerous applications to a select numbers of roles...
Fundraising Consultant
Let's all pull together
New Year is the perfect time to ‘health check’ not just ourselves, but our charities too. And what better way than with an awayday? Action Planning Associate Karen Morton tells us how we can “hold the space”.
Office Manager
Better messaging to a remote audience: Shropshire Rural Communities Charity
Increase the chances of success
Funders receive tens, if not hundreds, of applications – how can you make yours stand out? We asked some of our experienced fundraising consultants for their tips on putting together winning bids.
This past decade of austerity and cuts in publicly funded services has seen churches stepping in to fill the gaps
Social Media Consultant
Present your personality
British Small Animals Veterinary Association
Anglican Diocese of Oxford
Anglican Diocese of Oxford
Middle East media
Brandon Trust
Middle East Media
What does relationship fundraising look like in today’s world? And how should charities be balancing short-term need with lifetime value? By putting our supporters first, argues Emily Petty, valuing every way they engage with us and focusing on the experiences that they have.
Aid to the Church in Need
And how can charities build on the outcomes of COP28 to continue driving forward measures to curb global warming and protect the natural environment?
The Salvation Army
To celebrate its 85th birthday, gas company Calor has increased the value of its Rural Communities Fund to £85,000, which it will divide into 22 prizes.
We can often find ourselves in tricky positions within the workplace, whether it’s going through a time of change, such as a merger or restructure, financial difficulty or simply losing focus. Having someone come alongside you with the skills and experience to help you pick your way through the issue, to enable you to become a stronger, more resilient organisation, enabling you to better serve your beneficiaries, is a real blessing.
At the end of what has been a tough year for most charities and an existential one for some, it is all the more important to have some festivities planned for the team. Action Planning turned 30 this year and we had big plans for a roof-top party with socially enterprised catering in sunny May. Like so many other events, it was postponed...
Capital appeal feasibility study: Weston Park Cancer Charity
Churches looking to rekindle a capital appeal project in the wake of lockdown can increase their chances of success with the help of Action Planning.
Approach big challenges methodically
Carbon Capture and Storage Association
Associate Consultant
"Carol Akiwumi– Challenge Your Most Cherished Fundraising Ideas" Seminar Video from Action Planning's 30th anniversary online party!
Charity Fundraising Consultant
Bumblebee Conservation Trust
Your charity has survived the last two years. You have shown enormous resilience, quickly adapting to virtual services, a partly or fully home-working workforce, furloughs, new health and safety measures, changing your office space, seeking new funders and much more.
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)
“We need to continue the journey from seeing diversity as a ‘hygiene factor’ to striving for diversity as a ‘success factor’. The Charity Governance Code helps trustees understand how they can do this.”
Action Planning provides a trusts bid writing service for many charity clients, saving money, and time, by preparing carefully targeted, well researched and tightly written applications.
Working in the voluntary sector, we spend most of our time thinking about and helping others - it’s in the job description, after all! Just occasionally however, maybe we should take a moment to really think about what we do and the good that we do for charity. And give ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back. Not often of course… maybe just once a year, at Christmas!
How many women do you have on your board or senior leadership team? The answer for most charities is, not enough.
All of us, obviously, want things to go smoothly at our charity; but what to do when things go wrong? How we handle a crisis could well mean make or break. Expert Felicia Willow gives her ‘five priorities’ to best manage a crisis – and come out the other side!
Before the word “pandemic” was a part of everyday conversation, you might have attended the odd IT skills course, learning how to create a better Excel spreadsheet or get the most out of your LinkedIn network. For many of us though, 2020/21 has been a crash course in becoming more digitally savvy, primarily learning on the job.
I thought it might be useful to share my insights as a festival organiser to help charities like yours identify how they can make the most of all these summer events.
A good review isn’t as simple as pointing out the differences between best practice and reality.
Charities and not-for-profit organisations that work with disadvantaged youngsters can now apply for grants of up to £10,000 per year for up to three years from the BBC Children in Need Small Grants programme.
With Easter falling so early this year (fun fact – there will be another Valentine’s/Ash Wednesday mash up in five years’ time), there is more unbroken time in the calendar before the summer break.
Action Planning has worked with hundreds of Christian charities and churches over the years, and one of the themes that frequently emerges is that it is really hard to raise funds for Christian causes.
Do you suffer from a level of nervousness when it comes to talking about your Christian identity as an organisation? If so, you are not alone. In an increasingly secular environment, being up front about the fact that you are followers of Christ can be quite a daunting prospect.
If you’re a charity wanting to speak to churches, take into account their seasonal priorities.
One of Action Planning’s regular training seminars, the event focussed on how churches can practically approach a capital fundraising appeal of any size. Here, Sean explains some of the main learning points that arose from the day.
Action Planning recently had the privilege of working with three churches across Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. Each church will modernise their building to become more accessible for the congregation and the community that they serve.
Senior Consultant
Fundraising Consultant
Fundraising Consultant
Sensory Services by Sight for Surrey
Organisations involved in tackling climate change will soon be able to apply for funding from The National Lottery Community Fund. The UK’s biggest funder of community activity has launched a new £100 million Climate Action Fund.
Community groups in Wales have two more weeks to apply for funding from the new £1million Co-Op Foundation fund.
Co-op Foundation, the charity arm of the grocery chain, is partnering with the #iwill Fund to offer grants of up to £35,000 to support projects that enable young people to provide support for their peers making the transition from primary to secondary school.
You're good, but could you be better?
Clarifying a CEO’s needs and expectations: london institute for contemporary christianity (licc)
As a not for profit leader you probably feel under siege at the moment. Covid-19 may be impacting your income, operations and your staff, not to mention your family and friends. The world has turned upside down and – even when this is over – may never be the be the same again.
Make your communications compelling
Compelling findings from recent donor research
Cambridge University Assistants’ Contributory Pension Scheme
Local community projects in London are being offered the opportunity to apply for match funding of up to £10,000, thanks to a joint initiative between Crowdfunder and Trust for London.
Northwood African Education Foundation
Navigating consultancy options is a potential minefield for any sized charity. When you’re small and money is very tight, it can seem like an unjustifiable gamble.
Every charity situation is different; every individual responds to crisis in different ways; and every individual will be affected by the current crisis in different ways – personally and professionally.
As fundraisers, we all know how difficult it is to get through the door of a corporate. So when we do, it’s crucial we use the opportunity effectively. Fundraising expert Layla Moosavi Rivers tells us how to prepare to succeed.
Oxford Diocese
I’ve been reflecting a lot on all that’s hidden at the moment, when we’re dispersed and working from home. How important it is to check in regularly with people. Conversations can only happen on Zoom or the phone or Skype, and I’m wondering how much important stuff about ‘how we are’ – how people are actually experiencing this and managing to work – is being missed.
Do you struggle to get noticed by the right people?
Citizens Advice Craven & Harrogate District
Citizens Advice Craven & Harrogate District
Do an away day badly and you risk your efforts backfiring. You risk making the wrong decisions and setting the wrong path. You risk damaging relationships and trust. And you risk setting up your charity to fail.
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.
Management Consultant & Mentor
"David Bull CBE – Top 5 Questions Trustees Should Ask Staff" Seminar Video from Action Planning's 30th anniversary online party!
Senior Consultant
Fundraising Consultant
Specialist Charity Lawyer
Market Research Consultant
Finance Consultant
Individual Giving Consultant
Fundraising Consultant
Bid Writing Consultant
Research and develop a retention strategy for care home staff: Pilgrims’ Friend Society
Develop a long term sustainable strategic plan: Family Support Work
Develop a communications strategy: The Richmond Charities
The benefits of building a culture that values monitoring, evaluation and learning in your organisation are huge.
Develop a fundraising and marketing strategy: Every Child a Musician
Develop the International Board: Mission Without Borders International
Clergy Support Trust
Gain access to a wider market
Directing the way forward: St Francis Leprosy Guild
Getting together to give is not new. People have acted collectively to donate their money or time for generations. But over the last decade there has been renewed interest in “giving circles”. Philanthropy specialist Rob John discusses why this is important for the charity sector.
The impact of the pandemic on your staff may be yet to kick in. Prepare now for a future full of surprises.
In our increasingly complex society, we now need an astonishing array of policies to cover every conceivable (and occasionally inconceivable!) eventuality.
Action Planning Consultant
Charity Fundraising Consultant
Associate Consultant
"Emma Insley – Impact Accelerating Your Fundraising" Seminar Video from Action Planning's 30th anniversary online party!
One of your charity Trustees (or ex-Trustees) may seem like the perfect candidate to join your staff team. However, as expert Felicia Willow explains as she ‘navigates the minefield’, employing Trustees is not straightforward, and in some cases not even possible.
Friends International
Impact and Evaluation specialist, campaign consultant
Northgate Church
The Fundraising Regulator
The Sheppard Trust
The UK’s biggest online match funding campaign, The Christmas Challenge from The Big Give, has extended its deadline for applications by a week to next Friday, 19th July.
Customer and Supporter Experience specialist
Fundraising can feel alien in a Christian environment. It feels a lot easier to ask people to pray for support rather than ask directly for money. Don’t get me wrong, prayer is vital and we need prayer support, but Jesus didn’t just pray, he acted, and he calls us to act too. So why is it so difficult to ask for money?
Get organised, Do that one thing, Learn something new, Ask questions, Take a day of rest, Recharge, Reconnect, Go walking, Volunteer.
I have just passed the one year anniversary of leaving a permanent role to become a freelance consultant in the charity sector. I didn’t celebrate it in the way I had perhaps expected, as it was the same day the UK went into ‘lockdown’ due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Governance & Strategy Consultant
"Felicia Willow – Managing Crisis Using an Interim CEO's Approach" Seminar Video from Action Planning's 30th anniversary online party!
It’s August, it’s Summer and it’s too hot to be thinking about recruitment. Right? Wrong! With one of the peak times of year for recruitment only a few weeks away, charities should already be starting to think about and getting ready to hire the best and hottest new candidates.
Associate Consultant
Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Look after yourself and your team. Stay positive. And celebrate every success that comes from your efforts.
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. 
Kathryn Kendall explores five reasons why your grant application for your charity was unsuccessful... In an ideal grant funding world you would receive a helpful letter, perhaps even a phone consultation, from a funder after your application has been declined.
You have an incredible opportunity this Easter – an opportunity to love your donors, remind them how amazing they are and grow your income.
Almost every organisation will say that its people are its greatest asset. And yet far too many organisations pay lip service to ‘training and development’. Top athletes achieve astonishing feats – often more than they themselves believed possible, and often because of the support of their coach. How much more could your people achieve if properly coached? And what is coaching anyway?
In late September we had a lovely week on holiday in Falmouth. But a couple of days before leaving home in Milton Keynes, I couldn’t be sure we were going. I was still desperately looking for fuel to be sure that I could make the journey without fear of running dry.
Funding planning study for 2020 Lambeth Conference: The Anglican Communion
Berkeley Castle Charitable Trust
The Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund is offering grants worth up to £250,000 to support the development of existing collections, held by an accredited museum or partnership.
For small charities, especially those that had the foresight to invest in a Golden Bond (or two), it can be a lifeline.
Andrew Barton's six actionable fundraising resolutions that could pay dividends in 2021. Fundraising is so critical to your organisation that it does deserve some priority.
If you’re in the throws of leading a charity or social enterprise, it can feel hard to justify carving out the space to pause and review your fundraising strategy or toolkit.
Keeping a Fundraising Plan on Track: wycliffe bible translators
Maintaining a Steady Hand: british tinnitus association
Firm foundations for a fundraising strategy: Friends International
Have confidence in your fundraising plans
Fundraising strategy training and development day for whole fundraising team: WPCC
There are many principles from the INGO world that can be helpful as you respond to coronavirus.
Helping a global charity find its local voice: JMM
Back in January we published a case study on our work with Futures For Women, helping the 160-year-old charity to examine its relevance today and establish a vision and mission that would carry the charity forward with renewed vigour. Last week, we heard from FFW secretary Jane Hampson with some encouraging news.
Funders receive tens, if not hundreds, of applications – how can you make yours stand out? We asked some of our experienced fundraising consultants for their tips on putting together winning bids.
Three focus areas to add to your planning. Where we cannot change difficult times ahead, we can be prepared and work collaboratively, supporting one another through them.
Jasmine House
Sending your stuff or making an AirBnB booking isn’t the best way to make your support count. We see it time and time again: disaster strikes (or in this case, a brutal invasion) and people want to act. They feel powerless and are desperate to help.
Discover the most important parts of what makes for good governance in a charity, along with an absolute top tip which never fails to deliver.
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
Understanding the real objective: Highway Trust
Passing control from a founder to a board: RNW
Achieve alignment in your leadership
Organisations that help to cut food waste by redistributing surplus food to people in need are being invited to apply for grants from a new round of DEFRA funding.
The Government’s pledge to roll out 5G to the UK’s rural communities has been backed up by a £30million prize fund. Up to 10 5g research and development projects will be chosen for funding over the next two years.
Fundraising Consultant
The National Churches Trust (NCT) Cornerstone Grants programme provides grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 to help fund urgent structural repairs and modernisation work.
The War Memorials Trust is offering grants of up to £30,000 towards the protection and conservation of war memorials throughout the UK.
The relationship between the Chair and the CEO is crucial. Equally crucial is the relationship between the Chair and the wider board. I could not have wished for a more supportive Chair.
Is your organisation looking for new funding streams but knocking up against a cultural resistance to selling? Action Planning Consultant and earned income specialist Ruth Dwight offers her tips for instilling a charitable sales mindset.
Nesta Challenges is inviting charities and social enterprises to bid for grants from a £1m fund, called the Tech to Connect Challenge, launched to help the development of tech-based solutions to social isolation.
Strategy Consultant
Over the past year I’ve noticed that charities are starting to see the real value and importance of gathering insight and intelligence from their key audiences – whether they are beneficiaries, supporters or stakeholders.
How do you feel about strategy as a Christian? There are some within the Church who see strategy as an alien and purely secular concept – a no-go zone for followers of Christ.
Coach & Facilitator
Fundraising Consultant
Help create a high-performing Board: Weston Park Cancer Charity
West Berkshire Training Consortium
Northwood African Education Foundation
Care Ashore - Salary benchmarking
Just Farmers
Commonweal Housing
Imperial Health Charity
Global Hope Network International, UK
CO2 Value Europe
Lichfield Cathedral
Lichfield Cathedral
Transforming Places Through Heritage is a £15million grant programme from the Architectural Heritage Fund, aimed at supporting charities and social enterprises to develop projects creating alternative uses for redundant or underused historic buildings in town centres.
We identified five of the big challenges facing charities in 2022 – issues that are not always fundraising-specific, but which are, nevertheless, important to funders and, therefore, need to be factored into the grants fundraising strategy of organisations across all fields.
The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) is running a competition for collaborations, including charities, to develop products, services and business models which support people as they age, and demonstrate how they will be adopted at scale.
Setting organisational strategy is often complex and can seem like an impenetrable task. Basic questions like “Where do we start?” and “Who should be involved?” can often prevent progress in getting going. Considering priorities, goals and long-term objectives without looking through the lens of the current operation can also be a challenge, which can limit strategy development to operational performance improvement.
I’d like to talk to you today about dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity in the current crisis. In a lot of leadership development programmes we talk about navigating through a VUCA world – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous
Impact can be a little Marmite: some embrace it as the core of everything they do; others push it away as a vague concept they find difficult to define.
We live in very challenging times. Right now, coronavirus is forcing individuals to self-isolate and organisations to reduce face-to-face contact, both of which could have a real impact on charity productivity and their ability to deliver outcomes.
How charities can bridge the gap in Black and Asian representation on trustee boards
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.
How should you handle requests for flexible working? What are your employees’ rights in this area, and what are yours? Here’s everything you need to know.
The cost of living crisis isn’t showing any immediate signs of improving, with the IMF predicting that the UK will be the only major economy to shrink in 2023.
There is a feeling in some places that the COVID Crisis has now passed and that normality has returned in full. Others take the view that there is still some way to go and, until global cases are reduced, it is foolish to relax our guard. There may be merit in both extremes.
Good directors are hard to find in any circumstances, but for a Christian charity that requires candidates to be practising Christians who accept the organisation’s faith statement, the field is narrowed drastically.
For most organisations, major capital projects are not common occurrences – they only come along perhaps once every five to ten years. From a fundraising perspective, what’s the best way to prepare for this, in particular to ensure that ongoing revenue...
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.
In recent issues we have considered the best approach for recruiting trustees, and Chief Executives. Now it is the turn of the Fundraising Director.
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.
This article offers a process to help you select a development partner that’s right for your charity, maximising the chances of getting the best website to raise funds and further your mission.
In case you missed it, Friday 2nd of February was Groundhog Day, a date that has become synonymous with repetition, thanks to the film of that name starring Bill Murray.
Talented interim leaders will have a role to play in a range of organisations as we emerge into the ‘new’ future. Our sector, like many, is full of change and uncertainty and an interim CEO who can hold the reins long enough to establish stability and score some quick wins is invaluable.
Flexible help for any challenging people problems
What is supporter experience and why is it so important? Action Planning Consultant Ian O’Reilly explains what supporter experience is all about and why it matters
Part 2: Why we should be focusing on supporter experience more than ever. In the second of two articles, Action Planning Consultant Ian O’Reilly considers the importance of supporter experience in the light of COVID-19.
Trustees are there to guide, not take the day-to-day decisions. The last two years through the pandemic have made us, as a board, take a more involved role to support the Chief Exec and the staff in running the charity. So, how have we fared?
Don't be afraid to ask
Individual giving audit: Weston Park Cancer Charity
Short term solutions
On International Women’s Day, we asked Action Planning Associate Consultants how the day resonated with them. Here’s what they said.
What does Biblical fundraising look like and can asking for funds ever be regarded as a ministry? Jesus, of course, had a great deal to say about money.
To innovate is to make changes within an established structure by introducing new meth-ods, ideas or products. Charitable organisations will change incrementally almost every time funding alters, as the structure shifts. These changes happen to ensure the charity is meeting the needs of its beneficiaries.
Interim CEO posts can be a high-impact and effective use of resources for charities of all sizes, but the opportunities are sometimes resisted due to the higher costs of skilled interim leaders.
Looking back over 2019 as an HR consultant working with a range of different clients, there have been a number of key themes that have driven the people management agenda in the last 12 months.
NCVO/Bates Wells Trustee Conference 2019 is taking place on Monday 4th November in the City of London and we’ll be there, amongst around 400 trustees and executives from across the charity sector.
Charity Consultant
Project Manager
"Karen Morton – Future Gazing" Seminar Video from Action Planning's 30th anniversary online party!
Management Consultant
Lead Consultant
"Kate Nicholas – Communicating for Recovery" Seminar Video from Action Planning's 30th anniversary online party!
Associate Consultant
Over two years after the start of the pandemic, we still find ourselves in uncertain times. However, whilst we may not be able to predict the future, when it comes to Human Resources (HR) we are able to identify some current key trends which have the potential to impact upon employers. In this blog, we provide an overview.
One of the most important parts of strategy development is the identification of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), against which we can measure our success. As management consultant Peter Drucker famously pointed out, you can’t manage what you don’t measure, and good KPIs are an essential tool for motivating and guiding your organisation.
Communications Strategy Consultant
Church of England
Senior Consultant
Hubris is a puffed up and excessive version of the sin of pride that our creator so abhors because it denies the fundamental truth that we are made to be in relationship.
As a charity CEO for 32 years, I have been through crises before. Here are five things to think about.
If you are a charity CEO, you know you can’t do it all by yourself. Which is why the Leadership Team is so important. The most effective organisations are led by a committed, unified team sharing responsibility for the whole. Expert David Bull tells us why – and how to make your leadership team the best!
Leadership expert John C Maxwell defines leadership as “influence, nothing more, nothing less”, but influencers are also influenced.
After 25 years working in NGOs, and for the past 13 as Executive Director of Women for Women International, I am now outside of any organisational structure. This has given me space and time to reflect on some of the great challenges that I believe our sector faces.
We might never have seen anything like this; I’ve certainly never lived through anything quite like it. But others have those people hit by famine, earthquakes and tsunamis; those in Syria bombed and besieged by their own government...
Having led a number of large charities, most relevantly Oxfam, in responding to disasters around the world, as well as it’s own internal challenges, I want to offer an observation that might help those of us supporting others to rise to the challenge of leading their organisations in the current crisis.
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.
Charities in the North of England can apply for a share of a £100,000 fund pot from a partnership of Northern Gas Networks (NGN), Northern Powergrid and Leeds Community Foundation.
Legacies are an important source of funding, yet more than half of charitable bequests are left by previously ‘unknown’ donors. Lucky? For the charity, yes. But effective legacy fundraising is about much more than luck. We look at the potential for your charity to develop a long-term, sustainable legacy fundraising strategy.
"Linda Turton – Making Your Finance Funder Friendly" Seminar Video from Action Planning's 30th anniversary online party!
Lloyds Bank Foundation has announced its last round of Enable grants, offering up to £15,000 to help charities develop or trial new approaches to service delivery.
A new fund coordinated by London Funders has been set up to support London’s civil society groups affected by covid-19.
Can you believe the London Marathon has been running for 40 years? Over that time it has raised millions for charitable causes.
Long-term planning for a community gem: GRACE
It’s that time again, to produce the next long-term plan for your organisation. We all know the drill: engage stakeholders, set objectives and milestones to be met at every critical stage, agree resourcing, delegate responsibilities and set the organisation off, like a well-oiled machine, to achieve everything we’ve planned for the next five years.
Fundraising & Bid Writing Consultant
Build supportive relationships
UK Fundraising
While management is often described as the coordination and organisation of business activities to meet a defined purpose, the management of people is not always valued. Yet as Action Planning Consultant Eleanor Mitchell explains, it is the people within an organisation that create its success.
When the world locked down in 2020, we were forced to abandon working practices that had been the norm and rapidly adapt to new ways of working – ways that had been pioneered by the more go-ahead organisations but were not as yet widely trusted.
Felicia Willow is an experienced interim CEO but the lockdown has thrown up challenges that even she hasn’t had to deal with before. Watch Felicia’s short video highlighting five valuable tips for managing a team you’ve never met when you can’t get together in person.
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.
Managing people’s performance is one of the key issues facing any charity. After all, in most cases the people are the charity. If, however, your organisation is faced with underperformance issues, HR professional Tracy Madgwick advises on how to manage these effectively.
Fundraising Consultant
Market research to inform expansion of service: Family Support Work
Who do you think you are talking to?
Assessing feasibility for expansion plan: St Mary’s Cogges
Clarifying a CEO's Needs and Expectations: LICC
Marketing and Communications in small charities has its own particular challenges and requirements. Expert Layla Moosavi advises that it’s about going back to basics, knowing your audience, reviewing your strengths and resources, focusing and prioritising, and planning, planning, planning.
Recognising your full fundraising potential: CRY
Reach your potential support
The second round of funding from Trust for London and Crowdfunder’s Connected Communities Match Fund is now open for applications.
Community groups working to develop public green spaces in their local area are invited to apply for match funding from the Government ‘Pocket Parks’ scheme.
Senior Consultant
Organisation consultant and leadership advisor
We are all working towards the same goal and it is only by working together that we can make a difference for the causes we believe in.
“The stories and data about what you do, why, and the difference this makes are key to inspiring funders and achieving a sustained impact.”
If you want to succeed in influencing policy, you need to put in the leg work. Here are some tips for making sure you make the most of the opportunity when the question comes.
Governance Consultant
Show the difference you're making
“Remember that not everyone is the same and that some team members may find remote working a challenge”... So, you have a very good team, all working from home. For much of the time, you can just let them get on with it. But there can be a fine balance between a hands-off approach and the very real risk that any one of them could feel left behind.
Finance Manager
Fundraising Consultant
Change Consultant
UK heritage organisations are being invited to apply for grants worth £5million and more, as part of a new awards programme from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The Nationwide Building Society is awarding grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 to local housing projects that; prevent people from losing their home, help people into a home, and/or support people to thrive within the home environment.
Change, an undeniable force, shapes the journey of nonprofit organisations. While often a sign of progress, change for change's sake can be a perilous path.
Care Ashore
The National Churches Trust has three grant programmes currently inviting applications for funding. In each case, grants will be awarded for up to 50% of the project cost.
Digital Marketing Consultant
Nesta Challenges is inviting charities and social enterprises to bid for grants from a £1m fund, called the Tech to Connect Challenge, launched to help the development of tech-based solutions to social isolation.
The Government’s Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) is inviting new community projects across England to apply for feasibility study grants of up to £40,000 to support renewable energy initiatives.
Small UK not-for-profit organisations working on international development projects can now ap-ply for a grant through the latest round of funding from the Department for International Devel-opment’s Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF).
The Fundraising Regulator has released a new Code of Practice that takes effect in October 2019. It is a big step forward in bringing together the existing Code and rule books into one, better written and better organised document.
New grants worth up to £100,000 are being made available to organisations planning to work with locally based partners in Libya, Syria or Yemen on projects of benefit to the local heritage, society and economy.
A grant fund worth £60,000 has been made available to charities across the South of England to support community projects.
Anyone who works in communications will know that before you can really connect with your audience, you need to understand who they are. Enter the world of personas – personality profiles that inform the way we speak, the references we use and the messages we convey.
A grant fund worth £60,000 has been made available to charities across the South of England to support community projects.
The Vision Foundation has launched a new fund to address the most pressing issues affecting blind and partially sighted people in London today.
"Nick Wilkie – This Much I Think: Musings on Organisational Leadership and Life" Seminar Video from Action Planning's 30th anniversary online party!
HR Consultant
Communications Consultant
Fundraising Consultant
Is there any real advantage in pinning your fundraising on special days like Valentine’s?
Citizens Advice Craven & Harrogate Districts
If you’re a parish church, choir school, choral foundation or cathedral that maintains a high standard of choral services, you may be eligible for a grant of up to £5,000
renewal north west
Detailed Salary Benchmarking: aid to the church in need
Learning Experience Design Specialist
Pinpointing priorities to realising potential: Burrswood Health & Wellbeing
The recent Spending Review contained news that the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme will continue until 31st March 2021. This is an extension on the previous expiry date of 31st March 2020.
And how can charities build on the outcomes of COP28 to continue driving forward measures to curb global warming and protect the natural environment?
Do you need to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds – or perhaps millions – for a major project such as a new build, reordering or restoration work?
Clock Tower Sanctuary
Town and Manor of Hungerford
Engineering Development Trust
It’s funny how a fundraising target can so quickly draw focus from success to a perception of failure.
Preparing for the worst to enable the best: LWA
Management Consultant
Does your Procurement Department always get you the best deal? We share some experiences of disastrous procurement processes – and one excellent one! 
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.
In the wake of the recent crisis in the International Development sector following revelations of unacceptable behaviour by some staff, expert David Bull deliberates culture change to achieve safeguarding objectives, and advocates ten key elements to ensure a protective organisational culture.
Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice
Voluntary Sector North West
Providing objectivity for an organisational review: Voluntary Action South West Surrey
St Mary’s Church, Painswick
Actors’ Children’s Trust (ACT)
For charities, mapping is a way to look at your services with a bird's eye view, in a way that needs less translation and can be more accessible than a written report
Morley College London
Raising a congregation’s sights: Stanground and Farcet CofE Churches
St Mary’s Church Bloxham
How do we act as leaders so that we keep our heads up and maintain our authenticity at the same time? It is important that we set goals that spur us on towards a better future...
Pilgrims’ Friend Society
Pilgrims’ Friend Society
Fundraising Consultant
Recognising your full fundraising potential: Care and Relief for the Young (CRY)
futures for women
Reconsidering relevance in much changed world: FFW
Recruit a Chief Executive: Right Now Foundation
Recruit a Chief Executive: Pilgrims’ Friend Society
Recruit a Head of Philanthropy: British Paralympic Association
Recruit trustees: One YMCA
Whenever you’re considering recruiting a volunteer or multiple volunteers, it’s worth pausing and thinking about the need and whether you and your organisation are ready to recruit.
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.
Helping to define a key role: RMHC
Screening for the ideal candidate - God TV
Provide an interim Development Director: LAMDA
Saturday 5th October saw Action Planning deliver the second of three workshops in partnership with the Diocese of Oxford.
November saw Action Planning set up its stand at both the NVCO Trustees Conference and the ACEVO Conference. Andrew Middleton was at both and has summed up the issues that were being discussed.
Age UK Cheshire East
I imagine one of the challenges which you might be facing at this time is managing the pressures on your cash flow and finances more generally. One of the ways in which this pressure can be mitigated is by reviewing the various funding pots that you hold, such as reserves, designated funds, restricted funds and endowment funds...
Prison Fellowship
Diocese of Leeds
Africa Inland Mission
Africa Inland Mission
Andrew Barton is used to thinking about the three phases of humanitarian emergencies: response, recovery and reconstruction. Andrew worked on these insights in June 2020, but they are still as relevant in early 2021 as the crisis, like the virus itself, mutates.
AP Youth and Childhood
AP Youth and Childhood
One of the great things about being an Action Planning consultant is that I get the chance to talk to many charities about how they operate and what is affecting them.
Strategy and Business Consultant
Expect the unexpected
Business and Management Consultant
Management Consultant
Associate Consultant
Before the word “pandemic” was a part of everyday conversation, you might have attended the odd IT skills course, learning how to create a better Excel spreadsheet or get the most out of your LinkedIn network. For many of us though, 2020/21 has been a crash course in becoming more digitally savvy, primarily learning on the job.
Determining the appropriate salary for a job is not always easy, and also of course depends on what your organisation can afford to pay. Charity specialists action planning consider how to decide the right remuneration for a role, including salary benchmarking.
Fundraising Consultant
Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition Specialist & Coach
Some individuals – and perhaps even more so some groups – find it difficult to be spontaneously creative. So I devised this game to use in strategic planning sessions.
Associate Consultant
Find the right person for that hard-to-fill senior post
Fundraising Consultant
Steering a board to new goals: Crossways Community
HR Advisor
Independent Consultant
Creative Director
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.
The difference between just coping and thriving is determined by how healthy our relationships are
CEO & Trustee
I’d like to talk to you about the importance of connection. So, now we’re all working in a virtual world and it’s really important to keep that connection with your team members when we’re working remotely...
Encouraging the board to open up: Crossways Community
What does Biblical fundraising look like and can asking for funds ever be regarded as a ministry? Jesus, of course, had a great deal to say about money.
Plot your course
The core of a charity is made up of essential components: governance, management, systems, finance, fundraising and operations. Each component requires detailed planning to secure the best delivery and outcomes for its beneficiaries.
YMCA London City and North
Develop options and plans for strategic growth: The Richmond Charities
A root and branch planning review: FoWA
An organisational strategy sets the direction and ambition for the future N years. On a spectrum of “same as usual” right through to “complete change of our way to meet our charitable purpose”, most probably fall somewhere in the middle.
Operation Mobilisation
Effingham Village Recreation Trust
Help your team play to their strengths
This month Youthscape has published the first part of its ambitious ‘Translating God’ research, exploring how young people understand and respond to the Christian story.
African Child Trust
Stewardship / The Island
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!
So how can AI platforms like ChatGPT be useful in the charity sector? Who better to put that question to than ChatGPT itself? We asked the computer how it could help with the kind of work we do.
Action Planning gets asked to help with an extraordinarily diverse range of issues, from an equally diverse range of organisations. Take a look through our recent caseload, and see whether any of these resonate with some of the challenges you are facing in your charity.
Fundraising for a project is both an art and a science – an articulation of the funding request and a logical explanation of the Theory of Change (how the project would achieve the desired outcomes with the relevant resources, including the financial resources being requested).
Gaining royal patronage can be a game-changer for a charity, bringing attention to its cause and providing a sense of credibility that can open doors and attract support.
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? – wanting the very best people for our organisation, but how do you find skilled staff who also have a heart for Jesus?
There is increasing recognition that the social interaction of the workplace is a key element in productivity
Those in the business of spotting trends are predicting a summer of fun in 2021. On the 21st June, all legal limits on social contact are expected to be lifted. But have people missed working with others in an office? And do they really want to return to working with others in an office?
The past two years of disruption have caused much reflection on the way things were – the good old days – and how things will be in the future. One thing that has changed is the rapid adoption of technology to support new ways of working. “Let’s Zoom or jump on a Teams meeting," is now routine.
Healthy, effective organisations have one vital thing in common: clarity of direction.
Workplace isolation is a hot topic in HR circles. As I write, it is Loneliness Awareness Week (12th-18th June 2023), so the questions will be high on everybody’s agenda.
This year, as families and friends are forced to rethink Christmas, I’m pleased that we can uphold one of my favourite traditions: the Action Planning Christmas card.
I’ve led six charities through periods of crisis, change and transition – and I’m just about to step into my seventh interim leadership role. I love it. But being an interim CEO is not for everyone.
Charities can now apply to be part of The Times’ 2019 Christmas Appeal. The successful appli-cants will be featured in articles running in the paper throughout the appeal, which runs over the Christmas period.
The idea of the ‘impetus’ has been the elusive challenge that I have been grappling with. For some years now, my charity has been focusing on how we can change attitudes towards the ‘other’. How do we engage with those people and those views when there is nothing to persuade them to engage?
Having a Royal Patron can bring huge benefits to a charity. It can help to raise your profile, change perceptions on important issues, increase your fundraising potential and boost credibility with stakeholders.
my AFK
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...
A common narrative is that our society is becoming less religious. Fewer people attend religious meetings, for example, and in the UK specifically, fewer identify themselves as practising Christians. However, this only tells one side of a story. Although some faiths may be witnessing a decline in attendance, others are experiencing growth.
Hannah Rich from Theos Think Tank has revealed the findings of new research on the impact of growing economic insecurity on faith communities and charities.
Even though our individual situation is our situation and there is no ‘one size fits all’ model for a CEO, there are some challenges most will have to handle. Maurice Adams will help you recognise these challenges.
British Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology
Unsurprisingly at the moment, many charities are finding it hard to devote time and resources to undertake strategic reviews. They feel overwhelmed by the need to keep the present work going and consequently tend to make small tweaks rather than looking at the bigger picture.
It is becoming increasingly incumbent upon all organisations to have a net zero strategy for both regulatory and reputational reasons.
Principal Consultant
Organisations running clubs, activities or events for disabled people can apply for grants to pay for equipment and training from a new fund launched by Toyota, worth £250,000.
Senior HR Consultant
"Tracy Madgwick –Finding and Keeping Talent Remotely" Seminar Video from Action Planning's 30th anniversary online party!
Recent developments have affected the way in which payments from a trading subsidiary to its parent charity must be shown in the accounts. If your charity has a trading subsidiary – or you think perhaps it should have one – then you need to read this article by charity specialist lawyer David Kirby.
Give your staff the skills they need to do their jobs effectively
West Berkshire Training Consortium
Trust applications to fund new accommodation for patients’ families: COSMIC
As I reflect on where we are as organisations, hopefully having weathered the storm of the pandemic, I am more convinced than ever of the significant part that trust plays in successful and effective leadership and, therefore, the teams they lead.
The Charity Governance Code recommends that the Boards of all charities – large and small – review their performance and effectiveness. Do you have a plan in place for doing that? And are you implementing the plan?! Felicia Willow discusses the many benefits of the process.
Steering a Board to New Goals: Crossways Community
Develop your knowledge and skills
Addressing the responsibilities of a modern trustee: Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious society of friends (Quakers)
Early in 2021, Action Planning helped a national charity to rethink its grants strategy. The client had benefitted from the support of a small number of some of the larger UK trusts and was of the impression that this funding support was one-off, not to be repeated.
Understanding funding from a Christian perspective: Stewardship
Unlocking the power of customer experience (CX) for non-profit leadership
We’re approaching the end the financial year, which may come as a relief if your annual budget has long since been spent.
The Miller Centre Trust
Cred Foundation
Recruiting the ‘right’ people is an important part of managing a successful charity, but is not always as easy as we might hope. We may feel like we’ve hired the perfect candidate in terms of experience but find that they don’t fit into our organisation as seamlessly as we’d hoped, or we may struggle to attract the right candidates in the first place.
Social enterprise Consultant
Not-for-profit organisations in England raising funds for environmental or community-based projects can apply for a grant of between £10,000 and £75,000 from the Veolia Environmental Trust.
Chartered Accountant
I work as a facilitator (amongst other things). When we were first locked down, away days were postponed and instead I got busy with the Covid response in my local community. This was a great way to explore Zoom – endless meetings – and devise training for people who probably would have heard me if I had shouted out of the window.
Getting together to give is not new. People have acted collectively to donate their money or time for generations. But over the last decade there has been renewed interest in “giving circles”. Philanthropy specialist Rob John discusses why this is important for the charity sector.
Compassion in World Farming
One of the exciting things about the freelance world is the scope to challenge orthodoxy. Within the voluntary sector there is an embedded culture of “we must do something” and, by and large, this is good.
Action Planning has developed an innovative and effective approach to governance reviews, in partnership with Digi-Board™, that is designed to help not-for-profits overcome the barriers of cost, time and convenience.
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.
In the first of four articles on overcoming the cultural barriers to fundraising, Action Planning Consultant Emily Petty starts with a clean slate.
In the second of four articles on overcoming the cultural barriers to fundraising, Action Planning Consultant Emily Petty explains the importance of human connection.
In the third of four articles on overcoming the cultural barriers to fundraising, Action Planning Consultant Emily Petty prepares the ground for growth.
In the last of her four-part series on overcoming the cultural barriers to fundraising, Action Planning Consultant Emily Petty applies the jump leads.
Eighteen months is a significant period of time to be away from the workplace – even longer than traditional periods of maternity leave and shared parental leave. Those affected may be feeling anxious about returning due to fears about infection or concerns about job security and what the ‘new normal’ will look like.
I like to think I was perhaps one of the first people to harness ‘2020 Vision’ as the title of their strategic plan, when I wrote Action Planning’s first strategy in 1996.
What does the Bible say about being a charity trustee?
Online content is the most cost-effective way to reach large numbers of people. But what is meant by ‘content’, what should it address, and what actually is a ‘content strategy’…and does your charity need one? Marketing professional Fiona Lewis helps explains!
The term ‘coaching’ is used a lot, often incorrectly when people mean mentoring, but what is it exactly and how can it help busy professionals?
This was the beautifully simple reply from the coordinator of a medium-sized Midlands Pakistani community organisation to the question.
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.
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.
Charities pride themselves on making a difference, yet so often we seem to get caught in the rut of doing the same old same old – usually with fewer resources! How can we lift our eyes from the treadmill, and scan distant horizons?
One of the most powerful game-changers for an organisation serious about major donor fundraising is to look at everything through their donors’ eyes
The role carries a lot of responsibility, has legal and financial liabilities, can be extremely hard work, is frequently stressful, often under-valued… and it’s unpaid… So why on earth would anyone be a charity Trustee?! For a number of (very good) reasons, in fact…
During the early stages of Covid disruption, there was a sense of “it will be good when we get back to normal”. This subtly changed to “we had better get used to the ‘new normal’”. Now it seems that even ‘normal’ is questionable.
The Government has set up a Windrush Day Grant Scheme, with a fund worth £500,000, to support organisations in celebrating and educating their community about the arrival of the MV Empire Windrush
As we face up to the initial challenges – programme, people, financial – of the impact of the virus, we’ve also got to start looking at the longer-term financial implications and how we’re going to manage them.
Interviewed at the recent Christian Resources Exhibition, Chairman David Saint speaks candidly about how Action Planning started almost 30 years ago (spoiler alert, he was fired!), and what the organisation can offer to help charities.
I have picked up a few practical points from facilitating some Zoom-based workshops in the past few weeks, and I thought it might be useful to share them…