Second year of funding agreed for Charity Digital Code
The Charity Digital Code of Practice is to see a second year of funding in the light of research indicating that charities still have a "long way to go" in progressing digitally. The Code was launched in November last year and was created to provide charities with practical advice on using digital to increase impact, sustainability and skills. The Charity Digital Skills Report 2019, which was published last week, suggested some charities are stalling or even going backwards in their integration of digital. More than half (52%) of charities who responded to the annual survey have no digital strategy, an increase from 2017 and 2018, when the figures were 50% and 45% respectively. Jamie Ward-Smith, chair of the Co-op Foundation, a founding funder of the Code, has invested £50,000 into the year two development. He said: “Funding for year two will build on [success to date], enabling charities to feedback further on improvements so the Code can be as relevant and responsive as possible . . . We look forward to working with our fellow funders and the Charity Digital Code Steering Group to build a resource that will help charities of all sizes embed effective stakeholder-led digital strategies and practices into all aspects of their work and culture.” Meanwhile, a new report from the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR) and Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology (CAST) suggests that time is the main factor behind charities not embracing digital. More than half (54%) of small voluntary organisations polled in the survey identified “lack of time” as the top reason for slow digital uptake.
Small Charity Week 2019
This week is Small Charity Week 2019, celebrating the achievements and impact of smaller charities across the UK. Monday's 'I Love Small Charities Day' celebrated why people love small charities; Tuesday sees as many as 100 charities access free bespoke advice from expert volunteers at the Big Advice Day event at City Hall in London; small charities will be able to meet government ministers and policymakers in Westminster on Wednesday's Policy Day; Thursday is dedicated to fundraising; the winners of the Small Charity Big Impact Awards are celebrated on Friday; and Saturday's 'Celebration Day' will see small charities stage their own events to showcase their work and raise local awareness. UKFundraising reports on the five small charities that are the winners of the Foundation for Social Improvement’s (FSI) Small Charity Big Impact Awards 2019: The Lorna Young Foundation, A Partner in Education, Raising Futures Kenya, Dandelion Time, and Grapevine Coventry and Warwickshire.
Report highlights cyber-bullying problems
A report by voluntary sector leaders and mental health experts reveals the extent of cyber-bullying within charities. The In Plain Sight report from the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) and Centre for Mental Health surveyed 524 people in charities who have experienced bullying and found that a quarter of those who have been bullied within charities have experienced cyber-bullying. ACEVO chief executive Vicky Browning said: “Bullying affects workplaces in every part of our society and the voluntary sector is no different . . . We believe that as charities we should be taking a lead on how we tackle bullying in order to create inclusive and supportive workplace cultures.”
3,000 charities told they must submit a tax return
HM Revenue and Customs has told 3,000 charities that they will need to complete a tax return this year. HMRC officials told the Charity Tax Group (CTG) earlier this year that, as part of a compliance review, the 3,000 charities with the largest Gift Aid claims would be asked to complete a tax return this year. Civil Society notes that charities are not regularly asked to complete tax returns "so this will be a new experience for them." A CTG spokesperson said: “We are working with HMRC to make sure the guidance is as accessible as possible going forward, but await feedback from charities on how they find this process. It remains to be seen if this is a one-off compliance review or will become a more regular occurrence.”
New boss at Small Charities Coalition
Rita Chadha has been named as new chief executive of the Small Charities Coalition. She has previously been interim chief executive at Broxbourne Citizens Advice and director at the Migrants’ Rights Network and Localising Equality. Ms Chadha, who assumes the role on a part-time basis, said: “I have been championing small voluntary and community organisations for most of my career and am excited to be joining the Small Charities Coalition at a time when the value of small organisations is being recognised." The coalition has also restructured, with the loss of two positions; those affected will take on new roles in the sector.
Toolkit will help smallest charities adopt the Charity Governance Code
NCVO is launching a toolkit designed to support micro and small charities implement the principles of the Charity Governance Code, which was launched in 2017. The toolkit links directly to the Code and describes the kind of practice a micro organisation should aspire to implement the Code's principles. Free tools and resources are available which can be used and adapted to implement the principles and the NCVO says it hopes this will make the jobs of the dedicated and committed trustees of the smallest charities easier.
Crowdfunding campaign to save online volunteering platform
A former employee at collapsed youth charity vInspired, which went into liquidation last November, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to save the online volunteering platform. Bob Barbour, the charity's former head of digital, is seeking £30,000 to keep the service running. Last year, vInspired helped more than 30,000 young people to volunteer. "This is not only an opportunity to save a great product and all the social value it holds, but to develop a new model for the UK voluntary sector - a digital product that is sustainable and scalable, funded and shared by the whole sector and built and maintained to the quality and standards of the technology industry," said Barbour.
Ruth Davidson scoops win for charity
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson scooped nearly £5,000 for a cancer charity after appearing on a celebrity version of The Chase . Ruth was teamed with Towie’s Fern McCann, BBC presenter Dan Walker and Level 42 singer Mark King in the ITV quiz. She refused to say if she beat chaser The Sinnerman – but said that her £5,000 fee, minus tax, was awarded to Maggie’s Centre in Edinburgh. A source close to the politician added: “Ruth loves a pub quiz and ended up catching The Chase most nights when she was on maternity leave.”
The Scottish Sun
Animal charities criticise practice of school pets
Animal charities have issued a warning over classrooms with school pets. The RSPCA and Peta are calling on schools to find other ways of teaching about nature and taking responsibility, saying that “a classroom simply isn't a suitable home for an animal,” and many die because the school cannot afford vets' fees, after being forgotten during school holidays, or through accidents in pupils' homes. Potteries Guinea Pig Rescue founder Helen Chadwick adds: “Any pet in school sets an example that caring for animals is part-time.” Meanwhile, an animal welfare charity says it has been "inundated" with ill and deformed chicks from failed hatching projects and has called for schools to stop the practice. Warrington Animal Welfare said the schemes, listed as an example of a practical lesson in the non-statutory part of the Year 5 science curriculum, are hard er than they look. The Department for Education said schools should only offer the projects "if they can ensure the welfare of both animals and pupils."
The Guardian BBC News
NSPCC warns over Facebook plan
NSPCC head Peter Wanless has warned that Facebook’s plans to encrypt its services will lead to more children being sexually abused online. Speaking ahead of the charity’s annual conference, he said such encryption was a "risk and a backward step" in keeping children safe, telling the Telegraph: “It places privacy and secrecy ahead of accountability and transparency.” The paper notes that Mr Wanless supports plans to make named directors legally and personally liable for what occurs on their platforms so they could be prosecuted for breaches of child safety. Figures show that 1,507 children called Childline as potential victims of online grooming or sexual abuse last year, a 19% increase in 2017.
Crisis calls for repeal of Vagrancy Act
Homelessness charity Crisis has called for the 1824 Vagrancy Act, which criminalises people for rough sleeping and begging in England and Wales, to be repealed. A report by the charity, backed by MPs and police representatives, warns that the Act pushes rough sleepers away from help, with chief executive Jon Sparkes saying that while “there are real solutions to resolving people’s homelessness – arrest and prosecution are not among them.” He added: “The government has pledged to review the Vagrancy Act as part of its rough sleeping strategy but it must go further . . . The act may have been fit for purpose 200 years ago, but it now represents everything that's wrong with how homeless and vulnerable people are treated. It must be scrapped.”
Children’s hospices threatened by funding squeeze
Together for Short Lives, a charity which helps terminally ill children, has warned that cuts in local council and NHS funding are threatening children’s hospices in England. In a report which examined funding for 27 of 34 children’s hospices, the charity found that annual spending has increased by 4.5% since 2016/17, while the percentage of funding contributed by the state had fallen from 27% to 21% over the last five years, which some hospices forced to use reserve funds or cut services as a result.
Third of world's adults don't have confidence in charities
A Gallup poll suggests almost a third (32%) of the world’s adults don't have confidence in the charitable organisations and NGOs operating in their respective countries. Just over half (52%) say they have confidence in the charities and NGOs in their countries. The five countries where people had the least confidence were Russia, Peru (both 29%), Colombia (28%), Greece (25%), and Bulgaria (24%). In the UK, 30% of adults polled said they had no confidence in charitable organisations and NGOs; 62% said they did have confidence. Malta (79%), Rwanda (76%), Iceland (75%), Mauritius (75%) and the Philippines (74%) were the countries where respondents had the most confidence in local charities and NGOs.
Businesses supporting refugees backed by consumers
A new study reveals that European consumers would be more likely to buy a product if it was sold by a business helping refugees, but most oppose companies lobbying for more refugees to be allowed in to European countries. Young consumers and women in particular favoured brands that aid refugees, according to the report, based on a survey of 12,200 consumers in Italy, France and Germany, and conducted by researchers at New York University’s Stern School. Most said they would be more likely to buy from a brand if it hired refugees or provided refugee entrepreneurs with loans, according to the research, which was funded by the U.S. charity the Tent Partnership for Refugees.