U-turn on probate fee plans
The government has decided not to introduce new probate fee plans that charity bodies including the Institute of Fundraising, Remember A Charity, NCVO and the Institute of Legacy Management had warned could have cost charities as much as £10m. Robert Buckland, the secretary of state for justice, said the plans for a new probate fee regime had been ditched and a broader review of court fees will be carried out. Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity, was among those in the sector who welcomed the government's announcement. He said: “We're hugely relieved to hear that there will be no major increase to probate fees and that that the current structure will be retained, at least for the time being. Charities large and small rely heavily on gifts in wills. Worth around £3bn a year, we simply can’t afford to risk jeopardising such an important income stream or to reverse the trend for growth in legacy giving . . . We’ll continue to work closely with the government to ensure the sector’s views are heard and that the legacy environment is protected.”
Legacy consideration is on the increase
A new league table suggests more people are considering the idea of leaving a legacy. The Legacy Potential Premier League Table 2019-2020 from fastmap and Freestyle Marketing ranks charities on the propensity of their supporters to leave them a gift in their Will. Animal charities take the first five places in the league table, which was compiled by taking into accounts factors including motivations and barriers to giving, and how often supporters consider and reject a charity for legacy giving. Cats Protection retains first place from last year, followed by The Donkey Sanctuary, Battersea, Dogs Trust and Blue Cross. The top ten is rounded out by Breast Cancer Now, Cancer Research UK, RSPCA, Alzheimer’s Research UK, and PDSA. David Cole, fastmap Managing Director, sai d: "Legacy consideration is a window into the future as regards to likely legacy revenue," noting also that “Charities need to create a unique proposition, invest more in marketing, and not be afraid to make changes.”
Small charities do well on digital fundraising platforms
Charity Digital News takes a look at some of the charity organisations - including smaller ones - that are doing best at raising money on online fundraising platforms such as JustGiving. Charities profiled include SpecialEffect, SWAN UK, Holly Hedge Animal Sanctuary, Tribe Freedom Foundation, and Sophie Hayes Foundation.
Charity Fraud Awareness Week is coming
A week of campaigning to raise awareness of charity security issues, including advise on combatting cyber-crime, takes place next week. Charity Fraud Awareness Week (October 21st-25th) is being promoted through social media using #CharityFraudOut and brings together security and charity experts to warn of threats and share good practice in tackling fraud, financial crime and other threats. The week has the strapline All Together Now. The Fraud Advisory Panel, one of the bodies involved in the week's activity alongside the Charity Commission for England and Wales and UK Finance, said in a statement: “With reported fraud increasing at an alarming rate it is vital for charities of all shapes and sizes to protect their income and assets by building strong defences . . . Charity Fraud Awareness Week promotes openness and honesty about fraud. It brings together everyone involved in the charity and not-for-profit sectors to raise awareness and share good practice in tackling fraud and financial crime.”
Charities must deal with data complaints better, regulator says
The Fundraising Regulator has warned that charities need better systems for dealing with data complaints, including requests from members of the public wishing to cease contact. Gerald Oppenheim, the regulator’s chief executive, told attendees at last week's Voluntary Data Conference in London that around a fifth of all complaints it received between 2017-18 related to how supporter data is managed. "It was clear there were some charities that weren’t taking enough – or swift enough – action to deal with requests from supporters wishing not to be contacted,” he said. Mr Oppenheim also noted that charities had responded well to the introduction of EU privacy laws. “There has been a short-term hit on fundraising income as a result of GDPR for some charities, but most are predicting a growth in income over the next three years," he said. The regulator has launched its redrafted Code of Fundraising Practice to make it easier for fundraisers, charities and third-party organisations to understand expected fundraising standards. Organisations are being urged to ensure their fundraising materials, training and policies are brought up to date to reflect the revised standards in the new code.
Charity silence on big issues risks losing public trust
Charity leaders attending NPC’s annual conference have been urged to call out societal problems or risk losing the public's trust. Immy Kaur, co-founder of Impact Hub, said that leaders should “take responsibility for the new narratives” that might come from a “rapidly changing [narrative] ecology” and be “really deliberate on rejecting the narratives that we currently have.” Karl Wilding, chief executive of NCVO, added that he feels “frustrated” that “not only does [government] not recognise the impact that organisations have and what they can achieve by working with them, but too often it actually mitigates against them and it gets in the way of those organisations making a difference.” Charity Commission CEO Helen Stephenson nevertheless observed that charity workers should “think carefully” about what they say because divides in the country “are not necessarily drawn along party political lines.” She cautioned: “Your beneficiaries, your trustees and your volunteers may hold very different worldviews from you, and so when you are speaking up on behalf of your charity, make sure that you are speaking up on behalf of your cause and your beneficiaries, not on your worldview.”
Coalition aims to tackle inclusion issues
A coalition that seeks to tackle the charity sector's diversity and inclusion issues has been formed by 13 charitable foundations. The diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) coalition says it “will provide a forum for the implementation of frameworks, processes and procedures within foundations and is focused on building a body of practice for themselves and others in the UK sector to learn from.” The 13 foundations include the National Lottery Community Fund, Children in Need, Barrow Cadbury, Lloyds Bank Foundation, and Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Carol Mack, the chief executive of the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF), said: “Addressing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion is a pressing issue for the foundation sector and the positive response to our report DEI: The pillars of stronger foundation practice, shows th ere is enthusiasm and energy for action. I . . . wholeheartedly welcome the initiative. This is a significant step for the foundation community and we look forward to seeing how it develops and to share learning with our wider membership.”
Initiative to double number of young charity trustees by 2024
A new movement has launched that seeks to double the number of young charity trustees within five years. The Young Trustees Movement, launched by the Social Change Agency and supported by the Blagrave Trust, Esmee Faribairn Foundation, Co-op Foundation, Zing and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, wants to increase the number of people under the age of 30 on charity boards through the use of practical advice, guidance and a campaign for wider trustee diversity. Kira Lewis, a 19-year-old trustee, said: “With dire statistics such as one in twelve trustees being called either John or David, less than 3 per cent of charity trustees being under 30 and less than 1 per cent being under 25, it’s no secret that board diversity is an issue."
Financial crisis threatens Royal National College for the Blind
One of the country's most historic educational centres for young blind people is warning that financial pressures are threatening its survival. The Royal National College for the Blind, which has operated for almost 150 years, says without extra funding it will cease to be sustainable. Lucy Proctor, chief executive of the college's charitable trust, has blamed a squeeze on special-needs budgets. But the government is promising a £700m increase for special needs. Former education secretary Lord Blunkett, who was himself a student at the college, said he was "very concerned" that such a "unique national asset" was at risk.
Charity Shops Survey 2019
Civil Society presents the findings of its Charity Shops Survey 2019, which suggests a continuing trend for fewer shops, but higher profits, and a growth in big out-of-town charity 'superstores.'
Aberdeen Council loses legal fight with charity
Centric Community Projects Limited has won a legal battle against Aberdeen City Council after the charity was prevented from claiming relief from business rates. A spokeswoman for the council said: “Aberdeen City Council has received the judgement and will consider its position.” Centric Community Projects Limited declined to comment. Meanwhile, Third Force News reports that the Charity Retail Association is urging politicians in Scotland to grant full business rate relief to all charity shops. The association wants the Scottish Government to use the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill and further reform to recognise the environmental benefits of charity shops. Robin Osterley, the association's chief executive, said: “Business rates reform is an opportunity to recognise the waste reduction activities of charity shops which ultimately, lowers carbon emissions."
Middle-class finances at risk after decade of cheap mortgages
Debt charity Stepchange warns that an increasing number of middle-class families are at risk of falling into debt after a decade of low-cost mortgage deals. Stepchange said that wealthier households may struggle to cope with a change in circumstances, such as losing a job, after over-committing themselves financially.
Topshop in mental health launch
Topshop and Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) have teamed up to mark World Mental Health Day with the launch of a 13-piece collection. Each item is based on the ‘speaking out’ theme. The charity receives £5 from every item sold towards funding its helpline and webchat.
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