Charity Focus – January 2011

We have highlighted below some relevant pieces from the ‘Third Sector Daily’ reports that you may not have had time to read about:

Charitable giving is on the up, but still lower than pre-recession levels
Donations made by the UK public to charity rose by £400 million last year to a total of £ 10.6bn. The figures are published today by theNational Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) in “UK Giving 2010″, the most comprehensive research into the UK’s charitable giving habits. (source CAF – Charities Aid Foundation)

Other key findings include:

The typical median amount given per donor has risen by £2 to £12 in 2009/10. This increase is notable as it had remained steady at £10 for the previous five years.

Women aged 45-64 are the most likely group to give (68 per cent), and young men aged 16-24 the least likely (31 per cent). More than three in every five women (61 per cent) donated money to charity in 2009/10 compared with just over half of men (52 per cent).

Acevo and Charity Tax Group increase pressure over VAT rebate

MPs join campaign to put service-delivering charities on same footing as public sector bodies and academy schools
Charity umbrella bodies have stepped up their lobbying of the government to persuade it to refund VAT to charities that provide public services.

Both Acevo and the Charity Tax Group said they had increased the pressure on the government to put charities on a level playing field with public sector bodies providing services, which are spared VAT.

The decision follows an announcement that the government would spend £ 275m exempting academy schools from VAT.

Celebrity, charity and youth

Survey shows Beckham, Cole, Cowell and Fry are favoured among young people, but only one in five says celebrity endorsement would make them support a particular organisation.

Young people have named Cheryl Cole, David Beckham, Simon Cowell and Stephen Fry as the celebrities who would be most likely to persuade them to support a charity, according to new research by the consultancy nfpSynergy.
The organisation asked a representative sample of more than 1,000 11 to 25 year-olds in the UK if they could think of any celebrities whose endorsement of a charity would make them more likely to support it to.
Of the 354 that gave an answer to that question, Cole, Beckham, Cowell and Fry came out as the most popular, in that order.
One in five young people said that, in general, celebrity endorsement of a charity would make them more likely to support it. This increased slightly among the youngest groups.

The survey also found that different celebrities appealed to different age groups and genders. For example, the businessman Sir Alan Sugar appealed more to boys, the boy band JLS more to girls.
Joe Saxton, co-founder of nfpSynergy, said the research showed that even though young people were influenced by celebrities, this was likely to be less of a factor as they grew up.

“ It also shows that any charity courting youth support must give very careful thought to recruiting just the right celebrity – one who will most successfully woo its target age and gender groups,” he said.
“ Not just any celeb will do. This ‘fit’ should be snug, ideally researched.”
Deadline extended to enter the Business Charity Awards

Now in their second year, the awards recognise corporate contributions to the work of charities and voluntary organisations
The deadline to enter Third Sector’s Business Charity Awards has been extended to Thursday 10 February.
The awards are intended to celebrate the efforts of companies to support charities and other third sector organisations in the past year.

There are 14 categories in the awards, including Business Charity Champion, Charity Partnership, Employee Engagement and Challenge Team.

The entries will be considered by a team of expert judges in March, and the awards will be made at a black-tie dinner at the Grosvenor House hotel in London on Monday 9 May.
Find out more information about how to enter the Business Charity Awards.
Institute of Fundraising warns of reputational risk for charities in donate-while-you-invest website.

Investaid

A director of the website says the IoF report has misunderstood how the scheme works

The Institute of Fundraising says a new website that allows investors to donate money to charity while investing in funds might carry a reputational risk for the sector.

The institute’s Innovation Zone road test report, which involves a panel of fundraising experts testing new fundraising products on the market, says it is the first investment website of its kind.
The site, called Investaid, allows investors to choose a portfolio of available funds or select fund managers to manage their investments for them.

Most of the fund managers registered on the site pay Investaid 3 per cent commission on each investment that is made through it.
This commission goes straight back to the investor, who can decide whether to donate some or all of it to a charity registered on the site. Gift Aid can be claimed on all donations
The institute’s report, available to IoF members from today, says one of the site’s disadvantages is that there is a reputational risk for charities if any of the investments made involve illegal or unethical practice.
Mike Stafford, director of Investaid, said the panel had misunderstood how the site worked and that he had explained this when he was sent a copy of the report in advance of its publication.

“Where is the connection?” he said. “The charity doesn’t know what funds you have invested in. And in the unlikely event that a company in which the fund managers invested was dealing fraudulently, they would remove it from their portfolio. These are fund managers charities use to invest their own funds.”

The IoF’s review gave the site marks of three out of five for practical application, two out of five for innovation and two out of five for fundraising potential. One of the main advantages, the review found, was the reasonable cost to the charity.
It costs charities £250 a year to be registered with Investaid. If a charity does not make this back in the first year of being registered, Investaid will pay it back the difference.

The site also takes a 0.5 per cent annual fee from the ongoing value of each investment that has been made through it from the fund managers. This is paid monthly, with 20 per cent of the fee also being given to charity.
Charity advertising is a cause for concern, MPs hear.
Thomas Hughes-Hallet of Marie Curie Cancer Care tells Public Administration Select Committee that donors are tired of daily newspaper adverts.

The amount some large charities spend on advertising is a cause of “very real concerns”, Thomas Hughes-Hallett, chief executive of Marie Curie Cancer Care, told the Public Administration Select Committee of MPs yesterday.
He was responding to Charlie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover and Deal, who said he believed some charities, such as Shelter and the NSPCC, spent too much on advertising and campaigning compared with what they spent on service delivery.
Charles Walker, Conservative MP for Broxbourne, said he was tired of receiving campaigning emails from charities.
Hughes-Hallett agreed that this could be a problem. “I have very real concerns about the level of spending on advertising by some of the large charities,” he said. “However, there has to be some advertising.”

He warned that donors “are getting tired of seeing advertisements in papers every day. The public will catch you out eventually.”
The session was convened to discuss the future of funding for voluntary sector organisations and the role of charities in the big society.

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, told the committee that campaigning was sometimes an important part of charities’ activities.

But he urged charities to be transparent with their spending. He said the best charities used the knowledge they gained from providing services to influence policy.
Etherington told MPs that developing an electronic rather than paper-based system for administering Gift Aid was a crucial way to encourage giving.

“The system is still very cumbersome,” he said. “A more effective Gift Aid scheme would see more giving. If you recommend nothing else, it should be to improve Gift Aid.”

Website to offer free will-writing service to charities

Supporters will be given a code to enable them to use it online

A new website that produces bespoke legal documents will offer charities a free will-writing service for their supporters.

Legal365.com,owned and operated by the legal firm Last Cawthra Feather LLP, will give charities a code that can be used by their supporters to obtain the service for free on the site.
The site’s software asks users a series of questions, then puts together a legally sound will that can be printed out. If the user wants a lawyer to check it, this can be done for a fee.

Simon Stell, managing partner at LCF, told Third Sector that the idea to offer the service for free to charities came about because he felt the money that was being used to pay solicitors to write wills could be used to fund their front-line work instead.

“Going to a solicitor is quite an intimidating process, and that is why most people haven’t written a will,” he said.

“The process of writing a will isn’t a pleasant one. But if you are writing it on the internet, you can do it as it suits you. We think the legal sector hasn’t fully embraced the internet yet.“

Stell said he hoped that when charities used the website for the free will-writing service, they might be interested in buying other products from it in the future.
And, please find below another blog for you to read, should you have a spare moment:

Read Rob Dyson’s most recent blog entitled “Tough times need positive communication”
Rob Dyson is PR manager at young people’s charity Whizz-Kidz, a board member at CharityComms, and runs the Third Sector PR & Comms Network. Read his most recent thoughts here with regards the challenging future ahead for Charities.

footer