A remark I made about impact reports being ‘turgid, dull and deeply boring’ hit the sector headlines recently. I was even mad enough to suggest that we should replace impact reports with tweets. I suspect some people read the article because they couldn’t quite believe that I meant it.
The nfpSynergy Blog
There is a cold war in the charity world.
On one side are the public and the vast majority of donors. The public don’t like admin costs, overheads and waste and they don’t like to think of their money going to anything but the charity’s cause. Our research at nfpSynergy shows this antipathy to costs and overheads very clearly. People typically think about 10% of their donation at most should go on admin and around 20% be spent on fundraising.
Getting a reference from a candidate for a job is almost as deeply engrained in charity sector thinking as equal opportunities. Yet the value to the recruiting organisation is deeply questionable. Not sure you believe me? Ask yourself these two questions:
- How many times have heard you of a job offer being withdrawn on the basis of references?
- How many times have you told the whole truth about a candidate as a referee?
Before this, I wrote a piece on why it's important to blog. Although I meant it as a few quick notes, it actually turned into a blog of its own and inexplicably mentioned sky diving. Hopefully, it also explained a few reasons why blogging is beneficial and how it’s really easy to get started. So, eager with endeavour and sufficiently seized of blogging’s benefits, you’ll no doubt be chomping at the bit to get some ideas down on paper. So, what's the best way to get started?
Between February 2011 and February 2013, we had a PAYE audit at nfpSynergy. If I live to be 100, I think it will still rank as one of the most painful, expensive, exasperating and protracted audits I experience. When we began the process, I could find virtually nothing in writing that prepared us for the compliance check that was randomly foisted on us by HMRC. Writing this is my attempt to help others be better prepared than we were.
It is fair to say that the deregulation of charity lotteries has been an issue for decades. Though improvements were made in the 2005 Act, lotteries are arguably the most regulated area of fundraising. We passionately believe that their growth is being hindered by unnecessary, disproportionate regulation and this is deeply affecting the amount of money being raised for good causes. So we decided to write a report to look at the whole lottery landscape and consider how the situation could be improved, creating a win/win for the government, charities and, most importantly, people in need.
As the nfpSynergy blog has become weekly and its readership has steadily increased to over 2500 a month, it got me thinking; why do some people blog and some don’t? How about you? Are you thinking about why you do or don’t?
How about now?
I think blogging is important for any business, but it’s especially important for charities. It’s the perfect way to publicise issues, stories or opinions that your press team might not, for whatever reason, send to the mainstream media. It can often be these kinds of pieces that convert someone to your cause or inspire someone to volunteer, fundraise and make a difference.
In the next few weeks, many people are going to get a bill through their letterbox. This will be, for many, a usual process that happens at the start of each financial year. But for others, it’ll come as a shock and could have some severe consequences.
For those who aren’t familiar with Dave Fishwick and the ‘Bank of Dave’, he’s an ex-DJ, self-made millionaire with a minibus business from Burnley. His is the story of a man with a big idea to solve a big problem. Living by his mantra of ‘never, ever, ever give up’, he took on the biggest of the big boys (and they are mainly boys). And he won. Even though most of us will never undertake this kind of crusade, Dave’s story provides some lessons and inspiration for us all.
I grew up in a household of avid readers and since buying books regularly wasn’t affordable, weekly visits to the local library were commonplace in my childhood. Even now when I need information, the library is my first port of call. So I was both surprised and disappointed to hear news of the closure or reduction in services of libraries over the last couple of years. As library cuts continue, the role of volunteers comes to the forefront and I can see a future where volunteers reduce or even replace state provision of library management.