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Targeted giveaways risk creating a hierarchy of charities

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August 28, 2015 at 17:58

Successive budgets over the last and current parliament have introduced targeted giveaways to charities through both Libor fines and VAT rebates. These funds have gone to selected organisations including military charities, rescue services, and youth organisations. Whilst this funding is very much welcome to those charities that receive it and their beneficiaries, such giveaways are becoming a worrying trend and risk categorising the sector into worthy and less worthy organisations, as deemed by the government of the day. Charity is personal… Simply put: a person’s decision whether or not to donate to charity and which cause to support will come down […]

Seeing the road ahead

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August 20, 2015 at 10:37

CFG have just launched the 2015 Adrian Randall Challenge Prize. This guest blog is from Hilary Seaward, the recipient of the inaugural prize in 2013. Hilary won the prize for a proposal based on helping finance directors make management accounts more accessible when reporting to their board. In this blog, Hilary reflects on the continuing importance of this, especially in light of  recent scrutiny of charities in the media.

The time for ‘rational optimism’ – A response to Matt Ridley

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August 19, 2015 at 10:19

Another week and another article from a national newspaper calling for a ‘radical’ rethink about the charity sector (or a ‘radical cleansing’) as Viscount Ridley put it. It’s certainly been a tough few months for charities which have seen considerable scrutiny about how they operate. Although it can be uncomfortable at times, we should always welcome public debate into how charities work and the activities that they undertake. However, while we should welcome scrutiny, we should not be afraid to combat misconceptions about the sector. Public understanding and trust in charities will not be enhanced if we do not correct […]

Public benefit is at the core of both charities and the tax system

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August 13, 2015 at 09:45

Some of you may have read a recent column in the Financial Times by its Money Week Editor, Merryn Somerset Webb entitled “Charity should not begin with a tax break (£)”. As a sector we are used to having to defend our privileged status, and we should never forget that it is a privilege, in the tax system. Most readers will remember the NCVO & CAF campaign “Give it back, George” that successfully got the last Coalition government to exclude charitable donations from a cap on personal tax reliefs. Only last year, we had to defend attempts to redefine a […]

What do we do with a problem like LGPS?

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August 5, 2015 at 09:58

The Local Government Pensions Scheme (LGPS) has received some welcome attention in review of the scheme’s deficit management carried out by PWC. CFG believes that Direct Benefit schemes are a “ticking time bomb” for the charity sector and the LGPS certainly adds to the problem. The latest figures show that the number of members paying into the scheme has stagnated at around 1.6 million people. At the same time, the proportion of LGPS members claiming their pensions now, or are no longer paying into the scheme but are eligible for payments the future, has increased from 58% in 2009/10 to […]

What’s the risk? Implications of the summer budget for housing associations

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July 22, 2015 at 11:00

The CFG team have recently been thinking about risk – risks in supply chains, cyber security risks and so on – and it is risk that forms the focus of this month’s Economic Outlook Briefing which will be published on 28th July. In the publication, my colleague Andrew O’Brien highlights that charities are particularly affected by government policy. Reading his article got me thinking about two particular policies introduced in the Summer Budget delivered by the Chancellor earlier this month: the extension of Right to Buy (RtB) to housing association properties and the reduction in social housing rents. Housing associations […]

Financial sustainability won’t be easy for the charity sector

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July 22, 2015 at 09:48

Today, has seen the launch of the review into the financial sustainability of the voluntary sector, conducted by CFG, NCVO, Institute of Fundraising, Locality, NAVCA and Small Charities Coalition. It has been a long piece of work, involving a call for evidence from the voluntary sector, with more than 100 charities responding to a detailed survey; pouring over existing statistics, synthesising various strands of research and forecasting the future of the sector’s finances. The full report, which you can download here, is a wakeup call for the charity sector, government and funders. Although the economy appears on the road to […]

Some lessons from HMRC’s Higher Rate Gift Aid Donors report

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July 17, 2015 at 09:30

HMRC has published some research that it had commissioned on understanding charitable giving and Gift Aid behaviour amongst better-off individuals. Although I am not convinced that this was the best use of HMRC’s budget (see below), there are some lessons that we can learn from this research – despite the small sample size. Here are a few things to take away from HMRC’s research: We need to improve public awareness of Gift Aid Despite the individuals being interviewed earning significant amounts and potentially claiming thousands of pounds worth of Gift Aid, it is concerning that many participants were confused about […]

We can’t ignore the charity sector’s financial situation

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July 13, 2015 at 15:34

Our sector has had a few days to recover from the decisions outlined in the Chancellor’s Budget last week. Although charities were not the focus, the decisions taken within it are going to have a big impact on our operating environment for the coming five years. Often we talk about the issues facing the sector in isolation; however, this is not how charities will experience them. It seems likely that over the next few years three things are going to put considerable pressure on already fragile financial situation: 1)    More cuts in government income, both grants and contracts 2)    Increasing […]

Welfare and employment dominate the Budget: What does this mean for charities?

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July 8, 2015 at 14:59

So we didn’t do that well with our bingo card – only ‘long term economic plan’, ‘£9 minimum wage target’, ‘fixing the roof whilst the sun is shining’ and the name dropping of a charity came up. Whilst the budget report does not have a section dedicated to the charity sector, there are a number of measures announced that will have an impact on charity finance which I will outline here. Keep an eye out for our briefing which will be posted on our website in due course. Profile of the cuts £17 billion of cuts were announced in today’s […]