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Diversifying your Board – the benefits for small charities

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March 3, 2014 at 10:52

Alex Swallow, Chief Executive of the Small Charities Coalition tells us… Having a diverse Board makes a real difference to the prospects for your charity. There are two types of diversity that are important here, which are closely linked. The first is diversity of skills – a charity Board will typically need finance skills, comms skills, legal skills, fundraising skills, research skills and so on. The second is every other form of diversity: age, gender, ethnicity etc. In order to get the best trustees possible you need a board that is open to a great variety of people, not one […]

Accounting at the sharp end: A report from the Community Accountancy Conference 2014

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February 10, 2014 at 15:57

I’ve not long returned from a short sojourn in rain-drenched Birmingham. Several CFG colleagues and I donned both our waterproofs and chainmail armour in order to sally forth into the number-crunchers’ front-line of battle – community accountancy…! For those not in the know, a community accountancy service (CAS) is defined as “a project or organisation which seeks to support voluntary and community organisations (VCOs) on issues of financial management and accounting.” The focus of the support is normally on the small to medium VCOs – those with less than £250,000 annual income, and the majority of the support provided by […]

‘Professionalism’ is not a dirty word

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January 28, 2014 at 18:34

2014. I can’t quite believe that this is my fourth year working within the sector, but I’ve been sensing that the pressure on us as a ‘sector’ has intensified… Pensions. Pay. Investments. The way we do ‘business’. When I came to CFG in 2010, the biggest challenge taxing charity FDs was the uncertain economic climate. Now, broadly speaking, I believe that we’ve got to grips with this ‘new norm’. That’s not to say that all is rosy in the garden on the funding front, but rather that much of the contraction in our sources of income, biting so deeply after […]

A change in economic outlook- is your charity sinking or swimming… tell us!

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January 24, 2014 at 15:12

As the economy is beginning to show tentative signs of recovery, the most pressing question on the minds of many in the charity sector is how this will impact on their organisations. Whilst during the recession the charity sector has proven itself to be both resilient and flexible in its battle to cope with increased demand and reduced funding; the impact of the economic downturn has been significant with charities experiencing challenges such as cuts in frontline staff, closure of services and a drop in donations. The widespread effect of these tough economic times on the charity sector has been […]

Why the role of the charity regulator matters – a look to Ireland

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January 20, 2014 at 13:27

I’ve been paying close attention to the unravelling story around one of Ireland’s leading charities in recent months. Breaking in the run up to Christmas, when the seasonal appeals were at their height, the ‘scandal’ (it’s had all the hallmarks of a classic Irish scandal!) has rocked the voluntary sector there, and hit trust and confidence in the worst of ways.  As happened on a smaller scale in the UK last summer, questions around executive pay and pay-offs are threatening to undermine public donations to charity. The main charity in the spotlight is the Central Remedial Clinic in Dublin, a non-residential […]

Mergers during the recession; why weren’t there as many as expected?

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January 15, 2014 at 09:24

In the wake of the launch of our most recent survey in the ‘Managing in a Downturn’ series, we take a look at what the last five instalments have told us about the scale and form of mergers in the sector. The decision to merge in the for-profit sector is ultimately motivated by the fiduciary duty to maximise shareholders’ ROI. One might expect a similar logic to apply to the charity sector; mergers enable greater resource for maximising beneficiaries’ benefits. Indeed, in the heyday of the economic recession in 2008, many expected a larger number of charities to merge as […]

2014, politics, and charities

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January 10, 2014 at 15:15

I am trying to ascertain whether my current outlook for the year ahead is one of optimism or pessimism.  On the one hand there are huge challenges ahead, both for society and for the charity sector.  On the other, the economy is slowly recovering, unemployment continues to decrease and there is a World Cup, and that’s always fun.  I have come to the conclusion that I am somewhere in between the two. In 2014 there are some big issues that are going to carry on being thumped back and forth in a metaphorical political game (a bit like tennis, only […]

CFG Policy Highlights 2013

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December 23, 2013 at 12:27

As 2013 comes to an end, we wanted to take this opportunity provide you with you a brief summary of some of our activity and a sneak preview into what lies ahead for 2014. Take a look to remind yourself of the role we have played in shaping and responding to changes in: The economy; tax; pensions; SORP; investment and social investment; scrutiny of the Charity Commission; impact; small charities; and much more; all in representation of the sectors’ finance professionals. Our members and corporate subscribers support has been invaluable this year and we look forward to working closely with […]

Panorama – moral dilemmas for the charity sector

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December 13, 2013 at 13:31

    It’s difficult to avoid noticing the fallout of Tuesday’s Panorama investigation into some of the UK’s leading charities. The documentary looked at a mixed bag of the sector’s perceived hypocrisies; complaints largely guided by the assumption that being charitable is synonymous with ‘moral’. There are a number of things which on initial inspection may appear to fit neatly into an ‘inappropriate for charity’ box. But it’s not that simple. Charitable status itself (granted on meeting the public benefit test) accommodates a wide range of moral values, expressed in a charity’s mission. These values may be inconsistent from organisation to […]

Caron Bradshaw reflects on CFG’s year with Christmas cheer

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December 13, 2013 at 10:19

It has suddenly hit me that 2013 is nearly over. I cannot believe how quickly the year has gone! Well, they do say that time flies when you’re having fun. I am taking this time of year as my one opportunity to look a little inwardly and indulgently at the past year – and a lot of things have been happening for us… To start with, we embraced a new vision and purpose: ‘inspiring 
the development of a financially confident, dynamic and trustworthy charity sector’. I believe this is the final piece in the jigsaw in terms
of articulating what CFG […]