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Big Board Talk

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October 8, 2013 at 11:25

Looked in the mirror lately? Picked up a telescope?  We’re encouraging charities to do just that in our latest podcast, recorded with CFG’s Jane Tully. Don’t worry, we haven’t turned into narcissistic astronomers overnight: we’re encouraging charities to look closely at their board, to master the essential board discipline of examining how their charity is shaping up in the here and now, and peering into the future to plot the charity’s way forward. It may be easy for charities to agree on the benefits of self-reflection but less on where to start or how to go about doing this. This […]

CEO pay – the wrong reaction?

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October 7, 2013 at 14:35

I used to work with a smashing guy whose wife applied to be on a certain reality TV programme, in which several individuals cook for each other and then mark the results. She got through to the last stages, at which point she was dropped because she was ‘too nice’ and her unwillingness to be horrid about others’ attempts would ‘not have made good telly’. Black and white positions, polarised views, angst and tension are all far more interesting than reasonableness. As a sector, we recently got sucked into perpetuating this approach on the subject of CEO pay. Whilst it’s […]

Digital giving and gift aid: Our response

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September 27, 2013 at 14:27

Gift Aid enthusiasts have had a lot to chew over the past few months, with proposals on the table from HMRC and the Treasury to make Gift Aid work better for online and text donations. As people increasingly use online and mobile platforms for donating, the current paper based system for Gift Aid is showing its age. Therefore we welcomed the Government’s consultation on Gift Aid and Digital Giving, which seeks to address this challenge and some of the wider cracks in the Gift Aid system. In our response, CFG and NCVO urged the Government to seize this opportunity to […]

Flipping the coin: What Government could do to increase demand for social investment in charities

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September 10, 2013 at 12:46

Last week we responded to the consultation on a tax relief for social investment last week – the Government’s latest initiative to increase the supply of investment. As well as raising a number of concerns with various aspects of the relief, we also included some ideas for how the Government could stimulate greater demand for social investment, by more effectively engaging charities in their efforts. Here’s what we put forward: Positioning is key: First and foremost, we urged the Government to see social investment not as a solution to the charity sector’s funding challenges, but instead to recognise that it […]

CFG’s response to the social investment tax relief consultation: acceleration of “a great force for social change on our planet” or a missed opportunity?

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September 5, 2013 at 09:30

Why the social investment tax relief is potentially good news for charities… With the usual caveat firmly in place, that social investment is never likely to be appropriate for all (probably most) of the organisations in our sector, the concept of a tax relief for investment into social enterprises sounds great – five easy steps to a win-win-win situation: Step 1: As a keen supporter of charities I hear about social investment, and decide to discuss it with my financial advisor. Step 2: They tell me they don’t know much about social investment, but the limited options available seem quite […]

Ian’s insight: The world needs grown ups

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September 2, 2013 at 14:25

I am writing this article in mid-August – a week after the Wonga furore and in the midst of the charity salary ‘revelations’ – the silly season indeed! Fundamentally the stories relate to a worrying disconnect, fuelled by poor journalism, between public perception of how charities operate and the reality. The debate is not helped by the view that charities are homogeneous – that the challenges of leading a complex organisation such as Oxfam or Barnardo’s are comparable with those facing a local community-based charity. The public would not make the same assumptions about Tesco’s and a local family run […]

The silver lining in the charity salary saga

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August 12, 2013 at 14:23

Another week and more headlines about charity executive pay. Given the focus on bankers, business leaders, senior civil servants and local authority chiefs of late, it was really only a matter of time before charities would end up in the firing line. And it’s no surprise it’s now, or that the story continues. August, holiday season for many, leaves plenty of empty column inches for the media to fill. But while it’s saddening to see our sector being dragged through the mud in this way, it also demonstrated the strength of public connection with the charity label and has been […]

Cloud services: are they right for your charity?

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August 12, 2013 at 09:54

Cloud services is bringing change to organisations. The charity IT department as we know it, with its heavy reliance on physical in-house servers, and tight control of software choices, will be dead in five years – if it lasts that long. A mixture of devolution of budget control and technological decisions being made by users outside of IT , means that to stay ahead of the curve we need to actively engage in this process. One of the biggest changes we’ve already heard about is cloud services. The opportunity for charities to reduce costs (or at least move from Capex […]

The Gift Aid declaration – what’s the big deal?

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August 9, 2013 at 12:18

The Gift Aid declaration has long been a prickly issue for charities tasked with squeezing it onto fundraising forms – and one we have spent countless hours debating with HMRC at the Charity Tax Forum.  The declaration is needed as Gift Aid is a tax relief (rather than public expenditure) and HMRC need to be able to ensure that Gift Aid claimed on specific donations can be linked back to the donor’s tax affairs.   However, the length of the statement, requirement to collect  and reference to no less than four different forms of taxation (income tax, capital gains tax, council […]

What’s really new about the new SORP?

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August 5, 2013 at 12:22

We haven’t had a new SORP since 2005, and in that time we have managed to bring in a whole new accounting framework in the UK.  Despite this, if you ask the average charity auditor what difference the new SORP is going to make day-to-day, the answer is likely to be, ‘erm, probably not much’. Many of the major issues that had the potential to de-rail charities were dealt with in earlier consultations on the accounting standards – such as valuing donated stock in charity shops.  It’s important to remember that the SORP only interprets and provides guidance on these […]