State of the Voluntary Sector in Hampshire

State of the Voluntary Sector in Hampshire

Action Hampshire, with the support of the district CVSs, recently carried out some research into the state of the voluntary sector in Hampshire.

An on-line survey was circulated around Hampshire’s voluntary and community sector organisations in November/December 2017. A range of questions were posed, most of which were asked in relation to the organisation’s position 3 years ago.

478 responses were received commenting on areas including capacity to deliver services, financial security, volunteering and planning for the future. Some of the key findings highlighted issues on the increase in demand for services and areas that organisations are struggling with.

Demand
Over 60% of respondents reported that demand for their services has increased over the past 3 years, but many also report that the type of demand has changed. As other services close, there is nowhere to refer clients on to:

“Clients are more likely to have multiple issues, and as other support services have decreased we often cannot refer them for other support and therefore work holistically.”

What are organisations struggling with?
Organisations continue to struggle with a range of subjects and issues: volunteers (recruiting, retaining and managing), marketing, and gaining funds (specifically earning fees, bid writing, and tendering & procurement).

“It has become much harder to generate revenue. Even our fund raising events are getting fewer people.”

Very few respondents said that they were likely to be helping their beneficiaries less in a year’s time. A worrying 22% of respondents felt that they either had ‘no idea’ where they would be in a year’s time, or were unsure if they would still exist in a year’s time.

What does this mean for the future of Hampshire’s voluntary sector organisations?

You can download the summary and full report here:

National Cyber Security Centre produces guide for small charities

The NCSC has published advice to help charities to protect themselves from the most common cyber attacks.

The guide covers 5 topics:

  • backing up your data
  • protecting your charity from malware
  • keeping your smartphones and tablets safe
  • using passwords to protect your data
  • avoiding phishing attacks

The guide is easy to understand and its recommendations cost little (or nothing) to implement.

Click here to visit the NCSC website to download the guide.

Christmas feel good story

In 2013 a teenager collected hundreds of supermarket vouchers to buy £600 worth of shopping for 4p so he could give the food to families:

Jordon Cox, 16, scoured endless websites and magazines and gathered hundreds of coupons for dozens of products.  After spending hours each day searching the internet for coupons, he managed to collect 470, which he took to his local supermarket, and filled three trolleys with food and household items.  The bill came to £572.16, but once the coupons were factored in the bill was reduced to just 4p – a saving of 99.81 per cent.  The teenager, of Brentwood in Essex, donated all his food to the charity Doorstep which gives food to disadvantaged families.

He said:

“I read an article that said a thousandth of the UK population are unable to eat this Christmas because they don’t have any money.  I decided wanted to help as many people as I can, and to also show that it’s possible to shop very cheaply, if you know how.  It’s not an exact science, so you can never really work out ahead of time how much the total is going to be. I was stunned when it came up as just 4p.”

He started his Christmas shopping project on December 1 and scoured hundreds of in-store magazines and websites for money off and cash back coupons.  His shop, at Tesco Brent Cross, ended with an hour stop at the checkout to unload his items which included 200 packets of biscuits and 60 packs of butter.

He said:

“The lady at the checkout had worked at Tesco for 19 years, and she said she’d never seen anything like it before. I had a big crowd. I felt like a celebrity.  My heart was pounding and the adrenaline was pumping when we got to the till. So much could have gone wrong.  I could have left some coupons at home, or not read the terms and conditions properly. Some of them might have expired too.”

Vicky Fox, who works at Doorstep, said families who he had helped out were overwhelmed by the donation. She said:

“I’d call his gift a great and generous act of a young man and what he did made a real difference.  He’s made a really difference to families who work with us to survive on extremely low incomes and do need the help.  He made such a different to people living on the breadline.”

He bought:

  • 20 packs of frozen Yorkshire puddings
  • 20 jam roly polys
  • 80 packs of butter
  • 23 packs of Quorn mince
  • Four Gressingham poussin.
  • 40 black puddings
  • 200 packets of biscuits
  • 23 blocks of hard cheese
  • 20 pots of Yeo Valley organic yoghurt
  • 19 bottles of fruit juice.
  • 10 boxes of Paxo stuffing
  • 40 bottles of Anchor whipped cream
  • 15 bags of frozen Brussels sprouts
  • 4 packs of After Eight mints
  • 15 Covent Garden Soups.
  • 10 bags of Florette Salad
  • 36 packs of Cauldron tofu, vegetarian sausages and falafel
  • Crumble mix
  • Haribo sweets

Use McDonald’s monopoly tokens to help the homeless

mcdonalds-monopoly

If you’re a keen visitor to McDonald’s, you’ll know about its recurring Monopoly promotion that runs in a number of countries across the globe. You’ll often get a free food voucher for a portion of fries or a McFlurry, but while you might be tempted to hoard them for future binges, perhaps donating them to the homeless is a better way of using them.

That’s what Matt Lawson from Melbourne in Australia proposed in a Facebook post on Monday:

matt-lawson-photography

McDonald’s is currently running the monopoly game and I’ve got an idea. If you win free food by purchasing food you would of bought anyway, why not put your tokens in a jar and take them to an area where you know there are people less fortunate then yourself (Melbourne CBD, Fitzroy shelters etc).i did it today and if all of us do it together we can be part of a small change. FEEL FREE TO SHARE. #bethechange#monopolisecharity

“Why not put your tokens in a jar and take them to an area where you know there are people less fortunate then [sic] yourself,” he wrote. “I did it today and if all of us do it together we can be part of a small change.”

“I know it’s still consuming junk food, but it can teach our kids and ourselves a lesson in giving with no taking,” he said in a comment on the viral post.

What a simple idea to make a small difference in your community.

 

The Challenges of Leadership in the Charity Sector

Charles

I loved the email article, The Challenges of Leadership in the Charity Sector by Charles McLachlan in this week’s Cinnamon Network mailing:

As my career developed in commercial organisations, I believed I also had something to offer charities – the Third Sector. It seemed easy to get invited to join trustees, act as a treasurer or get more involved in operational activity. Here was a place that I felt I could contribute, if only they would adopt some of the commercial disciplines of project management, financial control and clear lines of authority that I knew so well, then we could really make a difference together!

My early attempts at introducing some of these commercial disciplines were welcomed in principle however, but resisted in practice. As my mentor used to say, “Charles, just because it makes sense, doesn’t mean that it is the right thing to do” and even more confusingly, “Charles, just because it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t mean it is not the right thing to do”.  I felt I must be missing part of the picture.

Then it clicked. I had hardly imagined the challenge charity leaders face when:

  • 90% of your customers don’t pay you for your services;
  • 90% of your staff hours are provide by individuals who cannot be motivated by pay or financial reward;
  • your investors often have stronger opinions about how you do things and what you do than the actual outcomes delivered;
  • available resources may be allocated in response to perceptions (internal or external) rather than a business case;
  • too often, absolute cost trumps value for money in spending decisions;
  • individuals with power may have no responsibility, and those with responsibility have little power.

As I began to fully understand this, I developed a new respect for leaders of charities. I also realised how much of what those leaders achieve could be applied with enormous power into commercial organisations.

The Third sector is often incredibly entrepreneurial. With almost no resources, a community action group can initiate the transformation of an entire neighbourhood, for example. The Jubilee Debt Campaign released billions of dollars of Third World debt to education and health care.

Does the commercial sector have nothing to offer the Third sector? No, I still believe that many of the disciplines of the commercial sector are required. But it is easy to squeeze out the power of the relationships that are the Social Capital underpinning the Third sector if you just turn the organisation into a more efficient financial machine. And for all of us, where financial resources are increasingly constrained, we should look to Social Capital as the entrepreneurial resource for leaders who want to re-invigorate Britain in the 21st century.

 

Furniture and equipment from London 2012 offered for free to charities

London 2012 bedroom

Thousands of pieces of furniture left over from the London 2012 Olympics and Paralypmics are being offered to charities, schools, community groups and start-up companies for free or at a steep discount. To receive them organisations simply have to explain why they deserve to receive them.

They are being made available via a website by The Remains, the company which last year offered one million pieces of former Olympic fixtures and fittings for sale to individuals and organisations in the UK and internationally. Charities acquired some of these for various uses, such as beds for a hostel, sofas for a day centre for adults with learning difficulties, and chairs for a community centre.

The vast majority of items still available have come from the Athletes’ Village. They include garden furniture which was originally sourced from John Lewis.

How to apply for legacy items

To qualify, organisations should use the website to introduce their organisation, explain what it does and say why they need the furniture.

A panel of judges, including former paralympic swimmer Tim Reddish, who won silver medals at the Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney Games, and Paul Levin, head of operations for Legacy Remains, will then decide which of the applicants is most deserving.

Successful applicants will receive their items free of charge. Unsuccessful applications will then be offered the chance to buy their items “at vastly reduced prices”.

The closing date for receiving enquiries is 27 July, the first anniversary of the beginning of the Olympics. Deliveries will take place from August into September.