Funding news


COVID 19 Messages from VSNS

Volunteer Locally

• We want to help your organisation. How are you helping your community? What area are you in? How many volunteers do you have? Can we help you find more? email or call 01932 571122

Register with us if you want to volunteer

• Get in touch if you need help or call 01932 571122

Your NHS needs volunteers

If you’re fit and healthy, the Government are looking for NHS Volunteer Responders which means you can now help the most vulnerable people in your community who will need to stay home because of coronavirus. For more information and to volunteer visit:

Key points of state of national emergency

• Stay at home – no unnecessary journeys or social contact
• Only leave home for essential shopping or medical needs
• Or for exercise away from home once per day
• Or travelling to and from work but if it’s absolutely necessary
• Only leave your home for medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
• Public gatherings of more than two people are banned excluding those that live with you
• Do not visit other people’s houses or socialise outside your home
• Police can fine you if you do not follow the rules
Other measures
• All shops selling non-essential goods, and other premises – libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship to close
• All social events to stop, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals
• British travellers urged to return to the UK as soon as possible
• All but essential travel outside the UK to stop for an initial 30 days.

Please follow the advice given by the UK Government on keeping your loved ones safe.
COVID-19 Easy Read Guide

Watch out for scammers

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has warned that criminals have ramped up bogus email campaigns that aim to trick users into clicking links that can lead to their computers being infected or seek to fool the recipients into divulging sensitive information.
It has cautioned that people should also be wary of opening attachments unless they know the sender.
Security firms have also warned that some scammers have sent out bogus SMS messages. “These SMS spam attacks attempt to use the fear around the coronavirus worldwide emergency to try to push their targets to respond to the SMS spam.”

Working from home

Useful advice from the Health & safety Executive (HSE) about working without supervision, working with display screen equipment, stress & mental health and keeping in touch
Working from home

Looking after your wellbeing

A short, simple guide on Coronavirus the symptoms, how its spread, when to call 111 etc is found via this link to Boots the pharmacist:

You might be worried about coronavirus and how it could affect your life. This may include being asked to stay at home or avoid other people. This might feel difficult or stressful. But there are lots of things you can try that could help your wellbeing. Useful advice can be found here via this link:

Your mental wellbeing

They are offering free, two-week trial of their mindfulness audio sessions during the current crisis, covering topics such as “Navigating Change”, “Panicking” and “Feeling Overwhelmed”. After the trial, the cost is £49.99 per annum.


Your physical Wellbeing

Encourage everyone you know to take their authorised daily walk, run or cycle every day. Alternatively, why not “PE with Joe Wicks” – free, simple, equipment-free workouts from The Body Coach for everyone – 9.00 am every day and online ay anytime.

PE with Joe Wicks


Donate to foodbanks in Runnymede, Spelthorne and Surrey Heath

Local foodbanks need your support with donation of non-perishable food or a financial donation.


Runnymede Foodbank

Food donations to any of the food bank centres or at 95, Guildford Street, Chertsey. Current food shortages are :

Tinned ham, Tinned meatballs, Pasta sauce, sponge puddings, Powdered milk, Coffee, Squash, Washing powder, Washing up liquid, Antibacterial spray, Kitchen roll, Carrier bags

Make a financial donation via their Virgin Money page link on the Runnymede Foodbank website.

World Cargo Logistics Chertsey

Donations of food, toiletries and cleaning products to World Cargo Logistics Ltd, The Old Barn, 1a Colonels Lane, Chertsey, KT16 8RH.

Contact Kim Darbin on 07746381434 or at email


The local foodbanks in Spelthorne are working together and are sharing donations of food

Community Foodbank – Sunbury and Shepperton:

Food donations to Saviours Church, 205 Vicarage Rd, Sunbury-on-Thames TW16 7TP.

Current food shortages are :
Jars of sauce, tinned veg/potatoes/tomatoes/fruit, long-life milk, sugar, tea/coffee, tinned meals of curry, chilli etc., rice, jams, sandwich spread, ALL household cleaning, personal hygiene products, soap, shampoo and conditioner.

Contact: Claire Hopkins on 07549 953161 or at

Make a financial donation to the Community Foodbank on the St Saviour’s Sunbury Community Foodbank website

Manna Foodbank – Staines and Laleham

Food donation points at Sainsbury’s in Shepperton and on The Causeway in Staines.
Current food shortages are:
Small jars of coffee, tinned potatoes, crackers, tins of cold meat – ham, spam, luncheon meat etc, sachets of custard powder, dried spaghetti, porridge, instant mashed potato – Smash type, small bags of rice, mug shots or similar sachets, long-life milk – green semi skimmed and blue full fat, jars of pasta bake sauce, toilet  & kitchen rolls, soap, liquid handwash and washing up liquid.

Contact: Jean Pinkerton on 07770 478778 or

Make a financial donation to (please ensure your donation is referenced ‘Foodbank’ or ‘Manna Foodbank’):

HSBC Walton on Thames,
PCC of St Mary & St Peter
sort code 40-45-22
acc number 71797743

Stanwell Foodbank 

Donations of staple foods to the The Pavilion, Cambria Gardens, Stanwell, TW19 7ER

Contact Anna-Marie Goodacre on 07429 584286 or

The Salvation Army – Ashford

Donations to be placed by the main door at the Community Centre, Woodthorpe Road, Ashford, TW15 3HY.  Food bank opening hours 9am – 12 midday from Monday to Friday.

Current food shortages are:
Dried pasta, rice, tinned meat balls, sausages, tuna, pasta sauces, baked beans, tinned pulses, soup, tomatoes, green vegetables, sweet corn, porridge oats/cereal.

Contact : Cath Maughan on 01784 423424 or

Financial donations by cash and cheque should be sealed in an envelope and posted through the letterbox. Anyone requiring a receipt should include their name and address in the envelope.

Surrey Heath:

Besom Food Bank

Non perishable food donations to High Cross Church, Knoll Rd, Camberley GU15 3SY

Financial donations via the Surrey Heath COVID-19 Hub – details for this are on the High Cross Church Camberley website.


SEO to increase website visitors and donors

Search Engine Optimisation helps your website perform better in search engines like Google.

SEO is important because good SEO practices improve the usability of your web site and your visitor’s user experience. You’ll get discovered by the right people more often, allowing you to grow your base of supporters and donors.

Users trust search engines – if your site is in at the top of a search for the keywords used by your visitors, they will have more trust in your site.

Many small charities face 2 problems – not enough website visitors and the ones who find you are not engaged enough to stay.

So how can you improve your SEO?

  • Regularly updated, quality, relevant content
  • Identify and use your target keywords
  • Use Google Search Console
  • Use Google Analytics
  • Ensure your site is mobile-friendly
  • Use a plugin like Yoast
  • Fix 404s

The higher your google ranking, the easier your website will be to find. You’ll attract more visitors and persuade them to donate and support you with an interesting and attractive, navigable site – easy!

social proof fb

Use Social Proof

The Rule of Social Proof: ‘If others are doing it, it must be the right thing to do.’

92% of consumers worldwide trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of marketing. People care about what others think and you can use that to attract new donors and supporters.

Tell the stories of your beneficiaries and supporters in text and pictures. A good story will spark emotion and empathy in your reader and persuade them to answer the call to action on your donate page. Images in the online world increase engagement by 313%. Not everything can be expressed with words, but nearly everything can be explained with visuals. Pictures help us relate to content, which will increase credibility and trust in your cause.

Use numbers on your website donation page. Show the number of people who have already given or who have fundraised for you to motivate visitors to donate. Tell your readers your total so far if you have a target amount to raise, this inspires them to help you reach your goal.

If you’ve received positive mentions from credible media sources, influencers or publications, put them on your website as well as key quotes from experts. Don’t forget to include social media buttons on your website pages to demonstrate broad support for your organisation and so people can easily share your content.

The internet has made social proof a powerful way to influence social behaviours.  By building and increasing the visibility of social proof for your cause, you more clearly demonstrate the value of your organisation to prospective donors and fundraisers.


tell us what you think2

Tell Us What You Think

Organisations succeed when they talk to their customers and ask them what they think.

Every 2 years on behalf of Surrey County Council, we send out ‘A State of the Voluntary Sector Survey’ asking you about the quality of our services.

This survey provides hard numbers and facts on your opinions and we can use them make important decisions about how we help you.

Please complete the survey to voice your opinion and help us to improve services to you and other voluntary organisations in our community.

Surrey County Council Survey

You’re not just helping us – you’re helping yourselves and other local charities by improving what we do for you.

training (1)

Spring Training from Voluntary Support North Surrey

Why is it important for charity sector organisations to have a learning culture?

When resources and volunteer numbers are tight we must find ways to be more efficient and effective with what we have. By continuously learning we can find out what we should be doing, what others are doing, how we can do things better, and learn how to measure your impact to show you’re making a difference. VSNS Spring training kicks off in March:

First Steps to Successful Volunteer Management on 17th March, 9.30am to 3pm

Digital Fundraising Workshop on 26th March, 10am to 3pm

Grant and Trust Application Workshop on 30th March, 10am to 3pm 

Volunteering and the Law Workshop on 17th April, 10am to 1.30pm

ThursdayThoughts Networking Event, 23rd April, 10am to 12pm

There are lots of other ways to learn new skills through webinars, podcasts and blog posts from a wide variety of organisations – here are resources I use on a regular basis:  



More Than Just a Thank You

Did you know that thanking someone for a donation within 48 hours makes it 400% more likely that they will donate to you again? Research shows not being thanked continues to be the most common reason people give for not making further donations to an organisation.

You spend a considerable amount of time and budget finding donors – shouldn’t you spend as much time making sure they stick with you?

Thanking donors should not be a chore, it should be a genuine recognition of their gift. Lack of appreciation is bad manners and a waste of an excellent opportunity to start a conversation. This is your best chance to tell your story, explain what the donation will mean for your beneficiaries and build a relationship with the donor.

NCVO survey found that 70% of donors felt that the thank you was important but that many acknowledgements were dull and predictable. What a shame!

There are lots of great examples out there but the principles are:

  • keep it short
  • make it personal (use their name)
  • be quick (less than 48 hours)
  • thank them for something specific (ideally the amount £)
  • tell a short story on how the donation will be spent
  • include your website link
  • close with another thank you

Treating donors as long-term partners who share your passion for the cause will go a long way in securing further support and hopefully repeat donations.

Have a look at an excellent example from Charity: water


Cause Awareness Days 2020

You may be suffering from fundraising fatigue after Christmas but now is the time to set yourself up for 2020 fundraising success by planning ahead and making sure you’re communicating properly with your donors.

Make your donation asks at the right time. Coincide campaigns with national and international awareness days that capture your supporters’ attention, and avoid events that could overshadow your campaigns.

Online awareness days are a great opportunity for you to be seen on social media and to inspire a new audience. You can build momentum towards the day and plan content in advance. National days often have ready made resources – hashtags, videos, images and themes for you to use in your messages.

If the awareness event covers a number of days, plan social media content with a different focus for each day. Decide what your key messages are and stick to them eg. attracting more volunteers or raising funds.

Last year we successfully used national Befriending Day to kickstart a volunteer recruitment and awareness campaign for our own befriending project Time to Talk. Our week-long campaign highlighted different aspects of loneliness and isolation in our community. The call to action asked local people to get involved in the project and to share our information and stories on different social platforms to target different audiences. If you can’t find a day that fits your mission – why not partner with other local charities and create your own?

Download the cause awareness wall planner from Blackbaud and get cracking!

digital donate

Digital Donation Boxes for Charity Fundraising

The UK is becoming a cashless society. Britons spent £6.9billion a month on contactless cards in August.

Barclaycard found that on-street giving is in decline and 39% of charities see strong signs of this. Almost three-quarters of charities say this type of collection is waning because people carry less cash and Barclaycard also report that 54% of the the public agree that contactless technology makes donating easier.

For those of you relying on voluntary donations – where cash is the way to give – this is cause for concern. Contactless card and mobile payments are becoming the norm so it’s clear that we need to be prepared to offer our supporters a cashless payment option.

There are a number of options available to buy or rent – here are a selection for you to investigate:



Telling Hard Stories

Donors don’t always have allegiance to a specific charity which means you must compete for their attention and money in an information overloaded society.

This is where storytelling comes in. Stories are a great way to inspire action and spread your message. They can help you attract new supporters, donors and increase your reach. 

But what do you do if your story is not a soft sell – about children, the elderly or animals? Not every cause is created equal and some issues don’t get the attention because they don’t have appeal. Cute causes attract donors but often appeals for mental health, addiction, domestic violence, asylum seekers and ex-offenders face challenges.

Charities have an ability to create change and fight on behalf of people who don’t otherwise have a voice. Make your story about impact. It may not be a photogenic cause but tell your audience about the life and community changes that your work helps to bring about. If you are helping offenders, tell your story about the positive outcomes of your support for the offender’s children and families. Storybook Dads is a great example – the charity enables parents in prison to record a bedtime story for their children. The website images and stories concentrate on the children and the positive outcomes from staying connected to their incarcerated parent.

‘For many families, these story discs are a lifeline, helping to heal rifts and build vital family relationships.  It shows the children they are loved and missed. It helps prisoners to feel valued as parents and gives them the opportunity to have a positive impact on their children’s lives.

Talking about a sensitive subject can help to normalise it and dispel myths. The more you talk about what your charity does and the impact of your work, the more solvable the problem seems. What would happened to your community if your charity didn’t tackle the unpopular cause? Encourage your supporters and volunteers to promote your organisation and give them the information to be able to do it with confidence. Give talks locally wherever possible – by giving your beneficiaries a voice it will make your charity more mainstream and acceptable. 

We shy away from telling stories about the hard truth and social stigmas make those vulnerable less likely to receive donations but aren’t these the groups that need it most?

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