community

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Be a Good Neigbour in North Surrey!

Good Neighbours voluntary organisations are run by local people for local people.

All groups offer a helping hand to the less able and vulnerable in our North Surrey community, providing both practical help, with tasks and emotional help through befriending schemes or social activities. Most offer transport to medical appointments, library or prescription collections or a hand with the shopping.

All of the groups in our area reach out to isolated people and each group operates in their own way, to deliver what is needed in our community.

Jean lives in New Haw and has been a client of New Haw and Woodham Good Neighbours for six years. Jean told us “The volunteer drivers have done so much for me. They took me to see my mother in her nursing home and they take me to the hospital or to the doctors. I know that Good Neighbours are just a phone call away and they are happy to take me anywhere.”

There are over 100 voluntary good neighbour schemes in Surrey all looking for volunteers 

The beauty of being a volunteer for a Good Neighbours scheme is the flexibility. One of New Haw and Woodham Good Neighbours volunteers Jack explained why he became a volunteer driver

“It’s so simple! New Haw and Woodham Good Neighbours will give me a list of driving jobs and I just accept those that I can fit into my schedule.” 

This is a unique and direct way to help others in your community by improving neighbourly spirit and goodwill. Volunteers also tell us about how they enjoy being part of a team and that they’ve made new friends and combatted their own loneliness and isolation. 

Make a difference in your community – find out how to be a good neighbour in Surrey

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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!

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Surrey Heath Volunteer Awards 2019

We were delighted by the superb turnout at our annual Surrey Heath Volunteer Awards 2019. We trialled a new venu at the Camberley Heath Golf Club which turned out to be an inspired idea from TJ Pursell, our tireless event organiser! The tea, cake, Rushmoor Male Voice Choir and amazing volunteers made the afternoon really special and memorable.

Well done to all the nominees and winners – we’re very proud to be part of the volunteer community in Surrey Heath. You are an inspiring lot!

Maureen Hume – Camberley Alzheimer CafeInspirational Volunteer Award

Tara Gibbons – Old Dean CommunityInspirational Volunteer Award

Malcolm Treen – Radio Frimley ParkIndividual Volunteer Achievement Award

John Archer – Camberley CareIndividual Volunteer Achievement Award

David Reed & Helen Manning –  Frontline Debt Advice – Supporting Individuals in Need Award (older, young and vulnerable people)

Margaret Coleman – High Cross Church – Long Service Award

Jonathan Noble – Camberley RFCYoung Volunteer Award

Oliver Pile – Camberley Judo ClubYoung Volunteer Award

Surrey Heath Age Concern – Best Volunteer Team Award

 Roger Berry – Camberley Rugby ClubContribution to Sport Award

 Scott Ramsey – Catalyst Support Wellbeing Sports ActivitiesContribution to Sport Award

 Andy Draper – V&FLP – Digital Support Award

 Connie Jackson – Cancer Research Shop Camberley – Volunteer Charity Shop

 Steve Lamb – 1st Bagshot ScoutsVSNS Long Service Award

 Jeff Davies – Lightwater CareVSNS Long Service Award

 Gabriella Middleton – YMCALifetime Achievement in Volunteering

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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:

https://www.goodbox.com/contactless-payment-technology/

https://thyngs.net/solutions/charity

https://www.nationalfundingscheme.org/tap-donate/

https://www.tapforchange.org.uk/

https://www.payacharity.com/

https://www.libertypay.co.uk/donation-boxes.html

 

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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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Match Funding and In-Kind Funding

Match funding is a straightforward concept. It involves a funder agreeing to match, or partially match an amount of funding already pledged to a charity project. It’s an attractive option for funders because it gives assurance of the nonprofit applicant’s capacity to raise adequate funds.

There are two types of match funding: “actual” and “in-kind”.

Actual match funding is hard cash.

In-kind match funding is non-cash funding of free goods or services, such as volunteer hours, that can be given a value and be included in the project budget. If you have a shortfall to reach the neccessary match funding amount and you can offset some of your project costs with volunteer contributions this could be an option.

If your funder will accept in-kind match funding, you can claim the value of volunteer hours providing you outline how you will keep accurate records and provide evidence of the costs and include in the breakdown of expenditure on the application form.

Your funder may have their own rules of how to measure the economic value of volunteer hours and services. If not, make your own calculation by multiplying the total volunteer hours by an hourly wage rate, either using the national minimum wage or median hourly wage. The minimum wage probably underestimates the value, while the median wage may overestimate it. Calculate both and decide on a reasonable figure between the two.

Create a plan showing volunteer activities e.g. role description, hourly rate and work schedule detailing timescales and volunteer hours. Use your volunteer cost and plan to make an accurate and realistic in-kind contribution for your applications.

Often for larger capital projects, funders will only grant funding when other applications have been successful and the project looks likely to reach completion. Using goods and services in-kind contributions will reduce the project balance and make the finish line seem more achievable and therefore more attractive to other funders. In-kind contribution/match funding also shows your commitment to the project by documenting community and volunteer involvement and and your ability and potential for hard work to make the project a reality.

Even if match funding is not a requirement, document pledged volunteer hours and free products and services and include them in your application – every little helps!

https://www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/library/fundraising-focus-match-funding/

https://funraise.org/blog/all-your-nonprofit-needs-to-know-in-kind-donations/

 

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This is Trustees Week 2019

There are over 700,000 charity trustees in the UK leading and directing how our charities are managed and run. This is the week of the year when the spotlight turns on them and we thank them for their service to the many and varied voluntary groups up and down the country.

When I was considering content for our social media this week, my boss said “We have trustees – ask them why they do it” and I did.

Everyone of them said they wanted to make a difference to the Surrey community where their friends and family live. For a few who are newly retired, they felt their skills and experience were still relevant and useful and they wanted to share years of accumulated expertise. Having benefited from free, expert advice in HR, finance, management, team building and dynamics, IT, local government and social policy we agree! Being self employed, one of our board enjoys the ideas and discussions, sometimes spirited, and being part of a bigger decision making process. We also have a trustee who had been placed as a volunteer by VSNS and wanted to support us to make sure we continued to help organisations.

I also asked what made a good trustee and got lots of verbs in return – strong, reliable, thoughtful, trustworthy, stalwart, good in a crisis, punctual, passionate, charitable, sympathetic, loyal. All words for us to aspire to!

There are lots of reasons to be a trustee: passion for a cause or your community; retirement with skills to share; being part of something bigger or time on your hands to get involved. If any of these descriptions ring true and you’ve thought about being a trustee for a local charity we want to hear from you.

Contact alison@voluntarysupport.org.uk or call 01932 571122

More reading! 

Good Trustee Guide

https://knowhow.ncvo.org.uk/governance/getting-started-in-governance/trustees

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A Volunteer’s Story – Befriending Week 2019

‘I first met J, a 90 year old lady in January 2014. It was the first time I’d been a befriender but my flat is 5 minutes from her home so it was really convenient. We were both uncertain of how it would go but we found it easy to chat over tea and her delicious homemade cakes.

As time passed, I helped her with her garden and we got closer. I was really interested to hear about her life and she was interested in mine too. We became real friends.

J turned 96 this month and I’m proud to say that we have really grown to love one another. We are very different in ages and background but we just seemed to click and enjoy any time we spend together.

J now has live-in carers so is still happily living in her home. I visit 2 or 3 times a week and on good days we play cribbage, which she taught me, and I still do her garden under her careful supervision!

I am so glad I became a befriender and met this wonderful lady.’

For a growing number of people, particularly those in later life, loneliness can define their lives and have a significant impact on their wellbeing. 3.6 million older people in the UK live alone, of whom over 2 million are aged over 75.

We have befriending volunteering opportunities all over Surrey. It’s an easy process and you will get as much as you give – please make a difference and be a friend.

Surrey Heath Age Concern http://www.sh-ac.org.uk call 01252 266841

Age UK Surrey : https://www.ageuk.org.uk/services/befriending-services/ call 01483 503414

Time to Talk https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/volunteering/time-to-talk/ call 01276 707565

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Your Christmas Donor Journey

We know that December is the biggest month of the whole year for donations. 30% of annual giving occurs in December and 10% of annual giving occurs on the last 3 days of the year. Hopefully your campaign will be ready for the 1st which is now only a month away – no pressure!

Since 54% of donors prefer to donate online, your Christmas campaign planning should include work on your website and smoothing your donor journey.

Your website

When was the last time your website was updated? A Christmas campaign will bring new and old visitors and your site must look fresh and current so that new visitors are engaged and old friends are reading something new.

Hopefully you understand the importance of storytelling for your organisation. It’s kind of the defining element of your online work. The most basic and usually most effective approach is the story of one individual and how your organisation helped them. Make your site all about human stories – especially at Christmas – it’s a great time to tug heartstrings and gives urgency to your fundraising.

Smooth your donor journey

Let’s hope all your planning has been rewarded with lots of people visiting the donation page on your website. How easy is it for them to make a donation? Have you tested it? What about donating using mobile or tablet? These are really important considerations since 24% of all online donations in 2018 were made using a mobile device.

Make it easy. Don’t distract visitors from the action of donating. Reduce the number of steps involved, the less clicks, the less chance your donor will bounce. Make your donation page only about donating and the key information needed to complete the transaction. Remove any other calls to action like newsletter sign-up forms or volunteering information and ask for as little personal information as possible with the minimum number of fields to complete.

Check the speed of your website – slow speeds kill conversions. 47% of visitors expect websites to load in two seconds or less — and 40% will abandon a page that takes three or more seconds. This means that if your site takes more than three seconds to load, you lose almost half of your visitors before they even arrive on your site.

In November, December and January there’s typically a 19% increase in online donations compared to other quarters of the year so make the most of your end of year fundraising by getting ready and getting it right!

Some reading for inspiration:

https://www.lightful.com/blog/social-media/charity-christmas-campaigns-2018/

https://www.charitydigitalnews.co.uk/2018/10/24/7-tips-for-planning-your-charity-christmas-email-campaigns/

https://www.charitydigitalnews.co.uk/2019/10/28/christmas-in-october-the-most-memorable-charity-christmas-campaigns/

https://my.virginmoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Knowledge-Takeaway-12-days-of-social-v0.3.pdf

 

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Giving to Local Charities – Community Foundation for Surrey

Many of our local charities rely on funding from the Community Foundation for Surrey. In order to give, the Foundation needs to attract local donors whose funding can help causes in our community.
 
The success of the Community Foundation is that it understands our local area, what the priority needs are and how best to address these needs. This knowledge allows them to manage and direct the donor funds to causes that donors are passionate about and will make the most difference.
 
Many CFS donors have said that they would never have come across the local groups they have helped fund without the Foundation connecting them. By setting up a fund with the Foundation, you can target your giving to make a difference to the causes that you care about and provide support to those who need it across Surrey.
 
In the past 14 years, CFS have generated a total of £25 million to support Surrey communities and have awarded over 3,400 grants to support groups tackling identified needs in health, education, exclusion, the environment, sport and the arts, and also training, education and employment.
 
Find out more about how you can set up a donor fund and give back to Surrey with help from CFS
 
https://www.cfsurrey.org.uk/giving/
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