small charity

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VSNS awarded a Lieutenancy Certificate of Appreciation

We're delighted that VSNS has been awarded a Lieutenancy Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of the critical role the staff and volunteers have played in supporting local communities during the COVID pandemic.

We exist to support voluntary organisations, and during the pandemic quickly adapted to support residents and assist the council and health partners with a wide range of initiatives, including:

  • Supporting the management and oversight of the vaccination centres
  • Setting up services where there were gaps, e.g. shopping services/prescription deliveries
  • Supporting a massive volunteer programme and signposting to key areas of need
  • Providing key community insights for local authorities

When the pandemic began, VSNS were able to coordinate the offers of help and introduce the technology needed to manage large numbers of volunteers. The organisation is continuing work to recruit volunteers for six vaccination centres in Surrey to help with covid and flu vaccines. Since January, 1400 volunteers have marshalled at North Surrey vaccine centres for more than 70,000 hours.

It has been a difficult couple of years and the end is not yet in sight. But amidst all the negatives, we have seen the best of people coming together to do what is needed in their communities, to help each other. The voluntary and community sector was a natural place to go for many people, with much of the coordination and support led by local infrastructure organisations such as VSNS.

Chief Officer for North West Surrey Health & Care Alliance, Jack Wagstaff, said: “Thank you, your swift action and continued support with the recruitment of volunteers has saved lives.”

Leader of Spelthorne Borough Council, Cllr Lawrence Nichols, said: “I would like to thank Voluntary Support North Surrey for all the fantastic work they have done to help keep communities safe and well during the pandemic, and everything they continue to do. So many people have become interested in volunteering since the pandemic began and VSNS has done a brilliant job coordinating those offers of help, supporting our vaccinations centres and identifying areas of need.”

DBS

VSNS DBS Process

In order to speed up the DBS process and to give your organisation more control, we are suggesting that you perform your own DBS checks using an online provider.We’ve had recommendations for two online providers below:

  • Disclosure Services (there is a £12 admin charge including VAT per check for volunteers with no charge to register)
  • U-Check (there is a £14 admin charge per check including VAT for up to 50 volunteer checks with a one-off registration fee of £49 plus VAT).

This online route is far more efficient since the application is completed electronically (thus eliminating errors); the identity of the applicant is verified by the recruiting organisation and the turnaround for receiving the DBS certificate is quick (usually within a day or two of completing the online application) although this is dependent on there being no problems with the application at the police service level.

Face to Face DBS Checks

For those of you who wish to continue with face-to-face checks, Surrey Community Action can offer these for an admin fee of £9.60 but you will need to be able to travel to Guildford.  For more information, please contact Amanda Channer on 01483 566072 or by email at amandac@surreyca.org.uk.

Making DBS checks portable by subscribing to the DBS Update Service

Please remember to encourage all your volunteers to register with the Update Service to make their DBS check portable.  This means that your volunteers will not have to complete another check since the online subscription held by the Update Service is updated with any new information.  You will be able to access the volunteer’s Update Service subscription with their permission using their DBS certificate number.  Here is the information on the DBS Update Service for employers.  Please also remind your volunteers to keep their DBS certificate in conjunction with their subscription to the Update Service as this holds the information on the level of check and may be needed for reference in future.

#LocalGiving1

Local Giving - small charities need you!

Christmas campaigns for national charities are in fully swing, but have you ever looked closer to home? It’s smaller local organisations at the heart of our communities that are really making a difference and have also been hardest hit by the pandemic. Now is the perfect time to support them and their users and there are lots of simple ways you can help both up to Christmas and beyond.
We’ll be updating the information below throughout the run up to Christmas. If you’re a local organisation with something to share – please contact us.
Know of something worthwhile we haven’t highlighted? Let us know
Share your shopping
Don’t forget to pop a little something into your trolley for the Foodbank as you start to stock up for the big day. Runnymede, Spelthorne and Surrey Heath Foodbanks all have lists of items they’re in need of here. But don’t leave it too late as they start preparing Christmas deliveries in early December - click here to find your nearest foodbank
Cards that care
Lots of us already choose charity cards to send out at Christmas, but did you know some local charities produce their own designs? White Lodge, Woking and Sam Beare Hospice and Princess Alice Hospice have a range of designs which you can easily buy online.
Local charity shops also often have a good selection of cards on offer (and maybe you’ll find some bargain gifts while you’re in there).
But have you considered going cardless this Christmas and making a donation to charity instead? Many local charities have their own websites and donate buttons making it easy and simple to give. And there are some wonderful causes – from charities like Eikon supporting mental health in schools to the Village Centre in Englefield Green offering range of services to the local community.
Give a gift that really matters
It can feel nice to give a physical gift rather than just make a cash donation and lots of charities really welcome this.
Just a Helping Hand is a Chertsey-based organisation supporting the homeless. They are creating rucksacks of useful items for those in need including items like shampoo bars, hats, gloves etc. Maybe get together with some friends and each buy something to put in the rucksack. These are needed by December 15th.
The Salvation Army in Addlestone are running their annual Christmas present appeal, looking for donations of new toys, books or gift vouchers for local children who otherwise may not receive a gift this year. You can drop items to the Salvation Army Hall in Addlestone between 9 and 12 Monday to Friday before December 10th or we also welcome donations to our office in Chertsey.
Home Start Surrey Heath in Camberley are collecting toys for local children in need. You can donate at the Entertainer in Camberley or High Cross Church until December 6th.

Many charities create a gift list on Amazon so you can buy exactly what they need:
• Oasis Childcare in Cobham support children in vulnerable situation. They provide food hampers for families, and also look to offer gifts to the children. See their list here
• Hersham Hounds are looking for items to support their work with retired racing greyhounds – details here
• Transform Housing provides housing and support to over 1,500 homeless and vulnerable people each year across Surrey. Find out about their needs here
Or you can simply ensure you support local charities as you buy gifts for others. Shop using Amazon Smile and donate to local charities as you buy – lots of local charities are listed and you can search easily for them here. Each time you buy something on Amazon, your chosen charity gets a portion of the purchase price.
Feelgood festive events
Nothing like a Christmas market or Santa run to get you in the festive mood – just don’t forget to pre-register for these.
Woking and Sam Beare Hospice are combing the two with a Christmas market and a fun run on December 5th at Woking Leisure Cente.
White Lodge have added a canine twist to their festive exercise with a Santa Paws Lakeside Walk at Virginia Water on December 4th.
Or if you’re heading to Guildford for some Christmas shopping, why not combine it with Kelly’s Santa Fun Run at Stoke Park on December 5th where they are raising money for Challengers – a charity that helps disabled children and their families.
Surplus to Supper, a Sunbury-based charity working across North Surrey to bridge the gap between food waste and food poverty, are hosting a shopping evening on 2nd December from 6.30 to 8.30.
Look ahead to 2022
Don’t let the end of Christmas mark the end of your interest in supporting great local charities.
As you look to spring cleaning or wonder what to do with unwanted Christmas gifts, think about donating goods to local organisations. Good quality and new items are particularly welcomed by many local organisations.
Your Sanctuary support survivors of domestic abuse. They particularly welcome donations of unopened and unused toiletries and perfumes.
As you start to think about making New Year’s resolutions, consider giving some of your time to volunteer. There are lots of opportunities whatever your skills and availability – take a look on our website where you can search current opportunities and you can register your details with us to receive regular updates of new opportunities.

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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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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

 

future

Legacy Fundraising for Small Charities

Legacy income increased to £3bn last year. Charities are now focusing their efforts on legacies because of the UK’s ageing population. According to the Office for National Statistics, 11.8 million people in the UK were 65 and over in 2016, representing 18 per cent of the population. That figure is projected to grow to 20.4 million by 2066.

However, 60% of adults don’t have a will and although 35% of over 40s in the UK 'would be happy to' leave gifts to charity, but only about 6 per cent actually do so. This is a huge opportunity for local charities to explain what the work they do and inspire people to leave them a gift for a community cause they care about.

Writing about legacies on and offline can be daunting. Knowing what to say, getting the tone right and knowing where to put the messages on your website or in your literature is challenging. This is where Google is your friend! Look online at how the big charities tackle legacy fundraising – legacy visions, language used, stories, how legacies are spent, information on will writing and the downloads they offer to supporters.

Another important consideration is making sure everyone in your organisation (staff, trustees and volunteers) know about your legacy giving program and are confident to talk about making legacy gifts as a way to support you. Presentations (internal and external) should include a slide about how you would spend a gift from a will. Repeat the message little and often by telling stories to help normalise the idea of legacies as a way to support your organisation. The more people who are confident talking about legacies and including them in their wider work, the greater reach you can achieve with your message.

Finally, know the law. Approach a local solicitor to talk through the legalities of accepting legacies and put together the information a potential legacy donor and their will writer might need. Helpful information is likely to include your official name, address and registered charity number.

For many larger charities, legacies are a major source of income but being a small organisation shouldn’t stop you adding legacy to your fundraising strategy and seeking funds through gifts in wills from your supporters.

Before getting started I strongly recommend you read:

Institute of Fundraising https://www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/guidance/fundraising-with-individuals/legacies/#introduction

Code of Fundraising Practice https://www.fundraisingregulator.org.uk/code/specific-fundraising-methods/legacies

Charity Commission https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wills-and-charitable-legacies

Remember a Charity https://www.rememberacharity.org.uk/making-a-will/

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