“As a passionate believer in the worth of volunteering, my involvement with Reach for over 20 years has given me a particular insight to its vital role in both local community organisations and the charitable sector.
Reach has continuously provided expertise and skill, at no charge, to organisations that desperately need these but could in no way afford them.
At the same time Reach provides the means for individuals to consider becoming involved as volunteers and then connecting them to one or more organisations that truly value their voluntary contribution. A virtuous circle.”
“I have undertaken several reports on the voluntary sector for the Government – most notably a statutory Review of the Charities Act 2006. This work has shown me the tremendous contribution made by the sector to the life of the country.
But it has also shown me that voluntary groups, like all of us, can always do better. The trustees and volunteers who run them may lack the necessary range of experience, skills and up to date knowledge.
Further that too many donors see their relationship with a voluntary group in purely economic terms. Of course these groups need money but they also need to learn how to deploy these funds to maximum effect.
This is where Reach can help. It provides access to a range of individuals of varied ages, skills and experience who are prepared to ‘get their hands dirty’ to help voluntary groups achieve their goals.”
“Reach Volunteering services provide an excellent platform for volunteers and charitable organisations to find a match of skills and opportunities, as I know from my personal experience using them when I started to seek volunteer roles in the charity arena.
They cover a broad spectrum of disciplines and types of charities, as well as providing helpful support both to the third sector and to those of us wishing to be a part of it.”
“Skills-based volunteering is an essential ingredient of a well-functioning third sector and a well-functioning economy. As the leading skills-based volunteering charity in the UK, Reach Volunteering does tremendous work in helping both charities, volunteers and societies fulfil their potential. I am proud to be an Ambassador for their important work.”
Entries are now open to charities both large and small, from all sectors, for the Charity Governance Awards 2017 – the UK awards that recognise and reward good charity governance.
Reach Volunteering is delighted to be a partner in these awards that by shining a spotlight on the best of the sector, demonstrate how effective governance can transform a charity and the lives of its beneficiaries.
Entry to the awards is free. Each of the seven categories offers a £5,000 cash prize.
Looking for inspiration for your entry? Want to know what makes an award winner special? Browse the profile pages and short films for the winners, and the shortlisted charities.
You can enter online for free until 13 January 2017. The winners will be announced at the invite-only free awards ceremony drinks reception on 24 May 2017. Follow the conversation at #charitygov17
The Charity Governance Awards are organised by The Clothworkers’ Company – a City Livery company that supports trusteeship initiatives – in partnership with NPC (New Philanthropy Capital), Prospectus and Reach.
Reach has launched building boards for a digital age to increase the digital expertise of charity trustee boards. Working in collaboration with partners, we will be supporting boards to recruit ‘digital trustees’ and maximise their ability to lead their charities through this digital age.
Every charity is operating in a digital world now. When you make decisions about any element of your operations, digital is a key component, whether you chose to embrace it or not. How you should store and organise your data, how best to communicate with beneficiaries, donors and funders, how you promote your services, how you deliver them, and how you measure their effectiveness – these are all digital questions.
Many charities shy away from digital because they fear that they have insufficient expertise, and they worry that digital projects can be expensive, tricky and risky to implement. And they can be all those things.
But the benefits can also be huge – greater reach, scalable services, efficiency savings, to name but a few. And the risk of ignoring digital is even greater – a slow but fatal slide into irrelevance or obscurity.
It is crucial that charities have a strategic approach to digital. Not digital for digital’s sake, but for the contribution it can make to your charity’s strategic goals.
Your board needs to have the expertise and knowledge to:
• see the huge opportunities that digital offers your charity
• make informed decisions about the risks that it brings
• champion digital innovation
• ask probing questions of your plans.
I know from first-hand experience (having led Reach through its own digital transformation) that board buy-in to the project was essential. It made all the difference having trustees with digital expertise who really understood the process. They provided proper oversight, helped source experts, and most crucially of all, kept their nerve at sticky moments. But even if you don’t have any big projects planned, you still need to be considering what role digital should play in your strategy.
We are supporting charities to build their board’s digital expertise, by working together with public, private and voluntary sector partners to provide:
• useful resources and guidance
• links to training
• direct support to recruit trustees with digital expertise.
Digital is a topic that the whole board needs to engage with but it can really help to have at least one trustee with specialist knowledge. Someone that can champion the role of digital and ask more searching questions. We are therefore focusing our efforts on helping charities to recruit digital trustees.
Working with partners, we are building a pipeline of prospective digital trustees. We will promote charities’ digital trustee positions through these and other partners; through our TrusteeWorks recruitment service; and through LinkedIn and other channels.
If you are already thinking about recruiting, we’d encourage you to upload a role with us by 4 November so that you can take advantage of our big push this November. This will include promotion with key partners, a tailored search on your behalf by our TrusteeWorks team, and lots of social media promotion during Trustees’ Week (7 -13 November). And all of this is free!
You can also register to receive regular updates from our campaign and links to free resources – just complete the newsletter sign up details on this page.
We are delighted to share with you some highlights from our annual review 2015/16. It was a busy and exciting time here at Reach as our operations went from a manually brokered service to a self-service and peer to peer one.
Last year we:
• recorded 506 volunteer placements
• supported 306 charities
• made 2,300 introductions between charities and volunteers.
We estimate that the total value of the skills transferred to the sector by our volunteers is £7.3m.
So, what next? Our focus is firmly on the not-for-profits and volunteers who use our service.
We will keep seeking feedback to improve our service and help our users to achieve their end goals, both increasing capacity and strengthening the governance of organisations, and helping volunteers find professionally rewarding ways to make a difference.
Read more about our achievements and our plans for the year ahead in our full annual review 2015/16.
In partnership with the FSI during Small Charity Week, we are offering small charities a special one-off telephone Advisory Panel on Friday 17 June, Volunteering Day.
The Advisory Panel is made up of skilled volunteers who are part of our Service Team.
Consultations usually last 15 minutes.
To book a phone consultation on Friday 17 June, please email firstname.lastname@example.org putting ‘Small Charity Week phone advice’ in the subject line.
Please include some information that will help us prepare for your session:
This will allow your advisor to prepare and provide you with the best possible information.
We will then contact you confirming a consultation time. We will try to accommodate your preferences, but it may not be possible due to demand.
You can also call us to book an appointment on 020 7582 6543.
Many of the topics covered by our Advisory Panel can also be found in our Knowledge Centre, our online resource with hints, tips and advice about skilled volunteering.
Please contact us if you have any questions, we look forward to talking to you on Volunteering Day.
On Monday 16th Nov I pedalled my way to City Hall, Tower Bridge to attend the Inspiring Trusteeship Conference. The event was organised by Greater London Volunteering in partnership with us at Reach and Team London, who provided the glorious City Hall as the venue. Everything was offered pro-bono – a zero budget / no charge conference.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘inspiring’ doesn’t necessarily spring to mind as an obvious prefix to Trusteeship, but as the day unfolded, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed and learnt from the day.
The day started formally, in City Hall’s great Chamber. After the delegates made their way up the gently sloping, spiral ramp, Cameron the chair of GLV introduced himself and guest speakers Dr Alice Maynard CBE and Leon Ward. Alice gave an insightful analysis of trusteeship, focusing on the importance of challenging perspectives on the board and inciting debate amongst members to spark development. I listened avidly as she spoke about her own experience as a trustee and CEO.
Next came Leon, bringing the ‘young persons’ view, which made for a good comparison. At 23, he’d already held many trustee positions and he spoke candidly about his own personal development through trusteeship. He was able to demonstrate how important it was to have a fresh perspective on a trustee board; be it through a younger generation of trustees or implementing maximum terms.
This discussion was followed seamlessly, with a more focused conversation on the specific CEO and Chair relationship within the charity context and beyond. This panel included Ros Oakley (Association of Chairs), Gerald Oppenheim (Chair of The Camden Society), David Gold (Prospectus) and Charles Smith (Chair of the Governing Body at Burdett-Coutts & Townshend Foundation CE Primary School). Afterwards, the floor was opened to questions and I had the important task of handling the roving mic. The Q&A afterwards was lively, particularly when a passing comment on power vs leadership roused many in the audience.
After my 15 minutes of fame, I lingered at the back of the Chamber to watch Janet, Reach’s CEO, present a descriptive Pecha Kucha (in case you don’t know what Pecha Kucha is, check out this link). Her five minutes sharp, were just enough for her to explain a little about our new online service and the tools that it offers for charities looking to find great trustees. As the first of four presentations, she masterfully handled the pressure and left the room awash with questions which was continued during the networking time in the market place, where the Reach stand was inundated with people enquiring into our service.
The other four pecha kucha presentations also provided valuable information in a short space of time, with NCVO on their PQASSO quality mark, as well as the Association of Chairs, Russell Cooke LLP and the Cranfield Trust.
Following lunch, the entire group made its way back up the spiralling ramp, an interesting commute but definitely not the most efficient, to the Chamber where we heard Reena Pastakia talk about her experience of becoming a trustee. I enjoyed listening to her speak. Perhaps it was hearing about the exciting organisation that she’d become a trustee for, Sound Seekers. Or maybe it was just a nice story to listen to, but I thought it split the conference up nicely, allowing for a good balance between discussion and presentation. She spoke inspiringly about how the position had made a huge difference in her life as well as what she had contributed. (You can see Reena speaking the picture above).
For the last hour or so, delegates chose one of four workshops to attend. These were: Legal updates for Trustees, Tips for recruiting great Trustees, Introduction to Trusteeship and Funding landscape in London. I sat in on Introduction to Trusteeship, presented by Janet, who spoke in depth about the significance of any trustee role and the challenges that it may present. After taking a stab at defining the ‘ideal’ trustee board, she settled on the term ‘Critical Friend‘. This is used to refer to the board that is able to challenge and scrutinise its CEO effectively.
The workshop slid nicely onto an interactive chat on Risk vs. Innovation. One of the key points brought up here, was the importance of a board that proactively manages risk rather than avoiding it. The audience seemed more than eager to contribute and some thought provoking points were raised.
To round the workshop off, the group were asked to form smaller teams and then to complete a small task which involved coming up with a strategy needed to solve a specific problem. Despite it coming up to 4 o’clock in a day full of information and chatting with various people, the group remained engaged; a positive evaluation of the event, I thought.
Whilst the last delegates mingled, the Reach team re-grouped and discussed the conference. It seemed we’d all had a good time, achieved a lot and learnt something. For me, it was important to see the great work that people contribute to organisations everywhere, harnessing a lifetime of experience to benefit others. I suppose this is how I find trusteeship inspiring – that people are willing to offer their own skills in a position of huge responsibility, that reverberates globally in some cases but which largely goes unnoticed and mostly un-applauded, except for at events such as these.
Thanks again to GLV and Team London for hosting the event. You can find some of the presentations from the event on the GLV website.
We have been working on these awards for a while: you may remember that last year we blogged about an upcoming governance award to promote, reward and celebrate good governance. Now, more than ever, we all need a focus on trustee boards that are really effective.
The recent headlines about Kids Company have provided plenty of coverage about what happens when governance fails. Every charity needs to take stock and ask: could this happen to our charity? Is our board sufficiently well informed and robust? However, there is also danger that the pendulum swings the other way, and boards become overcautious and risk averse. Indeed, there is a long running critique that many charity trustees are too cautious.
The new Charity Governance Awards will shine the spotlight on cases where boards have got it right. The awards are designed to generate examples of the impact that good governance – for example, a focus on impact, or in leading a charity to turnaround its fortunes. We hope that this will reward good practice and inspire other boards. The awards will demonstrate what a positive and pivotal role trusteeship can be – and this is essential if we are to attract more good people to the role.
Entries for the awards are now open to charities both large and small, from all sectors. We are keen to encourage entries from all charities that have great boards and the awards are designed to be equally accessible to smaller charities. Mindful that such trustees are often focused on things other than entering for awards, we have ensured that the process is easy, entry is free, and that each of the six categories offers a £5000 cash prize.
If you think that your charity has a great board visit the website to find out how to enter. Similarly, if you know of a such a charity, please reward them with a nomination.
The award categories are:
The deadline for all entries is 15 January 2016 and those who have been short-listed will be invited to the awards event in London on 12 May 2016, where the winners will be announced.
Thank you to everyone who took part in the original survey – your contributions and thoughts are much appreciated.
Visit the Charity Governance Awards website to find out more.