Charity Governance Awards banner
October 21st, 2015 by Janet Thorne

We are proud to be inaugural partners of the new Charity Governance Awards 2016, organised by The Clothworkers’ Company, and in partnership with NPC and Prospectus.

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:

  1. Improving impact – charities with 3 paid staff or fewer (including charities with no paid staff)
  2. Improving impact – charities with 4–25 paid staff
  3. Improving impact – charities with 26 paid staff or more
  4. Board diversity & inclusivity
  5. Managing turnaround
  6. Embracing opportunity & harnessing risk

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.


Janet Thorne leads Reach as Chief Executive

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Beacon Counselling
May 2nd, 2013 by Jeanne Davis

Beacon Counselling, a charity that helps people affected by mental or emotional distress in the North West, was keen to improve the way they wrote and targeted funding bid approaches.

They saw an advertisement about Reach’s services and very quickly we helped them to recruit volunteer Alan Smith who has dramatically raised their fundraising game.

James Harper, the charity’s general manager says:

“Alan’s input has transformed our service. As a result of his input, we have a much more strategic approach with most of our funding bids now successful when before it was very much hit or miss. We are now helping more than a thousand people a year – up four fold from 2008 – and have obtained more contracts with the NHS and local authorities in Lancashire and Cheshire. He played a very big part in helping us to win the coveted GlaxoSmithKline IMPACT Award in 2012, beating 351 other applicants.”

Reach volunteer Alan retired a few years ago from a successful and busy career in engineering and as a company director.

He says:

“I was looking to use my business skills in a positive way when I saw an advertisement about Reach. Their staff were very helpful and efficient in researching where I could help and quickly put me in touch with Beacon Counselling – since when we have never looked back!”

A retired writer, Jeanne is Reach’s Volunteer Publicity Officer. You can read more about Jeanne in her series on the Laterlife website.

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Small sparrow in the hand
July 16th, 2010 by Sarah King

‘Where the heck is Mexborough?’ was my opening line when I joined six members of the Mexborough and Swinton Astronomical Society at ICAEW’s Charity Awards last night.

In South Yorkshire apparently where the sky is fantastically clear and star gazing is a dream (unlike here in London when seeing the stars can only be in my dreams).  Even so, I was none the wiser where Mexbourough actually was and will be looking it up on a map later.

However, as the awards ceremony unfolded last night I did learn some other things which won’t need a map search.

The first was that a charity with a turnover of just £6,000 can show 157,000 other charities a few things when it comes to putting the annual review and accounts on line and making them interesting and accessible.  With a turnover so low I didn’t have to ask if their website was run by volunteers – of course it was.  As the chief executive of a skilled volunteering charity I really don’t know why I was so surprised.  Why were they so good?

Well Graham Ward, CBE and chairman of the Judges gave us some great tips for making your financial reporting and accounts online a bit more interesting, more accessible and, frankly, more relevant in this day and age of technology.  So four more learning points from the night were:

  1. good levels of interaction encourage people to engage
  2. use html based design not downloadable documents
  3. cater for the hand held device
  4. if you just upload your pdf then you are showing that the web is an afterthought when as a sector we really need to recognise it is a primary mechanism.

The other learning point last night were the prizes.  The smaller the charity, the larger the award that they received.  Imagine being a charity with a turnover of £6,000 and receiving a cheque for £2,200.  Either you have just raised 1/3 of this year’s income or you have increased your income by 1/3, either way that is an award that makes a real difference.  In contrast The British Library, winner of the over £2m category received an award worth less than 0.01% of their annual income.  I’m sure it’ll be helpful but it’s not quite the same.

So what do you think?  Should we be using our online media to make our story exciting, to liven up the dry annual report and accounts?  Have a look at some of the winners.  I’ll make no bones they are all more engaging online than ours.  I love our new bright, small format annual review but online we’ve some work to do… mind you ICAEW –  just you wait till next year!!

ICAEW winners included:

Sarah is Reach’s former Chief Executive, leading the organisation from 2008 until 2012

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