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August 17th, 2016 by Lucia das Neves

This article was first posted on the Institute of Fundraising blog on 16 August 2016.

Never has there been a more important moment for fundraisers to consider becoming a trustee. The Institute of Fundraising’s own recent research has highlighted the vital need for fundraising expertise on Boards. And we at Reach Volunteering know of many charities looking for this expertise.

Joining a Board might be about making that mental leap from hands on fundraiser to a different kind of leadership and governance. Does it seem daunting? Do you have time?

Our experience of recruiting skills-based volunteers shows us some of the best qualified candidates hesitate when faced with the idea of a completely new context. Don’t. Your expertise and experience in the charity sector will be hugely valuable to another charity. There are also plenty of support and resources out there. Trustee roles do vary in terms of time commitment, but you can choose the kind of opportunity and organisation that’s right for you.

As a trustee, you will see first-hand how decisions are made at Board Level and put your growing leadership and governance skills to good use. You will undoubtedly bring back learning and knowledge to your day job that will support your career progression in the long term. What better way to demonstrate that you have the skills for promotion?

This is a chance to share with others your talent for raising funds. If you’ve had a career break or are considering a new direction, this might also be the perfect way to put your skills to work.

There’s probably no need to tell fundraisers about the value of supporting a charity – you do that every day! But it is worth saying that skills-based volunteering like trusteeship is making a difference to charities across the country right now.

Volunteers are supporting a range of local, national and international causes in health & wellbeing, the arts, the environment, to name a few. This is also a great way to support a cause in your local community, and one of the many small to medium charities that make up the majority of our sector.

So, where do you find a role? Reach Volunteering is the single biggest source of trustees for the voluntary sector in the UK. First, you need three or more year’s experience to register with us. And you do need to register. Don’t be discouraged by the questions – it won’t take long and we find that going through the process means we make better matches. We placed 506 volunteers in 309 charities last year alone – so it does work.

We estimate that the total value of the skills transferred to the sector by our volunteers was £7.3m last year – you could make that figure even higher and build your career at the same time.

What are you waiting for?

Lucia is the Marketing and Communications Manager at Reach Volunteering.

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2014 Calendar
January 22nd, 2014 by Madeleine Boomgaarden

Reach Volunteering has entered 2014 on a strong note! We have secured long-term funding from institutions like GlaxoSmithKline and City Bridge Trust and plan to introduce iReach, our new web-based platform. This will dramatically increase the volume, range and quality of skilled volunteering across the U.K.

iReach will come into service this summer, building an online community where charities and skilled volunteers meet, interact, and find their ideal match. It will create an increased number of matches and significantly reduce Reach’s transaction costs.

Reach had an excellent 2013 helping to place 20% more skilled volunteers than in the previous year, representing an estimated value of £8mn worth of skills transferred into the sector.

A Reach highlight was the decision to make our Trusteeworks Matching Service free from 1 November for charities with an annual turnover of less than £1mn. This led to a 150% increase in demand for the service.

There was a huge surge in volunteer registrations in the second half of the year, with an average of 167 new volunteers joining the Reach register every month, double the amount for the same period last year!

Charities continually need to fill vacancies in key roles, particularly as trustees. Reach, as the U.K’s leading skilled volunteering charity has been providing this invaluable service for more than 30 years. Our placement advisors are widely respected for their expertise and enthusiasm in finding the right match between skilled volunteer and charity.

Madeleine was Reach’s Marketing Manager until August 2014

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Small Charity Week Team
May 14th, 2013 by Guest Contributor

Conchita from The FSI guest blogs in the run-up to 2013’s Small Charity Week.

Recent research by the FSI into the skills gaps within the small charity sector has shown that charitable organisations with an annual turnover under £1.5 million continue to struggle in key areas which impacts on their ability to deliver services.

The full report shows that as small charities prioritise the use of funding to deliver frontline programmes, they are increasingly unable to train or develop staff and volunteers. 66% of respondents stated there was no funding available for training and development, while 37% said there would be no room to improve their charitable services, which could impair the quality delivered to beneficiaries.

Small charities reported that impact reporting, long-term strategic planning and marketing were the areas in which they were struggling to plug this skills gap in their organisation. To see the full report, please click here.

Small Charity Week 2013 will be taking place between the 17th-22nd June and aims to address some of the issues raised by small charities as areas in which they struggle. Small charities can sign up to six days of free initiatives and competitions, including cash prizes, pro-bono advice and guidance from third sector and business experts including, the FSI, Reach, Oxfam and Credit Suisse to name a few. Also available will be opportunities for small charities to engage with policy makers and influencers when Nick Hurd, Minister of Civil Society hosts a cross-party event at Westminster on Policy Day.

Small charities have told us they continue to rely heavily on volunteers to support their activity and for the first time the FSI are including a Volunteering Day into the week’s programme to help small charities to promote their volunteer opportunities and find the skills they need for their organisation. We are excited to be working alongside Reach to support charities on this day.

The full breakdown for the week is as follows:

  • I Love Small Charities Day – 17 June: Three competitions to win funds for your charity
  • Big Advice Day – 18 June: Pro-bono advice on any charity topic of your choosing will be available from experts across the sector and business leaders either face to face or via phone or Skype
  • Policy Day – 19 June: Local and national events will be held to support engagement between small charities and policy makers and influencers
  • Volunteering Day – 20 June: Showcase your small charity volunteering opportunities and register for free events including a Media Trust speed-matching event.
  • Fundraising Day – 21 June: Take part in a number of competitions and initiatives to raise vital funds for your small charity for FREE, including the chance to win a share of £1,000 from the Vodafone Foundation, to raise funds from eBay users during Small Charity Week or receive your quiz toolkit to run your own community event.
  • Celebration Day – 22 June: Book your free charity stand to engage with the public at a mini festival held in central London, or why not run your own event to celebrate your amazing work.

Small charities can sign up to all of the free activities of Small Charity Week through the website and follow news through twitter @SCWeek2013 or the Facebook page

Conchita Garcia is Head of Projects and Development at The FSI. Here she blogs in a personal capacity.

Guest contributors are invited by Reach to give their own take on issues related to skilled volunteering and trusteeship. We hope you enjoy their articles.

Opinions expressed are those of the writer and may not reflect those of Reach.

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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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Got it
June 20th, 2011 by Guest Contributor

What are the skills that are needed to meet the funding challenges and opportunities ahead? That is the key question that Richard Gutch believes voluntary organisations must address in order to survive and thrive. In the wake of Reach research highlighting the skills gap in income generation, he provides some pointers to the type of skills that the third sector needs to harness.

Broadly speaking, modern charities have four major potential sources of income: fundraising, public service delivery, trading and enterprise, and finance and investment. I would suggest that every organisation has the potential to exploit at least one of these areas more effectively than they are doing at present and take their income generation efforts to another level.

What often holds them back from doing this is a lack of confidence, capability or capacity … or a combination of all three. As Reach’s recent survey has shown, the skills necessary to take advantage of new funding opportunities are all too often in short supply, especially among smaller organisations.

Reach has seen a steady growth in the number of charities crying out for more hands-on fundraising support.

There are certainly potential volunteers out there with skills that are directly transferable to the business of planning and making the ask. For example, a corporate client account manager might make a great corporate fundraising advisor.

But, with charitable donors becoming ever more sophisticated, there are fundamental issues that must be addressed in order to underpin the fundraising effort. These entail enlisting a broad range of business skills to drive income generation forward. Fortunately, these skills are highly transferable. And I would suggest that many voluntary organisations could access them by enlisting the support of volunteers with the right kind of professional backgrounds. For example:

  • A clear and compelling strategy and vision to engage funders – a volunteer management consultant could help crystallize this for you.
  • Using social media and new technology to engage new donor audiences – a digital marketer could help an organisation reach a younger audience and avoid being ‘left behind’ by technological developments.
  • Demonstrating and articulating impact – a social researcher could help you get the numbers and a marketing or communications specialist might help you tell your story.
  • Starting or scaling up trading activity – skilled volunteers from the business world could help research and develop a business model which might open up new markets.
  • Obtaining social finance – recruiting a finance director as a trustee or advisor might help an organisation improve its financial literacy and consider options that it was unaware of or perhaps too risk averse to consider.

Any foray into developing new income streams will need to involve trustees, which is why it is important that organisations ensure their boards are equipped with the skills to make complex strategic decisions. For example, collaborative working with private and public sector providers is becoming more common, especially when tendering for large contracts. Recruiting highly skilled volunteers on to the board with commercial experience of negotiating joint ventures or strategic business partnerships is one way to ensure that such challenges are tackled effectively.

I am firmly convinced that there is a world of new opportunities out there for the voluntary sector when it comes to income generation. But an organisation’s ability to flourish will depend on its ability to access essential skills every bit as much as the quality of the frontline services it provides.


Richard Gutch

Richard is an associate at not-for-profit recruitment specialists Prospectus, Secretary of the National Council for Voluntary Organisation’s Funding Commission and a former Chair of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations.

Guest contributors are invited by Reach to give their own take on issues related to skilled volunteering and trusteeship. We hope you enjoy their articles.

Opinions expressed are those of the writer and may not reflect those of Reach.

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April 27th, 2010 by Andrew Phillips

There’s a saying, “Life is a Rollercoaster”.  It could well apply to the life of a fundraiser. Some days you are up, wind in your hair rapidly progressing towards your targets and other days you are plummeting  in slow motion towards the buffers not quite sure where your next penny is coming from. Along the way there are many twists and turns……. Anyway you get the analogy.

In this blog I want to take you on a fundraiser’s rollercoaster journey, relating the trials and tribulations that go with my job and along the way share the successes and on some occasions the abject failures of my attempts to generate the income Reach Volunteering needs to survive and flourish.

I would  love to hear from other fundraisers out there (we can always tell each other by our pained expressions) who might be willing to share information or good ideas, have tips or even definite no, no’s which could make all our jobs a bit easier.

Just to open things up, I received a grant today from a really supportive trust which was significantly scaled down from the original application we submitted. It’s not the first time either. As an extreme example, late last year   I submitted a large and detailed project proposal  for almost £140k and (although very grateful for it) actually finally received a grant of £5k.  Now it may be that the application wasn’t very good. If so, why did I get any money at all? Is it the case  that your regular supporters and funders are cutting back significantly on the amount they give because of the current economic climate ?  Is your income down so far this year? Let  me know what you think.

Just a thought for you. When I am pitching to a potential funder over the phone I always stand up. Makes me feel in control and I believe I can make a more convincing case.
Try it , it may work for you.

Andrew is Reach’s Head of Fundraising

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