Christmas – the most wonderful time of the year!

christmas tree with baubles

Trees are twinkling under lights and tinsel. Turkey dinners are being planned and prepped. Family and friends are gathering for the holiday festivities.

Unfortunately, Christmas may not be as wonderful if you are one of the estimated 1.3 million women affected by domestic abuse in the last twelve months. Domestic abuse doesn’t stop just because it is Christmas. For those recovering from the trauma of abuse, it can be a dark and difficult time.

Women staying at The Haven often worry about how they will buy gifts for their child, having fled their own homes with nothing, and children can often feel sad that their Christmas looks very different to that of their classmates at school. For many of the families at The Haven, it is the first Christmas they have spent away from their home and family; making it even more difficult.

pexels-photo-257910.jpegAt The Haven we try to provide an authentic Christmas experience for the women and children we support.  At each of our refuges we create a magical grotto, where Mum’s and children can come to choose gifts to take away and wrap for one another. We encourage lots of festive activities too; from Santa visits, to cookie making.

We also like to provide Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. The most important part is that Mum’s and children have the opportunity to spend quality time together, making happy memories over the festive period as they move forward into a life free from abuse.

On most women’s Christmas list are the common things like perfume or pyjamas but for the women we support their list is often very different; they hope for safety and a new start. It’s something that many are looking for as we start a new decade, but it is particularly important for women and children who have been affected by domestic abuse. The Haven every year tries to make Christmas feel special and magical to every woman and child that asks us for help.

glass of milk near christmas present

This Christmas is even more poignant; as we move into a new decade, we start to think about what we want from the future. Women and children in The Haven want a future free from domestic abuse and the trauma they have experienced. So, this Christmas as you tuck into your dinner and pull crackers laughing at the terrible jokes with your family and friends – please take a moment to think about the women and children settling in for a Christmas in refuge.

The Haven takes over 1000 helpline calls every month. Just £2 cover the cost of each call from a woman and her children in dire need. This Christmas, can you spare £2 to help ensure support is available for those who’s festive period may not look as bright?

Donate here www.havenrefuge.org.uk/donate-to-the-haven

 

Fostering a feedback-friendly culture could save your charity from extinction

by Susheila Juggapah

Hearing feedback is hard. It’s challenging to hear what other people think about our work, the way we operate or our ideas. But feedback fuels change. It super powers creativity and speeds up impact. Yes, it can be uncomfortable at times. But it keeps us accountable to the people we serve. 

The third sector already knows transparency is important, particularly for building donor confidence. Organisations can use transparency to improve trust with staff. They can also use it to create more inclusive organisations. But this only works with a commitment to openness.

It’s time for charity leaders to harness this superpower for all aspects of charity business. To do it successfully, charities should aim to create an open and transparent culture that embraces giving feedback, receiving feedback, and making it part of the organisation’s culture.

Listening is our only option

We now live in a world that simply won’t tolerate products that don’t suit our specific needs.

Tales of Blockbusters and Kodak are frequently used to remind us that even household names cannot rely on their legacy. They must deliver products customers want.

We’ve also have enough of inauthentic brands that don’t walk the walk because we can see right through them. This goes for charities too. The Charity Commission’s 2018 Trust in charities report says,

“The public want greater authenticity not just more transparency, they want to know that charities are what they say they are.”

And it’s not just your external audiences. Staff have had enough too. For example, on pay transparency, a YouGov poll found the majority of Brits (56%) would back pay transparency measures to tackle income inequality

There are also indications younger people expect to be able to see what’s going on inside organisations before joining. In a survey by PwC of millennials in the workplace, 76% of those in the financial services sector said they considered the employer’s record on equality and diversity when accepting their current role. 

Critically, people really want to know their opinion is valued. Former Baxter International CEO and now a clinical professor of leadership at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management Harry Kraemer believes good leaders listen to the people around them. Leaders, he says, “establish trust because they demonstrate they really care about what each person has to say.” Without trust, the people around you will not give you honest feedback. 

The technology is there. It’s only a matter of time before users, supporters, staff and volunteers give up on established charities to set up their own campaigns, movements and networks. If charities don’t become more inclusive, they risk becoming redundant. 

How to do it: lessons from a bank 

Like a conversation, open cultures need someone to listen and ideally act on the feedback. One way to show you’re listening to be honest about what you’ve heard. 

The fastest growing companies are putting transparency at the heart of their business. Take the digital challenger bank Monzo which has seen phenomenal growth recently. In 2016, it set the record for quickest crowd-funding campaign in history when it raised £1m in 96 seconds on Crowdcube.

Monzo differs from traditional banks because it openly expresses the relationship it has with its users. It prides itself on transparency and community, aiming to meet the needs of the Monzo tribe in ways traditional banks have failed to do for so long. Referencing its community, Monzo, says: 

You hold us accountable and help us focus on what matters

Monzo has published a lot on its internal culture. The bank regularly publishes data on how representative and diverse it is internally, looking at things like gender identity, ethnicity, age, disability, caring responsibilities, education, religion, sexual orientation and more. It has also shown its progress over the years and laid out an action plan. 

The bank also uses lots of techniques to prioritise transparency. For example, meetings are open to everyone, even if you just want to listen. The organisation also has email transparency, which means by default, every email that is sent can be read by anyone in the company. They also give everyone access to documents and encourage everyone to question the decisions made in governance meetings with the board of directors and the executive committee. 

The result: Monzo isn’t just telling you it’s open and honest, it’s being open and honest. Its rapid growth is testament to the faith the community place in it. But ultimately, Monzo is a bank, not a campaign or movement. So if a bank can create a culture of openness and honesty, a charity certainly can. 

Tips for building feedback-friendly organisations

There are a lot of examples of how to make your organisation more open. Here are some easy reads:

The idea behind this, is that it prevents problems from staying hidden in one small part of the company, and makes sure everyone’s thinking about how to solve the problems we have.”

Embracing feedback could radically change your organisation. It could mean you recruit more diversely, get closer to your audience’s needs and build trust with all aspects of your organisation. Or you could wait for something like Monzo to swoop in and leave you obsolete. 

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Susheila Juggapah is a digital professional and former editor at CharityComms, the membership network for charity communicators. She writes about diversity and representation in the third sector. 

My thoughts on a white, male diversity manager

by Kizzy Wardle

I’m not going to lie. When I first heard the news, I rolled my eyes. I have seen some really positive things recently from the Institute of Fundraising (the IOF). I love the change collective stuff and the manifesto. I’m enthused by the increasing conversation in the sector about gender imbalance in senior roles and the lack of ethnic diversity across the board. I’ve been in the sector for a long time and have had many a conversation about diversity and it feels like things might, just might, be starting to move from conversation to action. And so yes, I did sigh and roll my eyes when I found out that the one paid role whose focus is to look at diversity was filled by yet another white male.

Now, for the sake of context here are a few things I’d like you to know about me. I am a mixed-race woman and was raised in the UK. I have fairly light skin and am married to a white guy. I grew up in a very wealthy area, in a council flat. Neither of my parents have any school qualifications, but my aunt did a PHD at Oxford and my brother trained in contemporary dance. I have a four-year-old, white looking, disabled daughter and my dad is bisexual. I’m mixed race, but I’m also mixed in so many other ways having experienced a melting pot of cultures, classes and races. So, I have lived experience of some of the protected characteristics other than race. I know that diversity is not all about race and that true inclusion is, and should be, much wider than that conversation*. But having laid all that out I still can’t help but wonder about the message being sent that what we need to drive the diversity agenda is another white male.

I don’t know the person in the role at all. From what little information I do have it looks like he’s super qualified. The IOF have said he was ‘the best candidate for the job’, which I’m sure is true (there’s a whole blog post in that statement alone; that’s for another day). But, did they try to recruit more diversely? How was the selection panel constituted? Where did they advertise? What qualifications were outlined? Basically: how hard did they try? The premise of the role is that these questions are important for our sector. If the areas in which we are particularly underrepresented at senior levels are disability, race and gender*, it is hardly surprising that this appointment has raised some questions about how hard the IOF are trying. Maybe this has all been discussed and thought about. I would say that now is the perfect time for the IOF to share some of that thinking and model what excellence looks like. And to share how they’re engaging with underrepresented communities. I know that a white man can certainly work in diversity and do an excellent job, but he just might have to try a little harder to overcome the optics and to prove himself. And to that I say: welcome to the club.

*I am also not the first to say that just because I am not white, it doesn’t make me an expert on diversity. But I do think the increasing awareness of the validity of lived experience is an important shift if we are to start including unrepresented communities in the narrative. Also, the reality remains that throughout my career I have been asked to provide opinions, thoughts, strategies and my non white face to represent the diversity angle, so I’m giving myself a pass to have an opinion here.

* The Equality Act covers age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage & civil partnership, and pregnancy & maternity. The IOF Manifesto for Change doesn’t cover anything in relation to age, religion or belief, marriage & civil partnership or pregnancy & maternity.  It addresses disability as follows: ‘The low overall employment rate for disabled people is a society-wide issue, but is one that we should be committed to address within the fundraising community. It covers sex in terms of wanting to ‘aim for a better gender balance between men and women in the fundraising community’ and also states that ‘Women make up 70% of the profession but this is not matched at senior level, and issues of gender discrimination remain’. With regards to gender reassignment and sexual orientation is states ‘In relation to LGBT+, we do not have definitive data, but there is an assumption that there are senior LGBT+ fundraisers, but the fact that they are LGBT+ may not be widely known’.

Charity leadership in the age of populism

by Lucy Caldicott

With populist politicians taking power around the globe in recent years and a rise of extremes in politics, I’ve been thinking a lot about what effective leadership could and should look like at this time.

The divisive and turbulent political backdrop combined with the voluntary sector’s own challenges coping with rising demand for our services, competition for funds, issues of safeguarding, and a critical media landscape can feel overwhelming. But, whilst we can’t control what goes on around us, we do all have choices about how we behave and how we respond. We’re all leaders in our own spheres. Whether we’re young or old, black or white, we are all leaders. Just look at Greta Thunberg, leading the world’s conversation on climate change.

The choices we make are even more important in these fractious times so here are some thoughts.

Firstly, it’s important to be aware that against this challenging backdrop, it’s the more vulnerable among us who will feel even more vulnerable. The very people charities exist to serve. Whether we work in human rights, poverty alleviation, climate change, refugee support, humanitarian relief, we all know that it’s those people already living precarious existences or already facing discrimination who will suffer most from the policies implemented by the Trumps and Bolsanaros of this world.

Populist parties claim to represent the “people” not only against the establishment or elites, but also against immigrants, ethnic, sexual or religious minorities. So look out for the people around you who might need support, ask them what they need, and make sure they know they can count on you.

This requires us to put ourselves in other people’s shoes and to remember that while we might feel uncertain and worried about the future, there are always going to be people who feel more uncertain and more worried. Populism undermines the establishment but maybe that gives civil society a unique opportunity to occupy an important role during this time of vacuum of political leadership. Our colleagues in programme teams and service delivery roles can act as positive authority figures and offer alternative support structures. This is what we do every day anyway.

Our organisations are going to continue to be needed more than ever to solve problems and save lives. We must therefore ensure our organisations are fit for the future. Populism, however, beguiles people with easy solutions to difficult problems. Inconvenient facts are dismissed as “Project Fear” by people who say “we’ve had enough of experts”.

It’s important that charities mustn’t pander to this and think very carefully about our messaging so we’re not hoodwinking our supporters by making them believe change is simple, cheap, or quick. This means not relying on short term, narrow thinking but building relationships for the long term and adapting all the time. I would argue it’s worth considering radical transformations in our organisations to ensure they’re as effective as they can be.

In order to help us adapt I am absolutely convinced that we need to be brave enough to hear a wide range of points of view, including those we might not agree with and to do this we need different types of staff working at every level of our organisations. As organisations that exist to serve society, we need to represent society. Over recent years, I’ve done a lot of work on equality, diversity and inclusion in the charity sector, and every piece of evidence shows just how far we’ve got to go before we can claim to be representative.

We also need to ensure that we’re grounded in the reality of the issues that we’re working on. Ideally we should also be aiming for people with personal experience of those issues working at every level of our organisations, including at trustee level, to ensure the solutions we’re providing are the right ones.  

In extraordinary times, ordinary people, each one of us, need to be ready to step up and do extraordinary things. This really is no time to sit on the fence and this is why, as difficult as it has been, I applaud the women who’ve spoken out against wrongdoing in various parts of the charity sector so that we can all learn and do better for the future. It’s been difficult to hear these women’s truths without hearing them we can’t learn and do better.

In this era of populism, we’re going to be busy and we’re going to get tired and frustrated so we’re going to need to look after ourselves and each other. Self-care is hugely important, as is the care and support we can give and offer. Find your support networks. Find nourishing things to do. You’ll find me in the garden whenever I’ve got a spare moment.

Three challenges every charity faces

by Dana Kohava Segal (MInstF)

Big ones. Small ones. Local ones. International ones. Health, community, aid & arts ones. Ones with loads of Boards, and ones with no paid staff.

In all my experiences of working with charities of all shapes & sizes – from MSF to SSF – there are three challenges I’ve come across that each of them faces in one way or another:

CHALLENGE ONE: STORY TELLING

You’re not alone in dealing with this challenge. Because the nature of storytelling is an evolutionary one. As a species, we constantly evolve the way we share and receive stories… although some of those evolutions look strikingly like things from our past (hieroglyphics and emojis??? Not that different…).

Every charity I have worked with has had to, at some point, question their story. So if I had to offer some top tips to tackle this challenge, that would be the same for all charities, they would be:

  • Are you actually articulating the problem? By that I mean not about you, the work you do, why you are important… but the story of the problem you are there to change and ultimately end. We’re often so absorbed in the thing we are doing that we forget to communicate why we are doing it. Make this the number one thing you do when you read copy about your charity – ask yourself: has this talked about the problem you are trying to solve?
  • Are you making it human? Big problems can be super abstract. Abstract means we have to engage our thinking brain, and you know what we don’t do when we are busy thinking? TAKE ACTION. If you want supporters to take action, don’t make them overthink about the problem. Make the problem as human as you can – by that I mean simple, and relatable as one story. This great example from Save the Children has applications to so many charities (this also applies to animal charities!!!).
  • Are you making it urgent? Stop reading this blog and take a look at the news. It’s kinda crazy, isn’t it? Global warming, refugee crisis, poverty… it just doesn’t stop. And the thing is, it all needs attention. This is where communicating urgency comes in – you have to explain why someone has to take action NOW, rather than later. Otherwise, as compelling as that grant application is, it will get moved to the next meeting. So make sure you communicate this urgency in relation to the reader – not just you (needing it before the end of the financial year won’t cut it!). It’s important to also say that urgency can also be positive – perhaps it’s an unmissable opportunity you need support for. This can also work well for the right cause.

CHALLENGE TWO: GROWING THEIR FUNDRAISING INCOME

Again – you’re not alone in this. Because the truth is, that income from individual giving has remained relatively stable for the last 10 years. Even in the USA, the largest fundraising market in the world, although it is growing in terms of cash donated, it actually has less people donating year on year. So the world isn’t getting more charitable, folks…

This means that competition increases to grow your income from those who are willing and able to give. So what can you do? Well – I have a few nuggets of advice:

  • Do less, but better: is more income the only way you’ll be able to solve the problem you need to solve? Or are there some internal changes and efficiencies that could save you money, thereby increasing your income in a different way? We often look outside for solutions, when sometimes, they’re actually inside the charity.
  • Start from where you are: this epic tweet from Rory Green says it all:
  • It’s easier to get someone who cares to give you money, than to get someone who has money to care. Start from the people who care. Your board, your volunteers, your service users – I’m not saying it will be all of them, all of the time… but start with the people who get it, rather than tying yourself in knots trying to attract the attention of Richard Branson.
  • If you’re already doing well at one thing, focus on it: charities often say they need to diversify their income because that’s what others say. Sometimes, they’ll do that at the expense of the thing they do really well, but stopped doing so well at because they took their eye of the ball and got distracted by a new, shiny thing. Don’t be that charity. Focus on your good thing. Do more of that.

CHALLENGE THREE: THANKING DONORS

If I hear one more person at a training session say “yeah, but what about the people who don’t want to be thanked?” I’m probably gonna turn into that little red swearing emoji. So many charities assume the best when it comes to fundraising, and the worst when it comes to thanking. WHY?! Thanking is the best part… so how do you make it count?

  • Be authentic: like my fellow Great Charity Speaker Nikki Bell articulates in this awesome tweet…

…the best voice to talk in is your own. That’s true for thanking too. Find a way that’s genuine beyond the standard ‘I’m writing to say thank you for your kind donation of….’. My favourite example of late is from the brilliant American political candidate, Beto O’Rourke who sent the most epic, person and genuine thank you email to his supporters for a race that he lost.

  • Roll your R’s: credit to my colleague Philly Graham here, who always reminds me to roll my R’s – Receiving (as in, actually saying you got the gift), Recognising (giving people a personal touch) and Reporting (making sure you explain the outcome / impact of their donation). This can’t be done in one hit, overnight. So plan it out and make sure you’re maintaining that contact over a period of time, to give it an extra boost of goodness.
  • You don’t have to spend loads of money, to make it feel good: My favourite thoughts on the quality of an effective thank you comes from this blog by David Burgess, who talks about making your thank you’s SUPER – Speedy,Unique, Passionate, Engaging and Repeated. We know this is the number one reason people don’t give again… so don’t do all that hard work to get them involved, and then let them slip away from you!

9 top tips on making Facebook ads work for fundraising

by Emily Casson

My digital team motto is ‘Think big, start small and scale quickly’ and Facebook advertising is a great tool to start, or grow, your digital fundraising. I started using Facebook advertising nearly three years ago and we now recruit over 10,000 new regular giving donors a year at a positive ROI, plus many more event participants, legacy pledgers and other supporters. So here’s some top tips that apply whatever your budget or cause.

  1. Think BIG about how digital can transform your fundraising.

What’s your aim? So you’ve decided to do embrace digital fundraising. Yey! But firstly stop and think why, how will Facebook advertising help you achieve your fundraising goals? And ultimately raise more money to achieve the aim of your charity. Set some clear goals and targets eg acquiring 1000 new regular givers or recruiting 3 Great North Run participants or 10 new fundraising volunteers. Don’t  forget the, harder to measure, secondary benefits eg raised awareness, impact on enquiries about the services your charity offers.

  • Plan your calendar.

Planning lots of different fundraising campaigns? Ensure you plan your calendar to maximise the chances of success eg retail ads at key times of year and appeal ads to tie into offline activity and legacy ads in Remember a Charity week. Seasonal ads often see an uplift, so get planning your Christmas campaign now. If running lots of fundraising ads at the same time keep an eye on frequency levels and serve to different audiences, to minimise potential of campaigns negatively impacting on each other.

  • Use  strong copy and creative.

Does your copy have a strong call to action? Remember people are scrolling past so it needs to be clear at a glance what action you want them to take. If using video in your creative mix then make sure it works with the sound off, as most people will be viewing it that way. Ads suffer from creative tire after a while, how long depends on frequency and length of your campaigns, so make sure you refresh your creative and ensure you have strong creative will a clear call to action. Use nudge theory to improve the performance of your ads eg a person looking at the button instead of straight ahead will prompt people to click.

  • Start small.

 Start with a pilot and I would recommend using a fundraising product you know works well offline for your charity  eg sponsorship or events. Don’t reinvent the wheel, yes digital donors can behave differently to your traditional supporter base (especially if your aim is to recruit a younger donor) but you know your charity best and you know what will go down well with supporters of your cause.

  • Test, learn, test, learn and then test some more.

I LOVE stats and Facebook allows you to test everything from creative to audience to see what converts better and Facebook insights are a goal mine. Even if you have a small budget and only have capacity to test a couple of things do it and question everything you think you know. Tried something and it didn’t work? Great news, that means you are innovating and not playing it safe and have potential for transformational growth.

  • Talk to your supporters.

My pet hate is seeing a Facebook advert with a load of comments underneath without replies from the charity. Someone comments to say they’ve donated/signed up/shared for you? Say thank you. Your supporter has asked you a question? Answer it! Getting lots of the same question? A comment handling bible is invaluable in dealing with a high volume of comments, the majority of which are likely to be nothing to do with the content of the ads or fundraising.

  • Don’t forget about conversion and retention.

Acquiring new supporters is great but have your optimised your landing page to improve conversion? If not you are missing out on potential income. Again testing is key here. Have you thought of what journey your supporters will go on? If time and budgets are limited even a simple thank you welcome email journey will help attrition rates (and more importantly delight your supporters!).

  • Measure your success.

Pixels are like little pieces of magic that let you track the performance of your campaigns and help optimise towards conversions. So if you haven’t already install them on your website. Make sure  you are checking back against your original goals and adjusting your campaigns based on the data. Also ensure your digital fundraising fits in with your ethical approach, there are some things you *could* do to improve results but don’t be afraid of saying no to anything your supporters wouldn’t be comfortable with.

  • Scale quickly and make your case for further investment.

So you’ve tried Facebook ads and it’s going well. You set your goals and measured your success, now it’s time to scale quickly. Make your case for investment to scale up Facebook activity and try new channels such as Instagram. Directors and trustees can sometimes see digital fundraising as a scary new world but facts and figures (and positive ROI!) can help convince them. If all else fails I’m always happy to share our success story and love hearing how other charities are scaling up their digital fundraising.

Case study: How I turned £10k into £110k and what you can learn from it

by Lizzi Hollis

One of my proudest moments as a fundraiser is a partnership I account managed with a large house-building company. They had made a £10,000 donation and chosen my charity as one of six partners. 18-months later they had raised nearly £200,000 and made a £113,000 donation towards a strategic partnership.

STEP ONE: HAVE A PLAN

I knew this partnership had the makings of something transformational for my organisation. My key contact shared this belief but recognised that the company was not ready to embrace it. Together, we had to maintain business as usual whilst drip-feeding the potential we both saw. I kept my vision for the partnership at the forefront and developed my comms around this.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Before starting a conversation with partner have a vision for what it could look like.  Ask yourself, “Where are we now? Where do I want to be?”

STEP TWO: UNDERSTAND THEIR PREFERRENCES

Early on I made sure I got to know my key contact within the company. She was based up in Scotland; face to face meetings were difficult. She would always call me, rather than email. I learnt that if I wanted her backing, I should first pick up the phone and follow up discussion points in writing.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Your counterpart’s preferred method of contact is a vital feature of stewardship. Often it’ll become clear to you and you can follow their lead.

STEP THREE: COMMUNICATION

If there was a new edition of our supporter magazine, an article in the news about our work, or something from the wider sector that was relevant, I would share this with the CSR committee.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Partners should be made to feel like activists, not cash cows. Keep your partner up to date with your charity’s news.  

STEP FOUR: MAKE IT PERSONAL

During winter, teams from the company participated in a “sock drive”. I responded to each office coordinator with a handwritten thank you card. It took about 90 minutes and gave me a cramped hand but I received lots of positive responses – I had engaged more staff across the organisation.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Never underestimate the value of a handwritten letter. Never be too busy to send a heartfelt, handwritten note.

STEP FIVE: REWARD

I invited my key contact along to a prestigious event as a thank you for her hard work. She told me it genuinely made her feel valued as a major component in the success of the partnership.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Understanding what recognition your contact wants is vital to a fruitful relationship.

STEP SIX: BE HONEST

During the partnership my organisation had some high-profile bad press. Despite my nervousness, I picked up the phone to inform my key contact of the news. She thanked me for my honesty and advance warning and reassured me that, as a large company, they were not unfamiliar with bad press. She confirmed their continued support and belief in our work. Yes, it was a difficult conversation to have, but people don’t like to be caught unawares and if they had found out another way, I could have lost her trust.

KEY TAKEAWAY: What do you do when the challenge is against your organisation and is resulting in bad press? Tell the truth.

STEP SEVEN: THINK LONG-TERM

We were given the opportunity to present an organisational challenge to a team of graduates for a project. I offered support and ideas to their project on topics that were not the focus of my role. You may wonder why I supported this with such gusto, here’s why…

Within six months I had a group of passionate advocates spread across the company. They were raising money, volunteering their time, and encouraging colleagues to engage with the partnership. I had also forged a relationship with the Group Director of HR – a vital decision maker on the CSR committee.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Consider long-term return on investment. Something that may seem like unnecessary work for you could secure further opportunities for success.

STEP EIGHT: DON’T BE SELFISH

The company wanted to encourage challenge events for employee fundraising. This seemed cumbersome and resource heavy…it also wouldn’t sit within my budget…but I could see the bigger picture. Yes, that employee’s abseil fundraising will fall into the “Events Team’s pot” rather than Corporate, but they also became more engaged in partnership activity and influenced their colleagues to do the same. It created better outcomes for my target as well as for our beneficiaries.

KEY TAKEAWAY: The biggest mistake we can make as fundraisers is to work in silos. All donors, including corporates, are not giving to your team, they’re giving to your beneficiaries.

STEP NINE: COLLABORATE

I arranged charity site visits and invited frontline colleagues to meetings, pitches and events. It was a vital part of bringing my vision for the partnership alive. Without the support of my colleagues I would not have been able to demonstrate the impact the company could have. I relied on them to get the information I needed for reports and proposals. Similarly, the finance team were a vital component when I needed to show the expenditure of our partner’s donation.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Recognise that internal stakeholders are as important as your external ones. It will build trust and respect with your external stakeholders.  

THE HAPPY ENDING

When the time came, I pitched the idea for the company to support us by expanding a service that could have a positive impact in one of their own challenges. I took along the head of the service and a client who shared his experience (the real hero of this story). They agreed to fund the expansion and support the project in its existing form.  It was a massive win for the partnership, but also confirmed my belief of what was possible. I also believe that, if you follow the steps above, you could do it too.

What I’ve Learned about being a Female Leader

by Zoe Amar

This morning I woke up to the news that fewer than half the UK’s biggest employers have succeeded in narrowing their gender pay gap. This is deeply worrying. Meanwhile Ruby Bayley-Pratt, fundraising policy and research manager at the British Red Cross, wrote an excellent piece recently for Civil Society about sexual harassment in the sector, leading to the Institute of Fundraising setting up a taskforce to tackle the issue. These stories show that initiatives such as Mandy Johnson’s wonderful Great Charity Speakers are needed now more than ever.

Being a woman in 2019 comes with many challenges. But I’m very proud to be a female leader in the sector.

Like every woman who finds herself in a leadership position, it hasn’t been an easy journey. I’ve worked with many women and men who’ve been supportive. They have encouraged, supported, and challenged me along the way. However, I’ve had moments when it’s been tough. Thankfully this has happened rarely, but earlier in my career I’ve been talked over in meetings and had reports I’d written explained to me. I’ve spent over a decade as a charity trustee and I remember coming home from a meeting some years ago feeling disheartened as the only woman on the board I then sat on. I could name many more times when I felt that it was harder to be a woman than a man.

As I progressed up the career ladder, I spoke to many female leaders I admired in and outside of the sector. And what I realised is that I had to celebrate what set me apart, which was particularly important to me as a BAME woman. In short, I had to change my mindset.

Soon after I started my first job many years ago, I asked a colleague how I could develop my gravitas and presence. My colleague gave me one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever had. She said, “They will listen to you because you are different.” I really do believe that if you are different it can be powerful and disarming when you speak up. It’s authentic and makes people stop and listen.

Part of my job now is to go in and have difficult conversations with senior leaders about the future of their organisations, and what is and isn’t working. If I looked like the people I spoke to they might bristle at a tough message. As a BAME woman I have an alternative perspective on things and that can help charities think differently about what they do, but also gives me a licence to challenge and to speak truth to power. Once I started to think like that I felt liberated.

The charity as well as the tech world needs to do a lot more to improve diversity. Just 19% of the UK tech workforce is female, and 81% is male. Almost 80% of senior leadership teams at charities lack any ethnic minority professionals. This isn’t good enough and the sector needs to make it an urgent priority to change this. As a BAME woman I feel that I need to be more visible now, not less. Stats like these make me want to highlight who I am, not hide it. If you are different, you need to own it and you need to rock it. And the good thing is that if you automatically stand out, you are more likely to be remembered.

As a woman, there are always going to be people who judge you, including how you look. But you can choose how much time you give to other people’s opinions. In the early years of my career I wore navy pinstriped trouser suits to my job working in a City law firm, worrying a lot about whether I fitted in. The rules have changed now, and so have I. I’ve always loved colourful clothes, bold prints and dresses and high heels. That’s just who I am. If it makes you feel confident and comfortable, wear it.

At the social enterprise I run, I’m very proud that 92% of my team are women. I look out for other women in the sector because it’s the women who came before me who helped me achieve what I have today.

That’s why we need to see more women speaking at conferences and represented in leadership roles. And it’s exactly why we must keep challenging the sector and ourselves if we don’t see the change we want. Because if we don’t, who will?

by Zoe Amar MCIM
Founder and Director Zoe Amar Digital

Inclusion in the charity sector: why do we need it?

by Siobhan Corria

I didn’t think twice when I saw a shout out for contributors to ‘Great Charity Speakers’. When founder, Mandy Johnson suggested I write about inclusion and the charity sector, I jumped at the chance. Firstly, a bit of background as to who I am and why I am involved in championing equality, diversity and inclusive (EDI) practice in the charity sector.

A BIT ABOUT ME

I have been the Head of Inclusion for Action for Children for five years. Before taking up this post, I was a local councillor in Cardiff. Prior to that I did a degree in Criminal Justice and Policing, worked as a Case Manager in Youth Justice and a Social Worker for looked after children before entering politics (during which time I was Scrutiny Chair for Children’s Services and education and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services). My interests lie in social justice, inequality and social inclusion.

I have seen women struggle, I have seen that struggle made worse by working within some of the oppressive structures that exist within society.

It was during my two and a half years in politics that I experienced what it was like not to fit a stereotype, to experience a subtle culture of sexism and to not fit in. When I was appointed as Head of Inclusion for Action for Children, I couldn’t quite believe it. I could combine championing diversity and (indirectly) improving outcomes for children, young people and families by supporting colleagues to fully be themselves.

There are not many posts like mine within the charity sector and I don’t think there are any UK wide inclusion posts that are based outside of London. I am based in Cardiff. Diversity tick box #1.

WHY DOES THE CHARITY SECTOR NEED INCLUSION EXPERTS?

We are the charity sector. Surely our values and principles are sound, and we can sleep tight at night. Well, the sector may think its values and principles are sound, but what about its behaviour?

The sector can sleep tight at night because it doesn’t reflect on its behaviour.

It doesn’t have time to reflect, because it doesn’t factor in reflection as a key activity in ensuring excellent services, successful campaigning and lobbying are inclusive and representative of our diverse communities.

THE SECTOR IS COMPLACENT

Managing a diverse, creative, imaginative and innovative team is more demanding because breaking up the status quo is much more difficult than maintaining it. Sometimes, when individuals in the charity sector get where they want and/or need to be, they deviate from disrupting how things stand. Jobs like mine are the conscience in a comfortable sector.

WHY IS EQUALITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION ESSENTIAL WITHIN THE THIRD SECTOR?

Winning contracts, increasing supporters and recruiting and retaining the most talented staff are requirements across the sector, so why is inclusion so important?

An inclusive and diverse working environment is crucial within service delivery so that staff and volunteers feel inspired and supported to develop new ideas and concepts.

When working operationally, it can feel that the emphasis is on meeting key performance indicators, so imaginative, innovative and radical concepts from a diverse mix of employees must be encouraged.

FIVE REASONS WHY INCLUSION IS IMPORTANT

I believe there are five key points that needs to be considered when thinking about the importance of inclusion and improving outcomes for children and young people:

  1. The staff and volunteer complement need to reflect the backgrounds of the children, young people and parents who access the service. This will immediately assist in building trust between the service users and the practitioners.
  2. Practitioners who are supported to be themselves within the workplace will feel more motivated, supported and encouraged to develop creative interventions.
  3. Ensuring and championing the participation of children, young people and parents will create a relationship of confidence and help to ensure interventions meet the needs of individuals and groups within a service.
  4. Staff engagement within the sector must be meaningful and based on wanting to develop pioneering ways of working during the continued period of diminishing budgets. The practitioners on the ground not only know the work and how to make it effective and efficient, but they want to be involved in policy development and new ways of working.
  5. It’s not enough for practitioners who work in service delivery to say they understand equality, diversity and inclusion. Annual objective setting must include specific inclusion objectives, particularly with regards to raising awareness of equality issues within the organisation.

The structural inequality that exists throughout all organisations and society must be regularly highlighted and challenged by those who entered the sector with a passion for improving outcomes.

Siobhan Corria is Head of Inclusion at Action for Children. She is featured on the list of Great Charity Speakers. You can reach her directly via LinkedIn and Twitter.

Becoming Bombproof

By Anj Handa

You’re bombproof. Like one of those police horses trained not to flinch.

This was a comment made recently by someone I’ve worked with. It’s true that I’m able to hear shocking or harrowing news without reacting rashly. I know this is what makes me a great coach when it comes to people who want to move on from past trauma and transform their life. Helping to transmute pain to something positive is what I do best.

A bombproof horse approaches a variety of situations with confidence, making riders, other people, and the horse much safer. People I work with tell me that I help them feel safe – that’s crucial in a coaching relationship. For me, being bombproof is about being able to understand patterns and that people have stories but they don’t have to remain stuck in the narrative.

SOME STORIES THAT INFLUENCED ME

My life transformation began in 2012, following a close friend’s suicide. He, Danny, was found by our mutual friend, who called me from the police station to go comfort him. I did so, and broke the news to others but I was just in control mode..I’d been in that mode since the death of another friend in 2001 whom I reported missing when he failed to turn up to meet me. His body was discovered a fortnight later. In my mid twenties, I was alone when I had to speak at the inquest.So adept at controlling my emotions was I that, aside from the odd panic attack, I was successful in life and at work. But Danny’s death was a double whammy..For the first month, a friend came by every single night and waited until I fell asleep because I couldn’t sleep otherwise. In month two, I thought I was OK then it got to month three…then it did feel as if a bomb had exploded..I couldn’t get out of bed and I cried pretty much three days solid. Then I told myself I couldn’t continue like that and finally booked myself bereavement counselling sessions.There is *never* a good reason not to hope.CLICK TO TWEETThe counsellor identified my control issues by session three. I thanked him and didn’t bother taking up the remaining nine sessions. Instead I went off to discover how I could be more in flow.

ONE OF MY LIFE-CHANGING READS

As a voracious reader at the best of times, I took out library books rather than take out another mortgage to fund a self-development library of my own. One of the first books picked up was by Supercoach by Michael Neill. I transcribed the ten key teachings into my special bronze book which is kept in my bedside drawer. Here they are:

  1. The world is what you think it is. You are creating your experience of the world moment by moment.
  2. Wellbeing is not the fruit of something you do; it is the essence of who you are. There is nothing you need to change, do, be or have in order to be happy.
  3. There is nowhere for you to get to – you’re just here.
  4. Whatever you decide will never impact your life as much as how you handle the consequences of that decision.
  5. Every emotion you feel is a direct response to a thought, not to the world around you.
  6. No matter what seems to be going on in your life, you don’t have to do anything. Everything you do (or don’t do) is a choice.
  7. You create other people by how you listen to them.
  8. You can ask anyone for anything when you make it OK for them to say no.
  9. Financial security does not come from the amount of money you currently have, it comes from your ability to get more of it whenever you want. Master the art of serving others and you will secure your financial future.
  10. There is *never* a good reason not to hope.

COACHES COACH COACHES

Michael’s words have helped me over the years but I’m not in the financial position to hire him as my own coach. But I know a man who is! And I’m so delighted and grateful that Peter Sleigh, who is being coached by Michael himself, will nudge me forward at the start of the third year of Inspiring Women Changemakers..And if you are ready, truly ready, to change your life, to get go of your attachments to your limiting stories and to move forward to a lighter, brighter future, then check out my signature coaching programme, LOVE (You). It stands for Liberation, Optimism, Values and Energy and I promise you I will help to bring all of those things into your life.

Source:
www.inspiringwomenchangemakers.co.uk