Tuesday, 25 February 2014
Amused to be watching a DVD in church on Sunday. I usually rush home for breakfast after 8am Communion, but was waylaid this week to watch a promotion from the Diocese of Oxford on the importance of the "Parish Share". This money is given by each church to run the broader activities of the Church across our big Diocese.
It was excellent. It explained the need for admin overheads, since priests need pensions and national insurance must be paid. Exactly the sort of transparency ACEVO is urging for all charities, I thought. However, I suspect if most of our members started producing DVDs for their donors and supporters the dear Daily Mail would be having kittens about "wasting money".
And my "giving" theme carried on as I went to see Caroline Mason , the charming and dynamic new CEO of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation (and ACEVO member obviously). Recently appointed but getting well stuck in talking to their donors. George and I were there to catch up generally and to talk about how we can support the "independence" of our sector. They have great offices along the canal from ACEVO towers - though their view surpasses my own I hate to admit.
In the wake of the dreaded Lobbying Act we need to be vigilant that charities don't get frightened off. It would be hard to demonstrate the existence of self-censorship yet, but it will be important for the sector to pull together over the next 18 months to ensure that it doesn't happen. Much of this will depend on the Electoral Commission's guidance that they are writing at the moment. I'll be announcing more ACEVO work in this area very soon.
Finally, talking of "giving" by the HM Treasury, we are getting much interest in our ACEVO recommendation for a community recovery fund to help voluntary organisations. The fund would be for organisations which have a substantial social impact and are looking to improve their capacity and financial sustainability – particularly organisations that have felt the effect of falling income due to the recession and funding cuts.
The exciting news is that we are now in discussions with the Cabinet Office about a substantial pot of funding that would fulfil these requirements. We’ll be working closely with the Cabinet Office to explore it should work, what it should target, and what its priorities should be. All shows the value of good ideas and of speaking up to power!