Charity Governance Awards 2017

Congratulations to all the winners of the Charity Governance Awards!

All seven winners will share in the £35,000 prize pot, each winning a £5,000 unrestricted grant.

Asthma UK was named the first recipient of the new ‘Embracing Digital’ award for transforming the charity with their bold digital strategy including a new ‘personalised’ website, plus funding for digital health research projects and smartphone apps. Just nine months after launch, the charity reached over half a million more people, inspiring 33% of users to see their doctor or call Asthma UK’s helpline.

Asthma UK, Charity Governance Awards 17 (photo-Kate Darkins)

As a trustee of the Small Charities Coalition, I’m delighted that these awards also recognise the work and achievements of small charities.

Michael Howell, Chair of the Trusteeship Committee at the award organisers The Clothworkers’ Company, said:

“Highly-skilled trustees, diverse boards and their innovative use of digital technology are all areas that the House of Lords Select Committee on Charities has recommended as a focus for the sector. Therefore, we are delighted that our winners provide real-life examples of how that can be achieved. I encourage charities to download our free e-book which is full of inspiring stories from these superb shortlisted charities – including, of course, our winners! I hope this will provide inspiration for new journeys towards great governance.”

Download the free e-book here.

The winners and runners-up

Board diversity and Inclusivity

  • Winner – Voluntary Arts
  • Runners-up – George House Trust; MindOut

Embracing Digital

  • Winner – Asthma UK
  • Runners-up – Raise the Roof Kenya; Royal Opera House

Embracing opportunity and harnessing risk

  • Winner – Winner: Preston Road Women’s Centre
  • Runners-up – Body & Soul; Changing Futures North East

Improving impact – charities with 3 staff or fewer

  • Winner – St Peter’s Community Wellbeing Projects
  • Runners-up – Green’s Windmill Trust; The INSPIRE Foundation

Improving impact – charities with 4-25 paid staff

  • Winner – Prisoner’s Education Trust (PET)
  • Runners-up – FutureVersity (Tower Hamlets Summer Education); Key4Life

Improving impact – charities with 26+ paid staff

  • Winner – Step by Step
  • Runners-up – St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital; Treloar Trust

Managing turnaround

  • Winner – Off The Record (Bristol)
  • Runners-up – Dementia UK; Kentish Town City Farm

An apology, a declutter and some useful links

I have been neglecting this blog and I’m sorry. However, I have very good reason… as you may know I have been freelance again since October last year and boy have I been busy. It’s been great though – I’m working on some really interesting projects with charities, businesses and start-ups and I’ve also become a regular writer for Third Sector’s Digital Hub.

I’ve also recently moved house and I was really impressed with how easy it’s been to change my contact details for the charities I support with monthly direct debits. I thought it was going to be tricky to find out how to let them know but all of them had pretty easy to find details on their websites and I received a reply within two working days. Much more efficient and far less time consuming than informing my banks, I can tell you! What was really nice was the personalised emails I received back. I particularly like this one because yes, moving is stressful!


On the subject of moving house, I suddenly found myself with so much stuff. Stuff I didn’t need so I packed up eleven boxes (yes, eleven boxes AFTER moving house) and emailed the British Heart Foundation to collect them. It was relatively fuss-free and I had them collected on the Monday Bank Holiday (no holiday for them, clearly).

A few things that have caught my attention in the past months that you may find interesting:

My charity boss’s bullying still haunts me –  Guardian Voluntary Sector Network, Confessions of a charity professional. Disturbing and distressing but a must-read. The comments really opened my eyes and so did the discussion that took place when I posted this on the Third Sector PR & Communications Network group that I manage on Facebook.

How to illustrate difficult causes and subjects – Madeleine Sugden. Madeleine’s posts are always well thought out and well researched. Take a look at her past posts too. Or better yet, subscribe.

It’s time for charities to stop wasting money on social media – Matt Collins for the Guardian Voluntary Sector Network. Oh boy did this kick off. Poor Matt had to contend with loads of tweets and comments that were really rather unpleasant. I get what Matt was trying to say and that is that social is just one part of your toolbox. There are other tools that are actually more effective (like email) so make sure you’re using all of them to their full potential and not just putting all your eggs into your social media basket.

Charity Boards are failing to adapt to the digital age -this has to change – Zoe Amar for the Guardian Voluntary Sector Network. Always insightful, Zoe makes the case that boards who ignore or don’t understand digital, do so at their peril.

Does your organisation represent more than just clutter in the eyes of your donors? – Seth Piper for The Resource Alliance. I absolutely love this post and I’m pretty certain it’s what spurred me on to do my own declutter.

I promise I will try to post more regularly. In the meantime, if you’d like to connect with me I’m over on Twitter at LondonKirsty.



News Feed FYI: Taking Into Account Time Spent on Stories

This is a great move by Facebook, however I wonder how it will be measured in Insights? Time spent on post as an average?

Facebook Newsroom

By Ansha Yu, Software Engineer and Sami Tas, Software Engineer

The goal of News Feed is to show you the content that matters to you. The actions people take on Facebook—liking, commenting or sharing a post—are historically some of the main factors we’ve considered to determine what to show at the top of your News Feed. But these factors don’t always tell us the whole story of what is most meaningful to you. Recently, as part of our ongoing effort to improve News Feed, we asked people to rate their experience and tell us how we can improve the content they see when they check Facebook.

From this research, we learned that in many cases, just because someone didn’t like, comment or share a story in their News Feed doesn’t mean it wasn’t meaningful to them. There are times when, for example, people want to see information about…

View original post 332 more words

What would you like covered in a Digital Fundraising hub?

I’m delighted to announce that JustGiving has partnered with NCVO and KnowHow NonProfit to create a free digital fundraising knowledge hub.

This partnership will ensure that all charities, no matter how big or small, will have access to the best digital fundraising advice from experts and qualified trainers.

But we need your help.

In order to ensure that the knowledge hub meets your needs and is fit for purpose, we need you to let us know what you would like us to cover. Please leave your suggestions in the comments field on the JustGiving blog.

Are you a Comms Hero?

If you work in Comms, in any sector, then the Comms Hero conference is for you. The lovely people over at Resource Housing have organised this conference, taking place on 13 May in Manchester, to share the ‘best of’ in Comms and Marketing. Best of all it’s delivered by comms people, for comms people. There’s a great line-up of speakers, including Dan Slee who helps head up the brilliant Comms2Point0.



I am delighted to be able to offer a free ticket, worth £150, to one lucky person to attend. If you’d like a chance to win, please leave a comment on this blog post, starting with, “I’d love to win a ticket to Comms Hero because….”. A winner will be drawn at random on Friday 9 May at 10 am. Please note this prize is for a conference place only and does not include travel.

To find out more about the conference programme, visit the website. Follow Comms Hero on Twitter and keep an eye on the hashtag #commshero for lots of tips.

‘Leisure’ – a poem by W.H.Davies

Following on from my previous post on being mindful in a Digital Age, a friend of mine just sent this to me and I thought, “How very apt.”

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

Some new and nifty social media features

I don’t know about you but I’ve spotted new features on a number of platforms recently. Have you? If not, never fear… here they are:

1. Pinterest Place boards – now you can pin places (buildings, restaurants, landmarks etc) on to a map board. It’s really easy to use and looks great. Here’s an example.

2. Instagram DMs –  you can now send a photo or video directly (and privately) to a friend on Instagram. Could this be a nifty way to build donor relations? Imagine getting a personalised Christmas card or fundraising ‘thank you’ from a charity you support?

3. Facebook donate button – you can donate to charities on Facebook now (US only for the moment but expect to see it here mid 2014). This could have huge implications for charities but of course a Facebook Ads grant would have been much better… Read this article for more info on the matter. And you can sign a petition here to encourage Facebook to set up a non-profit Ads grant, much like Google’s Adword grants.


4. Google + custom URLs – now you can change your Google + page URL, which surely beats those random numbers right? You will need to meet three criteria to be eligible: You have to have a profile photo, at least 10 followers and an account which is over a month old. Google is rolling this out in stages but you will be informed when you are eligible to change your URL. Be warned… once you set your custom URL, you can’t change it (like Facebook Page names – and we all know how painful that is if you rebrand).

5. Twitter mobile gets a facelift – The Twitter mobile App has a new look. And it is sleek. ‘Connect’ is now called ‘notifications’ and ‘home’ is now called ‘timelines’. If you have different Twitter accounts you can now move more easily between the two timelines.

Have you spotted any others? Share them in the comments field.

Happy 5th Birthday NFPTweetup!

Last week NFPTweetup celebrated it’s 5th birthday with cake, cupcakes, wine and some great presentations and a panel discussion.


The theme was on using digital in live events. Joe Dix, Website Manager at WWF was up first to talk about how they live-streamed Earth Hour. Next up was Digital Freelancer Bertie Bosredon to give us a glimpse into his digital toolbox. Finally, there was a panel discussion on using social media for live events with Sally Chambers from JustGiving, Kate Brennan from the BHF, Joe Freeman from Sue Ryder and Teri Doubtfire from Child’s i.

But this isn’t a post about the event. This is a post about the phenomenon that is Rachel Beer.

Rachel, and others (a dedicated team of volunteers), have worked tirelessly for five years to bring us NFPTweetup – a free event for digital people working in the charity sector to learn from our peers and to network. It started with humble beginnings back in 2008 in a pub with about 40 people and has grown to over 100, with tickets ‘selling out’ in minutes, and hosted in a proper auditorium (thanks to the generosity of Amnesty International).

I can tell you, from running the Sole Communicators events with CharityComms, that it’s not easy running free events. It takes a lot of time to research new topics, source speakers, find free venues etc and then you have to hope that people actually turn up! It takes dedication and a commitment to ensuring that those working in our sector have access to the latest campaigns and trends. And all for free.

It really is thanks to Rachel that I have met so many wonderful people and learnt from some of the best in our field.

It was only fitting that we thanked the founder of NFPtweetup, Rachel Beer, for all her hard work over the years to help us all be better in our roles. Thank you Rachel! (She will curse me for posting this!)

* Photo of the cake is by Rachel Wright, nicked off her Twitter feed

Tis the Season to be jolly (and safe)

Today is the International Day of Action to Eliminate Violence Against Women. At our last Sole Communicators group, that I run with CharityComms, we heard from national domestic violence charity Refuge about their Don’t Cover it Up Campaign. It was really eye-opening, from a creative campaign perspective (the campaign was hugely successful) but also from an information perspective – there were some shocking statistics. I have written a blog post for CharityComms about the campaign, which you can read here.

I was delighted today to receive an email from Emerald Street to say that they are supporting Refuge this month by donating £1 for every new subscription they receive in December. Emerald Street is a free newsletter from the Stylist team that is sent to your inbox daily so why not sign up today and support Refuge

Christmas is usually a happy time for families but sadly not for the 2,800 women and children that Refuge helps on any given day through their refuges, independent advocacy and community outreach services. Help them reach more women and children who are trapped in abusive relationships by signing up to Emerald Street or by donating here. Let this New Year be a new start for them….


Three things I learnt from this video

This is the video of my 300 Seconds presentation on How to Build a Personal Brand. Watching it back I have learnt three things:

1. I don’t like the sound of my own voice (but then, who does?)
2. I really over-ran….it was meant to be 300 seconds, not 450. I must work on my timing
3. I need to work on my nerves – it shows in my voice

Now I just need another presentation opportunity to apply these newly learnt skills…..