Saturday, 24 January 2009

fundraising in monasteries and Anglo French Summits

A Big Issue seller in Charlbury . A sign of the times? Anyway I buy a paper ; I think all of us in the Third Sector should do so. More controversially i always try and give money to beggars . I know that one of my greatly talented members , Jeremy Swain ( of Thames Reach Bondway ) advices against this as he argues it fuels drug habits ; but I am always aware of that verse ( interestingly in both the Koran and the Bible ) about entertaining angels unawares..

Big Issue is a brilliant scheme and we will all need to consider how we support more homelessness in the next few years. the recession is biting deeper . I was bemused to see that some charity fundraisers are arguing ; or so the screaming headline in " Third Sector " tells us that we must beware alarming donors. great timing guys , as this week we have news that the recession is deeper and more problematic than government thought , and some are advising of a long haul and a real possibility of a depression in the UK. So who are these donors who are out there not reading the papers or watching the news? Perhaps this is about fundraising in monasteries and nunneries where the Religious try to concentrate on heavenly ratter than earthly preoccupations? I suspect the British public are quite switched on to the difficulties charities face and we must be honest about the serious problems we may face over the coming years. So ACEVO will continue to argue for support from the public , from local councils and government. we will continue to bring the plight of the sector to public attention . And as for being alarmist , well some of my members are alarmed .

Of course we also want to present the positive side of the third sector . Our inventiveness and ingenuity. And the real opportunity to lead the economy and society out of a recession. We are key to recovery , as I will continue to argue. So King Canute , begone !

It was a frosty morning in Charlbury , and again it was a delight to take the Hound for a walk across the frozen fields. But the croissant and coffee afterwards were welcoming! yesterday I had my international team at the cottage for an away day talk through our strategy for the next 3 years . ACEVO has helped establish euclid , a third sector leaders network across Europe. we agree that we need to concentrate on pushing for a " social Europe " and that the recession across Europe will provide us with an opportunity to demonstrate the power of the wider third sector to support society and grow the economy. we work closely with lead umbrella bodies in France and Sweden .

One of our plans for this year is an Anglo -French Summit to explore the potential for a European Social Investment Bank. A number of the leading co-operative and mutual funds in France are really interested in the Futurebuilders model and are looking to replicate in France . And wider than this , we believe there is scope for this approach from the EU. I am off to Paris on the 9th February to meet the leading person from the French credit union to develop our strategy and approach . How powerful this would be if it came off . We need to drive up access to capital in our sector so that the opportunities to expand our service delivery ( and these will grow, even in a recession ) can expand . And how much more powerful if there is a EU wide bank . We need Banks that can lend , ( as I argued with Liam Byrne when I met him recently ). So the sooner we get the Social Investment Bank up and running here the better.

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