Thursday 11 February 2010

On the way to Birmingham.

Who said the recession was having no effect on charities? It is.

Barnardo's has launched an emergency appeal for donations in the face of an expected £3m shortfall in fundraising income this year.

Chief Executive and ACEVO member Martin Narey said yesterday,

"Unless we can raise the funds we need by 31 March, I am wondering how we will continue to support those on our own doorsteps who need us most," he has said. He is clear the shortfall is because the recession and the decline in house and share prices.

For example, the value of wills, the charity's biggest source of voluntary income, had plummeted by £1.2m.

Altogether this year Barnados will spend about £3m more than they have coming in.

And on news from members I was amused at the piece by Martin Brookes (CEO of NPC) on the need for charities to evaluate what they do.

They have just published the "The little blue book " - a guide to charities on evaluating their work. Martin sent me a copy. Although not that little it's excellent. Worth getting I will suggest to ACEVO members. Click here to download a free copy from their website.

He writes:

"Friday afternoon isn't the time to choose to start thinking about an organisation's impact and the services provided. After working for years for an organisation that analyses charities' performance, I have learnt not to put them on pedestals. I know that there are great charities and not so great charities, but still I was shocked and disappointed when I recently heard a Chief Executive of one well-known charity describing evaluation within his organisation as "something that gets done on a Friday afternoon".

Reflecting on how you perform as an organisation is a crucial part of maintaining quality and learning how to improve. I don't know how productive that Chief Executive feels on a Friday afternoon, but it isn't the time I'd choose to start thinking about the impact of my charity's work or how I could improve the services we offer."

But ACEVO does evaluate what we do. Indeed I was looking yesterday at a report we are doing to our Board on Trustee, Chair and CEO performance. It is based on an appraisal of our Board performance. It is frank. Excellent feedback on the CEO. Not a shock obviously. But areas for development; handling feedback perhaps? Any CEO, however long in a job, must always continue on the learning track. So feedback bloggers?

And on the subject of performance I had a breakfast with Peter Wanless, the excellent CEO of the Big Lottery Fund at the Cinammon club. But he had forgotten his wallet. Lottery man with no money shock horror! I paid. And took one of his excellent grant forms...

And now I'm on my way to Leg 3 of the ACEVO Big Ask Gig. In Birmingham. I am enjoying this opportunity to talk through our challenges with my members. If you want to speak with authority as a Sector Leader then you have to know you are connected with the members. Big audience awaits. And third speech of the week.

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