BULLETIN No. 168: October 2017 My monthly attempt to keep my contacts, friends, friends of friends, etc. in touch with what's going on in the world of charities. A distillation of the many briefings that arrive on my desk, plus whatever I've gleaned ...

 

 
 


 

   

BULLETIN No. 168: October 2017

My monthly attempt to keep my contacts, friends, friends of friends, etc. in touch with what's going on in the world of charities. A distillation of the many briefings that arrive on my desk, plus whatever I've gleaned from charities I'm currently working with. Always glad to get your comments and suggestions, and requests for help.

Daryl Martin

d.martin@afvs.org.uk

What do we have this month?

1. Online Learning
2. Fundraising
3. Mentoring
4. Banking
5. Data Protection (GDPR)
6. Xero Online Accounting
7. Gift Aid
8. Public Wi-Fi
9. Incorporated Charities Becoming CIOs
10. Training for Trustees and Executive
11. How can we help you?
12. And Finally...

1. Online Learning
The online learning course I’ve been telling you about is now live. My first course is ‘All About Trustees’. It’s in 3 parts. There’s also a small course on Charity Trading. I’m working on Fundraising, Volunteers and GDPR Made Simple. As a marketing tactic to get traffic onto the site, all courses are being offered at half price until Christmas which means exceptionally good value. www.bowringandjazz.com/

 

2. Fundraising
If you need help kickstarting your fundraising or if you want someone to run a ruler over the way you do things, or if things have got a bit stale, e-mail us. We have some capability to help make a difference. We’re developing a good relationship with a fundraising specialist who mentors fundraisers. I’ve seen her output, and she’s well worth talking with to see what she can do for you.

 

3. Mentoring
I’ve a small number of slots available if anyone would find hooking up with a mentor helpful. It can be a useful tool to help someone work through tricky issues in the charity. I’ve several mentors that I turn to regularly; I find it helpful to be able to talk to someone outside the situation when I have tough decisions to make, or I need to review the direction I’m taking. We also have an associate who is getting good results mentoring fundraisers. E-mail for more information.

 

4. Banking
Last month I gave a plug to Unity Bank which took the place of one of the high street banks for one of our members, and are delivering excellent service. A couple of readers wrote in to remind me of Triodos Bank, and also Reliance Bank, both providing great service. Don’t forget Kingdom Bank; I don’t think they provide current accounts, but it’s worth checking out their other services. (Thanks, Pete and Graham for writing in.)

 

5. Data Protection (GDPR)
Trustees are generally coming alive to the fact that this won’t go away and has to be faced in plenty of time. We are preparing a Data Protection GDPR Audit to help small to medium charities validate compliance. The challenge is keeping it simple but sufficiently comprehensive to establish what’s needed to make a charity compliant. We’ve now finally agreed how we can do this; Tony is now putting the finishing touches to it. We’ve had over two hundred requests for it, with more coming in daily, so there’s clearly a need for simple, effective solutions. We’ve put out eight briefings on the subject. E-mail if you’d find a set helpful. I’m also working on a half day course. However, we’re not rushing things; there’s still too much noise out there with a lot of disagreement amongst the ‘experts’, many of whom are unduly complicating what’s needed.

 

6. Xero Online Accounting
One way to get your book-keeping and year end accountancy costs right down is to invest in a good programme. I was hearing from an accountant today that he put one of our members onto Xero earlier this year and it’s made a significant difference to their operations, giving them much tighter control over cash flow and management reports. What interested me is that they have several bank accounts, plus PayPal, plus a credit card, and a number of restricted funds. Let us know if you’d like to know how we can help you in this area.

 

7. Gift Aid
HMRC is picking up far more claims from charities with people who no longer appear to be taxpayers. Sometimes the donor has moved address and not told HMRC and/or the charity. Increases in the personal allowance in recent years have taken millions of donors out of tax, and many charities have failed to check and update their records. Best advice is for charities to check the tax status and contact details of their donors every three years.

 

HMRC's policy used to be to contact the charity first when they suspected GA claims in the names of non-taxpayers, to try and get the charity to resolve it, and only then contact the donors. These days with personal post-codes on all full GA claims, it is far easier for HMRC to spot fraud or genuine mistakes.

 

If HMRC approaches the charity, they often refund the over-claim (or agree to adjust their next claim). The legal responsibility lies with the donor, but many charities decide to shoulder the cost to preserve their reputation. The incidence of such 'irregularities' from a charity might well trigger an onsite audit of the charity's GA and other tax records and systems. (Thanks to Ian for this comment.)

 

One other thing to remember is that the small donations scheme (GASDS) is quite separate from Gift Aid and mustn’t be shown on tax returns.

 

8. Public Wi-Fi
As someone who can increasingly be found in a coffee house either having a business meeting or catching up on emails, I was taken up short by a recent article in the Harvard Business Review.
Using free, public Wi-Fi networks comes with a number of serious security risks, yet many of us do it anyway. To minimise the chance of having your money or financial information stolen, follow these steps. First, if you’re on public Wi-Fi, don’t shop online, log in to your financial institution, or access other sensitive sites. Where you can, set up two-factor authentication, so even if hackers steal the passwords to your bank, social media, or email, they won’t be able to log in. Moreover, turn off the automatic Wi-Fi connectivity feature on your phone so that it won’t automatically seek out hotspots. A few moments of online inconvenience are far outweighed by the risks of having your personal information compromised.

 

9. Incorporated Charities Becoming CIOs
A draft Charitable Incorporated Organisations (Consequential Amendments) Order 2017 has been laid before parliament for approval. This new legislation will allow community interest companies and charities with company structures to quickly convert into CIOs from January. If approved, it is expected the first conversions could happen as soon as January 2018. More than 12,500 new CIOs have been registered since 2013.

 

10. Training for Trustees and Executive
After a quieter than usual six months we are now getting overrun with training requests. I do enjoy it though. With so much going on in the world of charities there’s always plenty to talk about. I am now taking bookings for the new year.

 

11. How can we help you?
The list of our support services gets ever longer:

  • All aspects of accounts including yearend and book-keeping
  • Migration to Online Accounting including Xero and QuickBooks Online.
  • Mentoring
  • Outsourcing (Bookkeeping, virtual FD, Gift Aid etc.
  • Data Protection (GDPR) compliance
  • HR support
  • Legal advice
  • Trading Issues (including charity shops)
  • Community Halls
  • Fundraising: reviewing, advising, mentoring, bid writing.
  • Training, including online learning
  • General Advice and Consultancy
  • Extensive library of briefings and policy templates

Contact us if you need help in any of these areas.

 

12. And Finally...

Last month’s prayer remembered those caught up in hurricanes and storms. They continue unabated, and now we have people losing their lives in firestorms

A prayer this month for the storms within which affects each of us from Jenneth Gracer:

Lord, you are my refuge of long ages past.
I run into your strength.
Only you are the one who is able
to search me out for enemies within.

You blow through the rooms of my inward home,
as I open the windows for your Spirit
to see me in my entirety.
You rout out my inner darkness.
You expose my foes and reveal each scheme.

You are able to bring my turmoil
into peace that goes beyond all my striving efforts
to achieve peace.

I will see your face everywhere,
when I look.


Go well. Thank you for your encouraging messages. We look forward to hearing from you with your questions, your suggestions, your requests for help and advice. If you find this bulletin helpful, please take a moment to pass it onto others who might appreciate it.

Daryl Martin

 

 

  

Advice For the Voluntary Sector CIC
Registered in England & Wales No: 7939754
Sovereign Centre, Poplars, Yapton Lane, Walberton, Arundel, West Sussex, BN18 0AS
Telephone: 0845 319 8330 - Web: www.afvs.org.uk