Charity Trustee

Here is a bold statement, everyone who can qualify needs to volunteer as a Charity Trustee.

The sector relies on the Charity Trustee to function effectively.

Those who donate know that Charity Trustees are rarely paid to fulfil the time-consuming role.

Diversity in Trustee Backgrounds

Why Volunteer to be a Charity Trustee?

The stock phrase is “to give something back”, that isn’t really a good reason. Consequently, the question is accompanied by what can you achieve as a Charity Trustee? Will and does it make a difference?

Here are three reasons to think about:

  • You are needed
  • The skills and experience you bring are valuable; and
  • the work needs to be done

Odd reasons for many, because they focus on what the experience gives them, however, charity is philanthropy and benevolence in action!

Yes, it is true – whoever we are there is a critical place for us in supporting the most vulnerable in society, changing lives through direct action.

I Give Money!

It’s not just about the Money – without help, this person will be still in this place tomorrow

Money is a tool the real gift is your time, your skills and your passion. Does something mean a great deal to you? Is someone going through the experience you have endured going to help more by people who have an academic understanding or by you as a survivor?

Raising money makes little difference to the running of the charity, and I often hear doners say “where does the money go? how do they justify that expense?” The answer is without your voice in the Boardroom or at the trustee meeting that important message will be missed.

Money achieves little without volunteers at all levels of the charity and the best example is always set by hardworking and dedicated trustees.

It Is All About the Gift!

Let me share an experience with you. My first three trustee roles were very challenging because the charities had issues with finance and I was asked to help sort out the issues.

With the task defined I literally got on with a job that the Trustees should have been doing for years. Once complete there was no further use for my skills, at the next AGM I couldn’t give a good reason for the membership to vote me back in.

The impact was shocking because it was then I realized I had no idea about the Charities, their purpose and how they benefitted others. Consequently, I was the wrong person for those charities (although my skills were useful to the charities my personal investment was nil).

Therefore the next charities I chose, I was recruited for my interest and what I could give. Consequently, changing my approach to volunteering as a Trustee resulted in a real personal investment.

Bring your gift! Bring your Talent! Share your skills! Be philanthropic with yourself.

Because you build your personal confidence, professional business skills and stay in touch with those who most benefit from your support.

Why am I passionate about Charity Trustees?

The local trustee is in decline, national charities use the media to get into our homes to highlight problems. They want your money.

Consequently, let’s turn our attention locally there are real issues and problems, communities, individuals need support and only those who live close to them can help. Therefore, that requires time, management, resources, and us!.

The Charity Trustee creates that.

Need to know what a charity trustee does? What responsibilities they have? and understand the rewards of volunteering? Contact me to discuss how we can help you find the right charity for you.

Therefore, are you looking for new trustees, looking for direct and simple training for trustees, contact us.

March 2020 Newsletter – New Growth

March Newsletter

The March Newsletter has three key topics

New Growth

Having decided where your business needs to be in 2020, the next step requires a strong plan.

Learning from your past development pace you know what pace the business will move at, however, new growth in business works differently.

Three reasons why:

  • Energy
  • Excitement, and
  • Action

We often think of ourselves as pragmatic when we have matured, but we still love the anticipation off something new. 

Last week I had a conversation with a business that had hit a wall when their major client announced the contract would be ending at least 6 months earlier than projected. 

The senior management team focused on the issue with the client but that announcement will not change. So the business has 4 weeks to do something. 

A director rang and asked did I know of many clients who would step in before the end of April? The due diligence on a new contract will take 8 weeks so this was unlikely to happen.

Change Direction 

This was an interesting dilemma, but after an initial conversation, new growth and diversification as possible. 

The immediate impact taking this idea to the senior management with a few potential opportunities and suddenly everyone was engaged. The whole team worked through the weekend and by Tuesday the new service was ready for a test run. 

From this one area of new growth, the directors have now put together a new plan. April will run its course. The contract will close but the staff is already looking beyond.

Business Development Nurturing Growth 

The key to new growth is developing your strengths not the same client base but the strength of your team, employees and grasping opportunities.

List all the skills, match them to opportunities and then review how to nurture this potential growth. 

Not everything will work, however, everything will empower your greatest asset. 

Business Life is all about making the next opportunity, failing to look for it is missing all the potential new growth.

Simply Business

March Newsletter

Finance – Insolvency

There is a popular definition of Insolvency:

Insolvency is the state of being unable to pay the money owed, by a person or company, on time; those in a state of insolvency are said to be insolvent. There are two forms: cash-flow insolvency and balance-sheet insolvency. (Wiki)

However, many business owners trade on the next payday principle. If money is coming in that will cover the next due invoice we are still solvent. 

Nice idea but it can create a problem. One failure to pay your invoice has a ripple effect often delaying your ability to pay bills, a second invoice payment delayed can create the tsunami!


One of my clients delayed their payment of my invoice no big deal but it was a breach of terms. So I sent the reminder, they promised it would be in the bank by the end of the week. It wasn’t. 

40 days had passed so learning from a brilliant young businesswoman, I started insolvency proceedings, shocking my client. 

They rang me to explain one of their clients hadn’t paid them a substantial sum and the dispute had caught my invoice in the delay. 

We resolved the issue, and when it was finished I asked the company how they traded. The hand to mouth approach and they traded on the edge of insolvency. 

A couple of years later they crashed and burned as a business because of their debt modeling and hand to mouth existence.


  • Keep at least one month ahead of your incoming bills.
  • Talk to your suppliers and be honest with them
  • Never enter an agreement if you can’t guarantee the bill will be paid.  
Giving Locally March Newsletter

March Newsletter

Charity Begins Locally

Last week I was stopped in the local high street and asked to contribute to a National Charity.

I asked the young person (who didn’t work for the charity) how much goes to the people who need it? “Oh, most of it, about 35%”

Two issues here, the understanding of the maths and then lack of accuracy.

Having been a fundraiser for many years this corporate approach sticks in my throat.

Donation realities

Play the game a give without asking I am often told. However, checking some home truths is always useful. For example how £3 donations a month are required to pay the CEO and the NED’s of the charity? In one case it turned out to be over 10,000 doners.

Another fact that it is worth clarifying, playing a lottery means that the bulk of the funds raised go to the good causes. Not true, the range is 10% to 30% the rest is tax and the profit-making business behind the lottery.

So if less than 30 pence goes to the good cause how could we support those in need better?

Tax effective giving

Gift Aid is the obvious choice, for every £1 donated the charity or sports club can claim from the HMRC.

Small Cash Donation Schemes, same principle, give and the government gives if you pay tax.

There are other measures as well.

Give locally and to groups run by volunteers and 100% of your donation goes to the cause of your choice.

Contact us for more insights and to receive our opportunity mailing

Governance Review

Charity Blogging

Governance Review

I wrote my first article on charity governance over 30 years ago and things don’t seem to change much. Introducing our Governance review service.

A local community-based charity asked for help. The Trustees needed to understand their role.

Initially, the focus was on roles and responsibilities. However, the real issue was the Trustees were not allowing staff to do what they thought should be done.

Two trustees were asking difficult questions.

What is the role of a Trustee?

The role is explained in the Charity Commission publication “Charity trustee: What is involved?”

Point 2. Comply with your charity’s governing document and the law

I asked for a copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association. No one had a copy.

Consequently, who knew what they were doing?

The Review Process

There are four stages to my review

  • Objects
  • Powers
  • Process
  • Evidence of compliance

The outcome challenged the whole Charity.

Consequently, none of them knew the original objects of the charity. They hadn’t looked online and they certainly never thought to ask for a copy.

However, instinctively they knew that they were collectively and individually accountable.

Drawing the Line

This style of review leads to real change. Therefore, this empowers and enables. Subsequently, fundraising suddenly becomes easier, and management more effective.

Use this support to draw the line under poor practice. Enable and empower the charity and serve the community you were set up to serve.

Contact me for more information about the Governance Review Service.

Two Parts to a Tender

The PC and Coffee

There are two parts to a tender.

  • The Company Information
  • Quality Response (or offer)

Company Information

It is a “Ronseal” section. However, there are clear pitfalls.

Some of the things you are required to provide:

  • Company Details
  • Registered and Postal address
  • Structure (Sole trader, Ltd, Partnership, PLC)
  • Date and place of registration
  • Registration numbers (make certain it is the right number)
  • DUNS Number for Limited Companies
  • Professional registrations
  • Mandatory exclusions and
  • Discretionary exclusions

A very simple starting point, now the primary requirements:

  • Accounts or projections
  • Insurances
  • Business Continuity Plans
  • Policies
  • Pre-Employment checks

Technical experience follows:

  • Organization Chart
  • Management accountability and reporting
  • Staffing
  • Operational and Administrative functions
  • Training information and records
  • Similar services provided

All backed up by:

  • References
  • Examples of contracts and values
  • Quality assurance and controls and
  • Business description

All of the information required should be held in one place and updated as necessary. Therefore, that means the first section can be completed in house.

Managing information

All too often clients begin by saying we’re too busy to keep on top of this. It isn’t true because how you set up your management of information dictates just how difficult this is.

For example, my clients use a range of document management tools, for example, the top three are:

Take the time to learn to use these tools and automate as much as you can.

Online Portals

Registering with your preferred buyer means that you must know what Online Portals they use and where they publish opportunities.

Take time to set these up with the information you have already gathered and ensure that you update stored documents.

Use the Portal Alerts to email you as soon as the opportunity is published.

In a later post, I will introduce you to “Through the Portal”

Why do these yourselves?

The simple answer it saves time and money. If you complete the Portal information then the core answers self populate and you need only pay for the parts that need a direct answer.

Competitive tendering is all about effective preparation and it saves money and time when completed properly.

For example, just completing all the core information can save you a half-day of charges that a bid writer will charge. If I do it for you it is generally an hour of my time.

The Quality Response

Two parts to the tender, part 2 is the challenge.

Understanding the language of the question is a critical part to scoring well. Here are common examples of phrases used: (we will return to these in a subsequent post)

  • Please provide an account of…
  • How would (not does)…
  • Please explain how you would…
  • How does your organisation…
  • What systems and processes…
  • Demonstrate your approach…

I get asked what do they mean by…? and the because of the specification we know how the buyer expects to receive the product, therefore, we should be able to work these points through. None of the questions deserve a two-line answer or refer to policy document xyz.

Competitive tender writing requires discipline, structure and clear organization. Winning tenders are written by individuals with a clear understanding of what you are selling and how it benefits the buyer.

Consequently, there are two parts to every tender document, one is easy to prepare for, all questions can be pre-empted. Therefore, spend time with your bid writer(s), cover these points, provide examples and check the detail.

Winning becomes a habit once the training process is in place.

The Offer of support

I am happy to run the whole process for you, however, I also enjoy working with your teams and mentoring them as they enhance their skills as bid writers. Additionally, training days are available tailored and general.

Contact information 30 years of writing winning submissions enabling you to stay ahead of your competition.