In the wake of Dispatches, #knitgate and Panorama I recently blogged about how the sector has entered a new era of transparency for Just Giving.
So it was very timely to see ActionAid UK’s new crowdsourced report on transparency and to read what Judith Davey, their Director of People, Performance and Accountability says about it.
ActionAid UK are one of my clients and earlier this year I ran a workshop for them on thought leadership, transparency and social media. We talked about the concept for the report then and they went away to work on it. I was excited to see the finished product last week which includes fantastic contributions from the BBC, Charity Comms and the Big Lottery Fund. There is plenty of food for thought for nonprofits of all shapes and sizes.
I’m hoping the report will kickstart a conversation in the sector about transparency. In my view, there are some worrying misconceptions about transparency out there still, including: it’s something which is done to us by politicians; just putting all our data out there is enough; and it’s a ‘thing,’ a bolt on to all of our other activities. The cutting edge thinking showcased in the report is a refreshing antidote to all that.
Whilst greater scrutiny can be an unnerving thing for many organisations, I think that the best way forward is to embrace it and put it at the heart of your strategy. By being open and honest you can strengthen relationships with stakeholders, build new partnerships and reinvigorate your communications.
The point is, transparency isn’t a one size fits all process, and should really be the start of a conversation about your work and the difference it makes with your audience.
Isn’t it time the charity sector talked about this more? Do join the debate by tweeting ActionAid UK.
Last year’s awards in full swing
Huge thanks to everyone who nominated CEOs earlier this summer. We’ve been spoilt for choice with 100 amazing entries. Here’s a quick update on next steps and sponsors.
What happens next?
This year’s top 30 will be announced at a special event on Thursday 6 November hosted by Girlguiding.
Who’s in this year’s top 30?
Our judges have been burning the midnight oil this summer deciding who is in this year’s top 30. As I said, we had 100 brilliant nominations and narrowing them down to 30 when the standard has been so high has been no easy task. We’d like to thank Simon Blake, CEO of Brook and Chair of our judging panel, Dalton Leong, CEO of The Children’s Trust, and Lucy Caldicott, Director of Fundraising at CLIC Sargent, for all their hard work.
Naturally, the names of those in this year’s top 30 are under lock and key until November. They will be announced officially in the press the morning after the awards i.e. Friday 7 November.
Who else is involved?
We are thrilled to announce that this year’s awards will be run in association with Grant Thornton (you may have seen their recent report Growing Communities on charity leadership and social media). We’ve got some other great sponsors on board including TPP and Access. If you’re a corporate who would like to get involved please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I help my CEO/ board/ leadership team use social media?
We’ll be producing some content to help you do just that which will be launched at the same time as the awards. In the meantime, check out the guide we produced last year.
I’ll also be running a workshop to help trustees use social media at the NCVO conference on 10 November, and am planning some workshops on how you or your leadership team can develop good personal online presences early in the new year. If you’d like to know more about these drop me a line on email@example.com And for tip top digital campaigns advice and resources do check out Matt’s agency, Platypus Digital.
This is a guest blog from Dr Monica Seeley, founder of Mesmo Consultancy and an international expert on best email practice. Monica has written several books and many articles on email use. Her latest book is ‘Brilliant Email’.
August time always sparks the age old debate about whether or not to stay connected whilst on leave. Those firmly in the wellbeing camp say disconnect and give yourself time to recharge the batteries properly. Others feel they must stay connected no matter what and that doing so makes no difference to the quality of their holiday. In effect they are saying ‘I am indispensable and super human’. Most of my clients when asked why they stay connected whilst on leave say it is because they feel it is expected of them.
Last week Daimler introduced an email programme which self-destructs employees’ emails whilst they are on leave. In effect they have levelled the playing field for all employees regardless of seniority.
However, the Daimler system is sophisticated and not everyone can afford such technology.
For many, dealing with the holiday email back-log is one of the most stressful aspects of taking a break . More stressful, some say, than losing your luggage and having to look after aging parents. If you are not in a position to implement a Daimler-type system what are the other options? Take heart because technology alone will not cure email overload despite the claims of some software providers.
The real cure for email overload lies in changing our email behaviour. It is about rethinking how we use email and curing what has become the hidden disease of 21st century working life – email addiction.
Whilst these are long terms action in the short term, for those either going on holiday or returning to work from vacation, there are some simple things you can do.
Before going on leave do some basic and simple email housekeeping to clean up the inbox. Here are my three top tips:
- Clear out all the old emails – either move them to folders or delete them and especially old newsletters.
- Set some rules (filters) to move automatically any new less important emails to folders, or maybe even the trash can (eg all user emails, newsletters, social media alerts etc). This way when you return you will see only the high priority emails in your inbox.
- Set an appropriate Out of Office message. Keep it short and simple giving the dates you are away from the office. Most email software allows you to set two different Out of Office messages. For internal emails, set a message similar to the Daimler one asking people to resend any important emails after your return. Many senior executives already practice this principle to reduce the level of holiday email overload. Done carefully you can even filter out the ones from the CEO and let them slip though. For external emails you may wish to craft a different less blunt message.
On your return from leave here are my three top tips to reduce the dreaded holiday email overload.
- Talk, talk and talk again to colleagues before even touching your inbox. This will give you an overview of what really needs your attention. Then and only then tackle the inbox.
- Triage the inbox based on what your colleagues have told you and deal just with the really vital emails. If you have followed the three steps above then this should just be important emails from clients and the senior management team.
- Declare email bankruptcy. Once you have dealt with the really key emails, if your inbox is still full of unnecessary emails, delete the rest. If anything is that important you can be sure the sender will re-contact you.
The result? No more email holiday overload. Longer term you can start to implement an email management change programme to better educate your colleagues about how to reduce email overload.
This is a guest blog from Sarah Sinnott of Catch22. Sarah builds partnerships to create social impact at Catch22 – a social business that has been thinking differently about delivering services to vulnerable people for over 200 years.
Innovation is no longer a nice to have, as Lucy Gower says, it’s “urgent and important”. At Catch22 we’re interested in innovation in all aspects of our work from frontline delivery, data capture, social finance / investment and models of sustainability. So how do we make it happen?
- Take risks
Innovation and risk go hand in hand and therefore as a sector we need to be better at embracing it. Innovation needs investments of time, resource, support (to succeed and fail) and some structure for it to focus on. This kind of investment isn’t often available and hence the leadership from funders (like Nominet Trust, Google and Nesta) in terms of legitimising and embracing innovation is essential. Be open and ready for opportunities where funders will let you take risks, they are increasingly there as long as you’re looking.
We did this with Nominet Trust who enabled us to embark on our first digital project, The Social Action App. With no track record of digital development, but a clear vision of improving chances for young people by digitalising social action, they offered us the freedom and the resources to try something risky and new…
- Try something new
Catch22 has just launched a Fellowship to scale good ideas, support social entrepreneurialism and embrace innovative approaches. It’s early days and the first of its kind in the sector but we hope it will demonstrate how bigger organisations can better embrace innovation. http://www.catch-22.org.uk/news/catch22-launches-first-fellowship-social-entrepreneurialism-dr-charlie-howard/
- Don’t fail too fast
Ideas are easy, delivery is tough so despite the current zeitgeist of ‘fail fast’, remember that implementation is not always easy but that’s the point, and that’s why you’re doing it. Get senior level buy in and make sure you hold your nerve for as long as possible. The Social Action App has been quietly building momentum for 18 months now and just this week the recognition of Google proves it’s been worth it. Catch22 is now a finalist in the 2014 Google Impact Challenge and in the running to win a £0.5million grant for the app.
Catch22’s The Social Action app
- Don’t bother about trying to be innovative
One sure way to kill innovation is to focus too much on it. The interesting things happen in your rear view mirror, in your peripheral vision. So don’t try to search for the next big innovative thing and then build the structures to tie it all down. Rather build your organisation and your staff’s abilities to spot opportunity and be flexible about introducing it into your existing work. You’ll need to be good at connecting ideas and networking people and eeking out scarce resource to do this rather than managing and counting and measuring.
Find out more about Catch22’s social action app.
You might remember that earlier this year Lucy Gower and I launched the Charity Innovation Survey, which aimed to measure where charities are currently at with innovation.
We’ve pulled together the resulting stats along with case studies of some amazing innovative charities in a special report which will help the sector make the case for innovation, share best practice and boost every charity’s innovation, whatever their size, shape or cause. Read my blog about the Charity Innovation Report on today’s Guardian Voluntary Sector Network.
Download the report at www.charityinnovationreport.co.uk (it’s free)
Do let me know what you think of it by tweeting me @zoeamar and using the hashtag #charityinnovate2014
We’ll be launching the report tonight at a special event with Charity Leaders’ Exchange, where we’ll hear from some innovative charities including Cancer Research UK (talking about #nomakeupselfie) and The Children’s Society.