INSTITUTE OF FUNDRAISING: Awards for All goes top of the summer must-do list

Lindsay Boswell, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising

It might just be me, but this time of year is one that I have always associated with future planning. Maybe it's the fragmented nature of the office, constantly a little under-staffed as people take their holidays.

Or perhaps we naturally set ourselves targets to have achieved by now, and this is now the time for planning and looking ahead.

Government certainly seems to have been busy with deadlines around now.

At the start of July, we saw the white paper on lotteries released, while last week saw the launch of the Government's response to the Strategy Unit Report. Both reports contain some good news among the details.

The lottery paper was full of pledges and short on the hows and whys.

The headline announcement of asking people to decide locally on what causes they want lottery money lavished on is fraught with fun and games.

However, there was one piece of news worth highlighting. One of the better and more accessible grant programmes is called Awards For All. This is simpler, more straightforward to apply for, has an impressive success rate and the limit has been doubled to £10,000. Many of the Institute's national and regional groups have run training days and seminars on how to apply for these grants and, indeed, much of this training has itself been supported by the scheme. If you have not yet looked at the Awards For All programme do so.

And don't just think of your day job. Many of us are also volunteers for community, education or church groups, so consider where else Awards For All might work. So far the changes are only for the Awards For All programme in England, but changes are being mooted for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Call for the Institute to lobby on your behalf to make these changes happen. Yet to be updated, the web site for the programme is www.awardsforall.org.uk and, if you are short of holiday reading, the full paper from Tessa Jowell is available online at www.culture.gov.uk/global/publications/archive.

Another task worth completing before you go on holiday is to ensure your organisation is registered with the Inland Revenue for self-assessment reclaims. Although this has been mentioned recently, it really is worth repeating the message. You have until 30 September to register with the Revenue to put your organisation on the list for reclaims.

Next April's self-assessment forms will give individuals the opportunity to donate any or all of their tax rebate back to a charity of their choice, as long as they are registered, and some £3 billion is reclaimed each year. The details are available from the information page of our web site, with a link straight into the dark depths of the Inland Revenue site.

Back to the Institute's branches. I know now isn't a good time to mention the autumn, but October, November and December make up conference season for many of the groups. There is a wide range of fantastic training opportunities being run all over the country, planned and delivered by volunteers (that's experienced, knowledgeable high-quality fundraisers to you and me!) and many have already been successful with the Awards For All programme.

These events can be offered at prices that are designed to make them accessible to a wide range of organisations. Why not plan some cost-effective use of the boss's training budget before going away? Below is a summary of some of the events. You don't have to be a member to attend these events - but expect to pay a bit more. It will be highly cost effective use of your time and your organisation's money.

October sees conferences in the South East on the 7th, on the 9th in the South West, in the Midlands on the 20th and 21st. The Scottish conference will be running on the 27th and 28th.

The Northern Irish Group will be running two workshops in the coming months on 10 September and 15 October.

The Wessex conference will run on 8-9 November and the North West conference will be running on the 13th and 14th. The Welsh Conference takes place on 5 December. The Researchers in Fundraising SIG will be running a one day conference on 17 September.

For further details of all National Regional and Special Interest Groups events please check our web site, www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk.

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