Little at Large: When it comes to your shredder, size does matter

Scenting another Peruvian guinea pig expose, The Mail On Sunday went to town recently over Big Lottery Fund grants to local authorities, based on a Freedom of Information request by the Tories. The list of shame included paying £10,000 for a shredder for Gosport Borough Council in Hampshire.

Mathew Little
Mathew Little

Readers were left to ponder why their weekly flutter was funding equipment to dispose of unwanted documents. Actually, the shredder in question was rather bigger: it's for chewing up trees for composting. But why let the size of a shredder get in the way of a good story?

- Even when charities are ruthless and businesslike, a certain charming naivety lingers. A sector union representative reports negotiating with the financially astute chief executive of a charity that had undercut a rival voluntary organisation for a local authority contract. The rep needed to know where the transferring workers were going to be based.

"Where will their new office be?" he asked.

"New office?" came the surprised reply. "We just assumed they'd still be working from their old offices." D'oh.

- Another taster from the Volcsec Dictionary referred to last week: those in the sector need help with their infrastructure in order to help them work with people known as users. (They sometimes even work with abusers.) It is very important to engage with these users, but you must always do so proactively. Sometimes you will have to communicate with stakeholders. These are a bit like users but are more inquisitive.

One of your main aims will be to ensure that your organisation becomes sustainable. In fact, lots of things can be sustainable - for example, the jobs that your users get, or a new project that your organisation starts (which should also be innovative). More meanings uncovered next week.

- Mathew Little is a freelance writer mathew.little@haymarket.com.

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