Unfortunately I was not one of the 100 people in Mark Phillips's session at the IoF convention, covered in Third Sector ("Why use fundraising that will irritate the public?", August, page 42). It is a shame because I could have told him that presenting arguments based on false assumptions and poor research is equally irritating.
It is true that the Young Women's Trust has changed its brand twice in the past few years. It is also true that income has reduced considerably over that period. But it is not true that the change of brand was to blame. The reason for the drop in income was a planned substantial restructure and strategic refocus. The charity no longer delivers face-to-face services around the country and receives no income from statutory sources. In 2009/10 this accounted for £3.5m of income and by 2014/15 this was £0. Voluntary income was £382k in 2009/10, £284k in 2013/14 and £637k in 2014/15.
This could be due to a brand change or it could be due to a great fundraising team.
I know which argument the team would prefer. I agree that rebrands need to be considered carefully, but sometimes you have to be brave. If a brand is not working, get on and change it.
Carole Easton, chief executive, Young Women's Trust, London EC1
Not sure Debra's figures are right, but I agree about making the ask...
For once, I think that Debra Allcock Tyler has got it wrong (Last Word, August, page 66). To start with, there is her abuse of statistics. I don't know where she gets a figure of 20 billion "fundraising contacts", but 48,000 complaints seems an extraordinarily high figure and something to worry about – particularly as it probably represents a figure of at least double that, because most people (like myself) don't get round to complaining about junk mail. They simply bin it.
But even 48,000 is not 0.00024 per cent of the UK population, and it is certainly not 0.00024 per cent of the donating public. It is probably more like 0.1 per cent or more of the donating public. The Red Cross might process 7,000 donations a day, but if I was the complaining type it would be one of the charities I would complain about because it sends unsolicited "free" gifts.
However, I certainly do agree with Debra about having to remind the public to give to charity instead of "pandering to the minority who don't like being asked". But there are good ways of asking and bad ways; in my book, giving unasked-for free gifts, such as pens and address labels, in order to embarrass people into donating, is a bad way, and gives charities a bad name.
John Burton, chief executive, World Land Trust, Halesworth, Suffolk
The new CC3 is great, but it lacks the snappy overview it once had
I welcome the Charity Commission's update of its guidance for trustees CC3 (August, page 10). It does a good job in bringing together what should be the main concerns of trustees, from public benefit to risk management. Such periodic updates are usually a good opportunity for a charity to take a fresh, blank-sheet look at appropriate aspects.
However, what has been lost from the previous CC3 is this snappy overview phrase for trustee duties: 'Ensuring the charity is solvent, well run and delivering the charitable outcomes for which it has been set up." I found that this phrase was a good focal point when talking to trustees about what they should be doing.
The equivalent in the new CC3 seems to be six "musts": compliance with the governing document, the law and statutory accounting requirements; acting responsibly, with reasonable care and skill, and in the charity's best interests.
Perhaps this equivalent could be summarised by the acronym Garlic: Governing document, Accounting, Responsibly, Law, Interests, Care. I suggest that we need an icebreaker such as this because governance can easily be perceived as a switch-off topic.
Frank Learner, principal, Greengage Associates, Barry, Glamorgan
Local infrastructure reinvents itself
The last five years have indeed been tough (August, page 38). But let's not forget that Capacitybuilders and ChangeUp grants were to help local infrastructure change, adapt and modernise. Many chose to take the money and make no substantive change at all, leaving them vulnerable when tough times came.
Rob Jackson, volunteering consultant, Grantham, Lincolnshire
I'm not sure anyone in 2005 would have been able to predict what is happening with funding now. It is also the case that there are organisations that used the money to transform their services and are still struggling financially now because their funding cuts have been so drastic.
Barney Mynott, head of public affairs, Navca, Sheffield
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