Banking for Charities - a free guide

A free booklet Banking for Charities has been produced for people who manage the financial affairs of a charity or voluntary organisation. It has been put together by The Charities Finance Group, and the British Banking Association.
The guide lays out your responsibilities as a person who manages a charity's / voluntary organisation's finances, helps you ask the right questions in order to establish your charity's banking needs, and answers many frequently asked questions. The guide is aimed towards those involved with the financial affairs of smaller charities; but others may find it useful, too. Download from:

5 Common Budgeting Mistakes from Ideas Tap

The website Ideas Tap, which supports arts and creative activities, has a page on their website called five common budgeting mistakes. It goes through common problems encountered when people doing any kind of activity, not just arts, are trying to determine  

The top 10 funding application errors

With competition for funding at its fiercest for years, it is important that charities make their applications stand out - and not for the wrong reasons. Mathew Little asks funders where applicants are going wrong and how they can avoid mistakes. The Directory of Social Change estimates that ineligible applications made to the largest trusts in 2010 equated to seven years of wasted effort. This pointless exertion seems not to have lessened since then. According to the latest figures from the Big Lottery Fund, 46 per cent of applications to its Reaching Communities programme between May and July this year were ineligible. So where are charities going wrong? We asked funders to share their thoughts on why so many applications end up in the recycling bin. Read what the top ten are at Third Sector:

Reserves Policies

Reserves policies and the broader management of reserves are often issues that crop up with the charitable organisations we deal with. Trustees have a primary duty to manage charitable assets in the best interests of its beneficiaries. Decisions about a charity's reserves are a key aspect of this duty of care and are particularly important in challenging economic conditions. The Charity Finance Group (CFG) together with sector partners, have published a useful free paper on the management of reserves. Specific areas addressed include:
• rationale for holding reserves;
• factors influencing the formulation of reserve policies
• opportunities for more actively managing reserves balances
• communicating and engaging with stakeholders on levels of reserves.
Download the free paper from:

Official notes on protecting charities against fraud

A short article from the Charity Commission's chief executive on preventing fraud in charities on The Guardian's Voluntary Sector Network. It also mentions that the Charity Finance Group and the Fraud Advisory Panel are launching (1st June) a joint fraud guide, which brings together existing guidance and advice in an accessible tool for trustees. Visit the Guardian website at:

Help for small charities

In 2011 the Institute of Fundraising secured funding from the Office for Civil Society to support small charities to fundraise more effectively. The three year project supports small and localised organisations at grassroots level with an annual income of £1 million or less.
The project also works with groups supporting marginalised, vulnerable and socially excluded individuals to support them develop their fundraising career. Our programme of activity includes face to face training, online learning, mentoring, career coaching, consultancy and a toolkit.
• Five Minute Fundraiser
• Training Courses
• Conference Bursary Scheme
• IoF Academy Qualifications
• Online Courses
• Free CPD Access

• Managing Fundraisers: The essential guide to recruiting, developing & retaining fundraising talent

Read more at funding Central:

Key stages in applying for funding

There are thousands of different funders and each has their own way of handling applications and making grants. Fortunately for those seeking funds - while there are differences between funders, the vast majority of grant programmes involve similar stages and processes.
A common mistake is to see grant funding simply in terms of making applications - you find a potential funder, submit an application and hopefully receive an offer letter. But when you read the terms and conditions you find that you are going to be paid in arrears, with instalments linked to producing reports and project accounts, and that the existing post you were hoping to fund needs to be externally advertised. The project costs you far more to administer than you had expected. You thought it took enough time to apply but you soon find it takes even more time to monitor, report and meet funders' conditions. Despite these problems, the project goes well and in your final report to the funder you explain how you want to continue after the pilot stage. The funder calls you - if only you'd talked to them sooner - you just missed a deadline for a new programme which would have been ideal. Read more at Funding Central:


Funders and support agencies use concepts and terms from the language of planning, project management and performance improvement in different ways. This lack of agreed definitions has led to widespread confusion about what particular terms mean and how to use them most appropriately Jargonbusters aims to help UK funders, the Charity Commission and voluntary and community organisations to be more consistent in the way they use technical terms in voluntary sector management and commissioning. We also aim to increase awareness of the ideas behind these technical terms. This will help organisations to understand, plan, review and develop their projects in a systematic way and become more effective. It will help funders understand the work of the projects and organisations they want to fund more thoroughly and sympathetically. Visit the website at:

 Dipping into restricted funds

Tempted to raid your restricted funding to cover budget shortfalls? It's possible, says insolvency practitioner Stephen Goderski, but only if you follow certain steps. The economic downturn has put a real strain on many charities' finances and the outlook for 2012 does not give much cause for optimism. For some smaller and niche charitable organisations the drop in funding and rising costs can prompt the temptation to dip into their restricted funding.
Restricted funds are those provided to a charity for a specific purpose and are not necessarily intended as a bolster to keep the organisation afloat. They tend to be assignment or project-focused. They may be income funds, which are used at the discretion of the trustees in relation to a particular aspect of the charity's work, or they may be capital funds, where the assets are required to be invested, or retained for actual use. Read more at Civil Society:

Charity Commission - videos to help smaller charities to file accounts online

Evidence shows that those with incomes under £500,000 are less used to filing online, which is a requirement from this year. The Charity Commission has created video tutorials on its website that offer smaller charities step-by-step guidance to filing their annual returns online.
There are different videos explaining the process for charities in three different income brackets between £10,000 and £500,000, each of which has different reporting requirements. Those with incomes under £10,000 have to update their details annually, but do not have to submit accounts. Those with incomes above £500,000 are felt by the commission to be less in need of help. "The target audience is smaller charities because, looking at the figures, it is the smaller charities that are less likely to have done it online before," said a commission spokeswoman. The commission is moving this year to a system under which all charities required to file an annual return must do so online. In a statement, it said 86 per cent of charities filed online last year. "From 2011 onwards, all charities are being asked to submit the required information online, through the Charity Commission's website," the statement said. (From Third Sector).
You can visit the website at:

Cutswatch Launch has been set up to provide guidance and support to third sector organisations through public spending cuts. The site aims to provide up-to-date news, case studies, guides and information on how to positively deal with spending cuts, along with links to useful events and services. They want to hear how they can further support your organisation. What would you like added to Send them your suggestions Email:
Or visit the website to read more:

Other information about finance and funding can be found here