A good starting point if you are looking to purchase (or rent) new equipment is What to Buy for Business. Find it in your local (business) reference library, as you need to locate the most recent round-up of the area you are interested in.

Business Equipment Contracts: How To Avoid The Pitfalls is from NCVO, (1996, ISBN 0 7199 1509 0, £5-00) in association with the Photocopier and Business Equipment Users Association. See Publishers page re NCVO. A guide to buying and leasing photocopiers and fax equipment with an explanation of finance contracts.

For equipment generally, remember that it’s not just the initial purchase price that matters – running costs and therefore ‘total cost of ownership’ (TCO) can vary a lot.

You may find the ‘computer replacement strategy‘ (in Word format), drafted by Paul Ticher in connection with a UKRiders discussion, of interest.

There is a Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, for those who are professionals in this area.

See Misc Services page for travel, admin services and more.

General Supplies and Deals

Sector Sources

  • Charities Buying Group is a bulk purchasing arrangement set up by disabled support charity Leonard Cheshire. While big names are signed up, they also welcome small to medium charities. Can provide savings on general areas such as stationery, office equipment and utilities, but also more specialist (mainly care) stuff. Phone 020 7802 8280.
  • InKindDirect Redistributing goods from manufacturers and retailers. Goods range from cleaning products and toiletries, to clothing, toys and nursery items. Refurbished laptops, desktops and photocopiers are also supplied. Register to be able to browse an online catalogue – there is a handling charge for using the service, generally 10-20% of the retail value of the goods, and includes delivery costs. Phone 020 7398 5510,r email:
  • NCVO have negotiated various discounts for their members and also some which extend to non-members.
  • Other sector bodies have arranged some supplier discounts for members.

General Sources

  • Viking Direct Office supplies website is worth registering on, if only to make price comparisons with the above. Useful to get the full printed catalogue, then you can look up a current price on just about any office item. Euroffice is a web-based rival, with simple and cheap pricing.
  • Ethical Stationery is a social enterprise that aims to provide a complete range of ecologically responsible office supplies and services. They claim transparent pricing – “No gimmicks, no expensive catalogues, no price hikes”.

Specific items


Including printers, network kit etc. Also see Services – Computer, as many of those listed will supply hardware too. Also look under Environmental Impact page for more IT recycling firms.

  • Charity Digital Exchange, previously tt-exchange/Charity Technology Exchange. Eligible charities can obtain donated software from various tech companies such as Microsoft, and networking equipment from Cisco. A small administration fee is payable, but charities still make savings of over 90% on normal list price.
  • Computers for Charities is also worth checking (it is a registered charity).
  • IT for Charities has a further list of suppliers of recycled machines and discounted supplies.

Delivery services

  • DHL We understand they have a reduced tariff for registered charities for those regularly using international express. This can save over 60 per cent on both inbound and outbound international document and parcel express, as well as a significant discount on international mail. We couldn’t find info on the website, so we suggest contacting your local DHL office.

Display stands, Exhibitions

  • PEP Ltd Hire of stands, as well as affordable but practical display systems and stands. Will demonstrate. Phone 0800 652 6565, email:
  • Alpha Communications Design, installation etc. Third sector specialists (they’re a coop). Phone 0191 375 0101, email:
  • Marler Haley is a large format print company which provides portable exhibition displays such as banner stands, PVC outdoor banners, tablecloths and much more besides to a large number of charities, big and small.


  • 3Space “is a charity which works in partnership with landlords and leaseholders to offer organisations that benefit the community temporary free of charge access to otherwise empty properties”.
  • Ethical Property Company continues to develop of office centres around the country specifically for voluntary organisations or social enterprises.
  • CAN Mezzanine in London and Bristol is run by a social enterprise to provide affordable, high-quality office space for charities, voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises.
  • VSC (Voluntary Sector Centres) has some Charity Centres letting out office space below market rates.

There are a number of other social enterprise initiatives around the country – keep your ears to the ground, as buildings tend to fill quickly.

Recycled Supplies

  • Green Stationery Company Studio One, 114 Walcot St, Bath, BA1 5BG, phone 01225 480556, email:
  • PaperBack ‘the name in recycled paper’. Phone 020 8980 5580.

Recycling your equipment

If you are upgrading IT systems, making old computers redundant, renewing furniture etc. check out Resource Extra – Environmental Impact.


See Accounts Software or Membership Software pages for suppliers in those specialist areas, and also the Technology Services listing page.

There are various charity discounts available for Microsoft and other products. The different options can be quite confusing and even those resellers with a particular sector focus can be unclear at times on criteria for the discounts.

  • The following four suppliers are part of a discount scheme for NCVO member organisations where some of the restrictions around licence volumes etc may be waived. They are also a good place for non-members to start, too, for Microsoft or other software.
    Akhter Computers# Phone 01279 821202, email:
    Entec Phone 01462 499599, email:
    Phoenix Software Ltd Blenheim House, York Road, Pocklington, York, YO42 1NS, phone 0845 265 1265, email:
    Pugh Computers Denver House, Llanon, Aberystwyth, SY23 5LP, phone 01974 200201, email:
  • WCVA members (Welsh equivalent of NCVO) and SCVO members (Scotland) should contact Pugh Computers re above discounts.
  • Microsoft had a UK software donation programme, now replaced by TT Exchange (previously Charity Technology Exchange) – see under Computers above.

Telecoms/Communication Centres

  • The Phone Co-op ‘was founded because it identified a need for organisations in the Third Sector or Social Economy to have access to affordable telecommunications’. They did have a Third Sector Tariff available to charities, non-profits, co-ops, public sector, but its disappeared from the website (Jan ’06). Phone 0870 458 2000, email:
  • The Ofcom PASS (Price Assurance Standard) is meant to help provide clear price comparisons (residential lines).
  • CLASS Systems have special deals negotiated on behalf of NCVO, including a tariff open to non-members. Phone 0800 018 6992.

Phone Conferencing info is on the Admin page. Communication/call centres – Media Services.


Utility Aid provides Utility deals through Charities Buying Group (see top section), and direct.

Charities are exempt from the climate change levy if business use is less than 40% of the total. Check to see if this applies to your organisation, and get billed correctly. There is also an issue around the rate of VAT on energy supplies where non-business use (e.g. services funded by grant, donations rather than by contract) should be eligible for the VAT rate charged on domestic bills (5%).

Membership, Mailing and Response Services


Note: Pretty sure this is out of date info, as are many of the listings below …  bulk mailings (4,000 or more) can get discounts under Royal Mail’s Mailsort service if they are pre-sorted – mailing houses may keep quiet about this and keep the discount for themselves! Sometimes it can be worthwhile to set up your own Mailsort account – try 0345 950950 for your nearest Sales Centre.

Membership/Mailing list management

  • Membership Plus are ‘membership marketing communications specialists’. Membership cards, renewals, fulfilment, mailing, consultancy, creative services. Phone 01227 741066, email:
  • Lavenham Press Design and Print, mailing as well as membership management. TLG, Arbons House, Water St, Lavenham, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 9RN, phone 01787 249199.
  • Kingston Smith Have an ‘Association Management’ outsourcing division which does database and membership management. While it appears to be focused on trade associations, the firm also has more general ‘not-for-profit’ expertise, so worth a try. Phone 020 7304 4646, or the trade association contact Michael Trenchard on 01727 832261, email:
  • Electoral Reform Society (under Other services) also do subscription renewals, database management, membership surveys, appeals management, mailing services etc.

Mainly Mailings and Marketing

There are a large number of ‘Mailing Houses’ who will take a mailing list and process it in various ways. Our list of those with voluntary sector experience needs refreshing.

Slightly different but worth noting, is L-Mail, where you can send send letters to any postal address via the Internet.

For email newsletter management and the like, see Internet and Web Services.

Response handling

Coping with response to appeals or the promotion of a special event or membership drive can really strain the resources of many groups. Often part of one of the above services, and is noted where known, but some of the banks will also provide the service (whether postal or phone, possibly even internet), checking cheques or other payment and passing on or processing information received with it. The Co-op Bank is one such.

  • Two-Ten Communications, phone 01937 840210.
  • Tokenhelp.

Other membership services

Elections, ballots. Civica Elections Services (was Electoral Reform Services) Ballot services for unions and other membership organisations. Free seminars too. 33 Clarendon Road, London, N8 0NW, phone 020 8365 8909, email:

Ballot boxes. Try Shaw’s election supplies.

Environmental and Social Impact

Reuse, energy use, sustainable development

If you are concerned about means as well as ends in achieving your objectives, you can get heavily bogged down in ‘minor’ issues. In our view, you need to be pragmatic – there is no way at present that you can have no negative impact as an organisation (there always will be some waste and imperfections) but you can try to minimize these while still being effective in your chosen cause.

General environmental links

Voluntary sector web resources on this have come and gone over the years, and this page needs a revamp. Meanwhile, a link or two:

  • WRAP, a government supported waste reduction body, can help with advice.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

The watch words in terms of resource consumption. It is better to reduce demand (eliminate need for a new fax machine) than re-use (e.g. pass on old fax equipment), which is better than recycling it for scrap.

There are various Community Recycling Networks around the country, use them to find local recycling schemes for all sorts of materials. The national website at appears to have gone – Circular Communities Scotland, London are a couple of alternatives.

WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) has info on collecting, selling and buying recycled materials.

In Ireland, if you have waste materials try Wastechange, the commercial waste exchange.

Disposing of ICT

If you are upgrading old equipment, check out the following. Note that most put restrictions on what they will take – minimum quantities or specification. If you are looking to buy ‘pre-used’ kit, look at the Suppliers page.

The following list was compiled quite a while ago, and details may have changed, projects closed etc. You may be better off checking out specific directories which have been created, for example Community Recycling Network – see above.

  • 3tc is based in Merseyside. Not sure if they still recycle computer equipment for the use in communities and charities in the region.
  • ComputerAid International Recycles old stuff to developing countries. Phone 020 7281 0091.
  • Lincolnshire Contact Neil King, North East Lincolnshire Community Business Resource Centre, Margaret Street, Immingham, DN40 1LE, phone 01469 572313, email
  • Recycle-IT Manchester.
  • Redundant Technology Initiative is an arts group based in Sheffield. It exhibits trash technology art around the UK and across Europe, and campaigns to advocate low cost access to information technology. ‘RTI is still hungry for obsolete machines and runs an ongoing campaign that asks businesses and individuals to donate computers that they no longer use.’ Phone 0114 2495522, email:
  • Track 2000 runs Reuse IT, collecting redundant computer equipment from organisations free, Cardiff area. Service, repair and safety check are done by disabled people or unemployed youth/adults on training courses run by the charity. The serviced equipment goes to schools, community/voluntary groups and small start up businesses for a donation. Track 2000 Community Resource Centre, Resource House, Penarth House, Penarth Road, Cardiff, CF1 7YS, phone 029 2033 2533, email:

Printer cartridges

  • There are now quite a number of recycling facilities for old toner cartridges and the like – Dudley Stationery for instance will pick up from their customers. Most give a small charity donation per item.
  • Office Green seems to have the most comprehensive charity arrangements and wide collection, including of old office equipment, phone 0800 833480.

Recycled Supplies

See general Suppliers page.

Energy issues

Try Energy Savings Trust.

Issues in Social and Ethical Impact

Also Monitoring page re Social Impact.

Social Auditing in voluntary organisations is the title of one-day training sessions run by New Economics Foundation. Phone 020 7407 7447. There is also a book with a similar title – not sure whether this is the same as Charitable Trust? – Social Auditing with Voluntary Organisations published with ACEVO, in 2000.

Community Business Scotland Network has run a social audit programme that develops the practice of social accounting and audit with clusters of community organisations in Scotland. There is a separate web site for Social Audit Network, where you can find social audit information sheets, reports and more details on their Social Accounting and Audit: Manual, Workbook and CD.

AccountAbility is a non-profit, membership organisation established to promote accountability innovations that advance responsible business practices, and the broader accountability of civil society and public organizations.

Sustainable Development

Aimed more at commercial companies but may be of wider interest, Sustainable Development in Action, from Association for Management Education and Development (AMED), a 50 page booklet published Dec 99 (£16 non-members). (NB may no longer be available, March ’07)

SustainAbility The consultancy run by John Elkington has various reports available.

See also Areas of Concern page: Ethical investment and Sustainable business for other websites covering this issue, mainly from a commercial perspective.

Membership System Suppliers

Customer, and Client/Service User, Relationship Management systems, including web based.

Can be called CRM (customer/client relationship management) – CRM systems in general may now have sufficient capabilities, so we may include ones which are in active sector use. Also see Membership software intro page.

Noted Suppliers

This selection is not definitive, but generally we have seen their products in action or heard good reports. They should still be checked out properly by you.

  • Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge for Windows Concentrates on fundraising. Now also own AppealMaster (produced by ngc4it) which is widely used in small to medium size organisations for fundraising, alumni management, membership and general contact management; can be accessed over the internet or standard telephone lines, works alongside Microsoft Office (it is based on Access). The European company is wholly owned by Blackbaud Inc, of the US. Single user version £5,000 (Dec 00). Phone 0141 575 0100, email:
  • civiCRM is a web-based, open source, Constituent Relationship Management system which builds on open source software, namely Drupal, Joomla or WordPress. There are various UK suppliers.
  • Computercraft FirstPoint More of a contact manager, but Computercraft have been developing databases for the voluntary sector for 20 years, and RNID use it for their call centre. Off-the-shelf extensions cover Grant Management, Course Bookings and Subscriptions Management, amongst other tasks. Intelligent Solutions were favouring this over Accounting Answers (qv) when last we talked, bringing their expertise on working with smaller Sage clients. Phone 020 7284 6980, email:
  • contactLINK from ITsorted, a “low cost database designed and priced specifically for voluntary organisations”, launched 2006. The people behind it have extensive experience in the charity sector. Advanced version can handle events and membership. (Based on MS Access.)
  • iFinity (was Fisher Technology) Supply the iMIS range of products (and integrate it with Sage, Access acs, Sun etc), over 2750 systems installed, Windows and Mac, starting at £1225 per product. Plus VCGenius content managed web site integrates with a wide variety of membership systems including iMIS.
  • iMIS cloud is developed by Advanced Solutions International
  • Westwood Forster Visual Alms. Definitely the high end of the market, over 200 systems installed. Having started as purely for fundraisers, now handles grant-giving, membership, alumni management. Phone 020 7251 4890, email:
  • KISS Contacts Based on MS Access, up to version 1.5 when we reviewed (Dec 00). Simple to use and cheap. Restrictions to selection and reporting are the flipside of this, but will be more than adequate for many small to medium organisations. Version 2.9 (at spring 2006) has extended the reporting, added Gift Aid, Direct Debits and Standing Orders as well as facilities to print badges and send emails. £100 plus VAT. Email:


This section was created when web features in membership systems were rare. Internet functionality is now pretty standard in most systems listed on this page.

Specialist Database Systems

Systems for contact, client or service user management (previously on a separate VolResource page).

  • CharityLog, although described as a web-based Contact Management system, revolves around a diary screen allowing the management of client related work e.g. booking a home visit, recording result, ensuring follow up, referral or other action. Will produce a variety of reports, for internal or funder use.
  • LampLight records service users, the work done with them, and produces detailed monitoring statistics, with Version 2 (March ’06) dealing with outcomes as well as outputs. Functions for second tier organisations have been added. Costs £10 per month.

Other sector CRM systems

Advanced Was Iris NFP, which itself took over/merged with a large number of software companies in this area. Check their Not for Profit pages – membership and charity management, fundraising software.

Previously the company or predecessors offerings included: CARE First membership system was installed in 1987, for large users such as RSPCA, RSPB, Save the Children; Charisma Clients included RNLI, Nat Housing Federation, Dogs Trust; Consensus focused around training course, membership administration and event management, with web-based .NET CRM application; Integra software, as well as membership, had events, examination and case management options; Profile Concept – a particular niche in learned societies and professional bodies, but not limited to this, and specialise in membership systems.

3Si is now part of Eudonet, CRM solutions for associations, federations, institutes etc.

APT Solutions Stratum Contact Administration Designed for associations, charities, clubs, institutions, trades unions; runs on Windows NT or UNIX. Facilities include Contact Management, Subscription processing, Covenants, Legacies, Campaign Management, Conferences & Events, Examinations, CPD, Help Desk, Merchandising, Directory Publishing. Managing over 8 million contact records (at spring 07). Phone 01952 214000, email:

Care Management Systems, a division of CMAC Computer Systems, produce DonorFlex, which is mainly a fundraising tool. Phone 0121 458 7887, email:

Data Developments ‘for church and charities’. Membership Co-ordinator.

Dataware Consultancy Centre Subscriber.NET (developed in MS.NET technologies) includes member/contact management, events, fundraising and gift aid, volunteer management, BACS processing. Linked to MS Office. Phone 01375 489820.

Icaris (previously JA Computer Solutions). CRM/fundraising software is part of its offerings for the not-for-profit sector – others include helpline and grant management software.

Miller TechnologyMerlin CRM “a fully integrated Membership and CRM software solution for trade unions, associations, professional bodies and charities built upon SodalitaS CRM”.

Oomi “CRM for anyone anywhere” – integrated Engagement Management System for the NFP sector, combining CRM, Website, Collaboration, Engagement & Social Media. (Previously as Centrepoint Computer Services, provided a Membership Management System as part of the Target range, with events and publications management modules too.) Phone 020 8390 8899.

Pangaea Consuling supplies systems based round Aptify – membership, events, susbcriptions, fundraising etc.

PowerDev Circle, a membership system for the smaller organisation, no longer features on their website, but they do have sector customers for their bespoke database consultancy and development services.

ProTech Computer Systems Pro-7 ‘Designed in conjunction with some of the UKs largest membership associations to handle diverse information management requirements, including membership, contacts, fundraising, marketing, events management.’ Phone 01922 722280, email:

Rubicon Accelerator. Phone 01276 706900, email:

Senior Internet Ltd supplies RiverCRM, a CRM specially developed for membership, NFP and charitable organisations, as well as e-vol for the voluntary sector. They also provide membership websites through their CMS, River, as well as CPD.

SilverBear Membership (was Decisions Express) “dramatically and extensively enhanced Microsoft Dynamics 365 and DNN Platform web self-service portal”.

ThankQ Clients include Comic Relief, Concern Worldwide (Ireland). Has a Small Charity Edition? Phone 01509 235544.

TSG Tribe 365 CRM for membership organisations.

VeryConnect includes non-profit management, stakeholder engagement, and giving back. UK based team, starts from £150 a month.

White Fuse Fundraising and membership CRM software.

Workbook In use by a variety of charities etc.

Information Management

Knowledge management, along with open data/data sharing, is on a separate page.

Data Protection

The main thrust of Data Protection is protecting against abuse of data held on individuals. If you hold info purely with reference to their position in an organisation it doesn’t count as personal data, and there are specific exemptions around membership of voluntary organisations, keeping accounts and marketing own goods and services. Bu if you record anything more than name and address and the minimum data needed to carry out the basic business activity of, for exmaple sending a book order, or use this info to do a follow up mailing for instance, then it comes within the legislation. The rules have to be followed, whether your organisation has registered (now known as Notification) with the Information Commissioner’s Office or not.

From March 2000, the 1998 Data Protection Act extended the provisions of the original legislation, to include manual filing systems where personal information is readily accessible, and gives ‘data subjects’ the right to withdraw consent on various things, including direct marketing. There were transitional arrangement which ended October 2001, for personal data from before 24th October 1998.

Data collection has to be fair. This now means that the individual must know who is doing the collecting, and the purposes for which the data are intended to be used. Data shouldn’t be kept for longer than necessary, must be kept secure, and should be adequate, relevant and accurate (which includes up-to-date where appropriate). There are extra restrictions around export of data outside the EC (+ Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein) and sensitive data, which would include political opinions for instance. Your organisation should have someone who has clear responsibility for ensuring Data Protection issues are acted upon.

Registration currently costs £35, annually renewable, and you can register for as many purposes, data types and sources as you need for that amount. The Information Commission is also responsible for the Freedom of Information law – see their web site for data implications and more details on Data Protection, or phone 01625 545700. Or check out the training available from Directory of Social Change in particular, who also publish Data Protection for voluntary organisations handbook (second edition).

Staff handbooks/office manuals/systems and procedures

It is good practice, and often very revealing, to produce an ‘internal systems manual’. Where there is a specialist finance worker (or volunteer), finance procedures are usually written up separately, but otherwise they could be incorporated in the overall one. We have some samples of various such documents, and also put together a Checklist of Policies and Procedures which would typically be included in an office manual. You shouldn’t just reproduce these – all organisations are different, and you will have arranged responsibilities or split activities differently. But not starting with a blank sheet is a great help.

On VolResource: sample financial procedures. Also some personnel management forms – see Checklist or People Management page for references.

Another item of great value is an organisational chart. This is often just of the staffing structure, but in a voluntary organisation a picture of the committee structure is often essential to understand how decisions are made and where responsibility lies. In a complex or large body, these may need to be separate charts, but cross-references should be made. See DSC Information Management book below for a helpful information flow charting approach.


Buildings, office and communication management, admin resources etc.

General administrative matters not featured elsewhere on VolResource.

Health and Safety has a separate page.

Communications admin

Telecoms advice TelecomsAdvice is an independent website for small businesses who need to know about using telecoms and the Internet.

Handling phone volume surges While there are quite a lot of call centre services around, not all will understand enough about the sector to provide appropriate handling of awareness campaigns, good or bad publicity surges and the like. Those involved with fundraising or membership processing may be well placed – see Membership services. Otherwise try BSS, a registered charity which runs BSS Linklines (phone 0161 455 1206).

BT’s online Phone Book (aka Directory Enquiries). If you have name and area, and perhaps part of the address, try this facility.

Telephone & Fax Preference Services Online look-up Data Protection regulations now make it illegal to carry out direct marketing via phone calls (or fax) to individuals who have opted-out. There is a corporate TPS where organisations can register to avoid getting cold calls. Those undertaking direct marketing must check against these lists – more details.

Postcodes and address validation To find a postcode for an address, or look up a postcode, see the Royal Mail.

Postage Rates There is a Calculator on the Royal Mail site, as well as straight Postal Prices info.

Other online address or phone number databases. There are various online business search sites. They keep on changing, so do a Google to find!

Telephone Conferencing

Community Network used to provide this service for charities and other not-for-profit agencies, but as the website forwards to The Phone Coop (at April 2014) we presume it has closed.

BT Conferencing has various options, including Conference Call Presence, which puts conference phone calls alongside web meeting facilities (for up to 20), so you can share documents, ‘whiteboard’, presentations etc as you talk (you will need to have internet access separate from your voice phone line). No set-up costs, but 50p per participant per minute. Phone 0800 800 778.

There are certainly other such services, and voice over internet (VOIP) services such as Skype (mainly free, but more sophisticated services cost) provide a cost-effective approach, particularly for international calls.

Building management

A greatly neglected area but a well-managed building (whether an office, community centre or whatever) can make a lot of difference in the motivation of staff and how efficiently the organisation runs. On the downside, problems can create a lot of friction and be very time-consuming to resolve.

Community Matters has closed (was the place to go on all things community building).

Rural community/village halls – see ACRE’s Village Halls information service. In Scotland, check SCVO services, as they did have a village halls network.

Food Hygiene: Food Standards Agency’s ‘Community and charity food provision: guidance on the application of EU food hygiene law‘ current link appears to have gone at April 2018, so this is to a 2015 draft! Particularly targeted at community halls.

The Carbon Trust provides energy saving services. Also see the self-survey pack Energy Efficiency in Community Buildings, which advises on what measures and improvements could be made, depending on how the building is used and how often, and provides pointers to further support and advice. Was available from National Energy Action publications page.

The Ethical Property Foundation has set up an advice web site, covering key property issues around looking for an office, moving in or out, and managing your office which gives more detail on some of the issues below. Further advice, particularly for London-based groups, is available.

Also see: Charities Facilities Management Special Interest Group of Upkeep, listed on Functional Support page; Premises section of suppliers page.

Some areas to check out


See the Insurances info page.


National Non-Domestic Rates are applicable in England and Wales on all non-residential properties. Apply for mandatory charity 80% relief as soon as you receive an assessment, if not before, and see whether you can apply for the remaining discretionary 20%. Voluntary organisations which aren’t registered charities will have to check out the local council’s policy on extending this to them. Revaluations generally every 5 years – 2005, 2010. Check the Business Premises section of Gov.Uk (or search for Valuation Office Agency) – if you know your charging (local) authority and postcode you can get the current Rateable Value here. (Their explanation of the system includes the multiplier to use when calculating actual rates.) DCLG is the responsible government department.


If you are going to install an alarm, how many people do you need to act as keyholders for call-outs? Can they actually get there out-of-hours (safely)? The less people operating the system, the fewer false alarms you are likely to get – police cover is usually removed if there are too many of these in a given period (at time of writing, 7 in a year in Met Police area, or 4 if cover has previously been withdrawn.) In urban areas, you can probably pay for a ‘keyholding’ service, which will answer call-outs and re-set the system for you, but make sure you are clear what each call-out costs.

Trading company

Charities often set up trading companies to carry out ‘non-charitable’ aspects of their work, whether its selling merchandise or commercial sponsorship deals. Smaller organisations won’t have separate staff, and ‘just’ apportion costs appropriately. Where the parent is a registered charity, care should be taken over charging a trading subsidiary a proper market rent, as subsidy is not allowed under charity law. (Source advice from Russell Cooke Solicitors charity team.)

TV licence

Businesses (which includes most voluntary organisations) need a licence to cover each premises they occupy. As well as television sets, dont forget this includes video recorders and TV enabled PCs. Multiple premises can be listed on one licence by arrangement. Concessionary rates for ‘Accommodation for Residential Care’, phone 0870 240 1291 for info or see web site. TV Licensing, Bristol, BS98 1TL.


Disabled access to services has implications for premises. From 1st October 2004 service providers have to take reasonable steps to alter premises or other physical features that make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to use a service. If you manage premises intended for public use, an access audit would be in order – identifying what the problems are, how to eliminate them, budget costs and a prioritised action plan to use for fundraising. See Equal Ops section on VolResource for more links on disability issues (in service provision and employment).

The Centre for Accessible Environments has some information available online and may be able to provide cheap or even free advice to community groups.

Admin Resources

Don’t forget that specific areas of admin (such as charity registration) are dealt with on other VolResource pages.

ICSA (Institute for Chartered Secretaries and Administrators) Charity Secretaries Group may have closed, – for chartered secretaries and others taking on a company secretarial role in voluntary organisations. Contact ICSA, 16 Park Crescent, London, W1N 4AH, phone 020 7612 7040.

TSO Online Bookshop (was The Stationery Office) is the key source for all statutory publications, and a wide range of official and business publications.

Handbooks and Manuals

There are a number of publishers of manuals on such things as Health and Safety, Company Administration, Payroll, and the like – Tolleys, Jordans and Croners are listed on the Publishers page as they also do some specific to the voluntary sector.

Another publisher in the field is/was Gee, now part of Wolters Kluwer (along with Croners).