Original ‘plain’ VolResource website retired

With an increasing number of links on the original VolResource website no longer working or directing to dodgy sites, it’s time to switch it off. Apologies to those with poor internet connections or struggling computers/phones, as pages on the current site will take a little longer to load.

Material from that site was transferred across to here back in 2013. See the About page for more background.

Your bookmarks or other links to the old site should redirect here – please use the menus, search or other navigation devices to find what you need. Again, see About page for more guidance.

A Guide to Digital User Experience for Charity Recruitment

How to revolutionise your online recruitment process and attract the best candidates

A new step by step guide titled ‘A Guide to Digital User Experience for Charity Recruitment – How to revolutionise your online recruitment process and attract the best candidates’ has been launched by Workfuly.  Creating a great online recruitment process is crucial to attracting talent, but knowing where to start and how to create the best experiences for candidates can be a challenge.

The guide is jargon free and easy to follow. It begins by explaining what ‘digital user experience’ is and how charities large and small can apply proven techniques to create effective online recruitment pages.

There are sections ranging from what makes good design, how to test the effectiveness of website pages down to the different methods for candidates to submit job applications. It’s all written with a goal to create great recruitment pages focusing on the charity organisation, the job and the candidate.

Many charities today recognise the importance of a good online experience for attracting donations and volunteers, yet many still aren’t paying the same attention to their recruitment process.

Site/download not available at February 2020: To read or download a copy of the guide visit workfuly.co.uk/blog/digital-user-experience-for-charity-recruitment

Explaining the why, what and how of charity

A new website ‘How Charities Work‘ is in beta, set up by NCVO to provide a general background to what charities are all about, the way they operate and the ways people can be involved.

This is aimed at the general public, so no mention of trustees and their usual volunteer status in the intro but they do appear under Accountability, and also getting involved. The Charity Commission gets numerous mentions, but I’ve only spotted one mention of this site being aimed at charities in England and Wales (under ‘what is a charity‘) – the UK gets frequent mentions which could confuse. Some mention of Scottish and Northern Ireland regulators, for instance, wouldn’t go amiss.

It would be nice for the site to have an even simpler structure with less pages coming off the main headings:

  • About Charities
  • Raising and spending money
  • Accountability and transparency
  • Get involved
  • Briefings

But then the charity world isn’t simple. I’m not sure about having Briefings up at that level – “Find out more” perhaps, with a Site Map available too?

So, maybe one or two minor tweaks to go, but not bad. That’s high(ish) praise from an NCVO sceptic!

WordPress gets a charity styled design

Open source web software WordPress, as used here, has just got a new theme (design template) specifically

“for schools, non-profits, and organizations.”

Open source web software WordPress, as used here, has just got a new theme (design template) specifically

“for schools, non-profits, and organizations.”

Created by Automattic, the power behind WordPress, it has useful built-in features which could enable groups to set up a new site very quickly on wordpress.com.

For example

  • a ‘call-to-action’ button in a prominent front page position (with fairly simple way of adding other buttons elsewhere too).
  • ‘testimonials’ content type which could be used to show how charity beneficiaries have been supported or carry volunteers’ stories, for instance.

The theme is called Ixion: see blog announcement or the theme page gives a good overview of its elements (there’s also a demo).

It can be used both on blogs hosted on wordpress.com or a self-hosted site. CharityBlog is showcasing how one self-hosting implementation can look.

(For self-hosted, while Ixion is not yet in the WordPress.org theme directory it can be downloaded, for manual copying to the site, from a link bottom of the theme page’s right-hand column.)

Some notes

Featured content only shows if there an item has a featured image and the item is tagged as ‘featured’ (and you’ll need to set the right tag in the customiser too).

Features like the call-to-function appear by default in the customiser, but if nothing is entered for button text etc, they won’t appear when the theme is ‘activated’.

You can change the number of posts showing on the front page (via customiser or Dashboard Admin > Settings > Reading).

We’re guessing that Ixion largely derives from the new Twenty Seventeen theme introduced with WordPress 4.7 (officially released 6 Dec 2016), the first default theme designed for business websites. Twenty Seventeen has more options so takes more setting up, and no ‘call-to-action’ button.

Summary guide to charity trustees’ responsibilities

Contributed by Wright Hassall Solicitors

There are many reasons why you might like to become a trustee of a charity: positive support for a good cause, putting a particular skill set or experience to good use, or remaining active in the community. Whatever your motivation, you need to be aware that being a trustee is a significant legal responsibility, shared with your fellow trustees, and you must understand your obligations before volunteering. The most important document you need as a trustee is the charity’s governing document which should contain all the information you need to understand how the charity is run and what it has been set up to do. For detailed information please see our full guide on charity trustees’ responsibilities.

The post of trustee is almost always voluntary (with reimbursement of reasonable expenses) and you need enough spare time to undertake your duties properly, not least as trustees are liable for the decisions they make. You can find a more detailed guide on the responsibilities and duties of charity trustees in Charity Commission’s ‘The Essential Trustee’ – VoluntaryNews update.

Getting to grips with the charity’s governing document

Every trustee must have a copy of the charity’s governing document which details what the charity has been set up to do, its legal structure, how it should operate and how its income should be distributed.

  1. You need to understand the charity’s objects (its charitable purposes) and that it passes the public benefit test. This means that its activities must be for the public’s benefit – or a sufficient section of the public.
  2. You need to make sure that suitable trustees are appointed, for instance you cannot appoint someone disqualified under the Charities Act. Consider whether or not an individual’s experience and skill set would be a valuable addition to the governing body.
  3. Make sure you understand which legislation your charity needs to comply with, such as employment legislation.
  4. Review the governing document regularly to make sure it accurately reflects what the charity does. If it needs updating, seek legal advice.

Acting responsibly, reasonably and honestly

  1. You must always act in the best interests of the charity and not those of the individuals involved.
  2. You must ensure that the charity’s resources are being used responsibly and that it is financially well-managed.
  3. You need to understand any risks that the charity might face and have a policy in place to evaluate and mitigate those risks.
  4. You must act in good faith and with ‘reasonable care’ which will depend, to an extent, on your skills and experience.

Exercise financial prudence

  1. You need to be sure that your charity is complying with the relevant accounting requirements and is able to produce the most recent set of accounts on request.
  2. You must understand that trustees can be held liable for any financial loss caused by them acting dishonestly or irresponsibly.

In short

Being a trustee should be a rewarding experience. However, as trustees are ultimately responsible for the efficient management of the charity and its capability to deliver its objectives it is crucial that they understand exactly what that responsibility entails. The starting point for any trustee is to familiarise themselves with the governing document which sets out the charity’s legal structure, its objectives, who (or what) it is intended to help and how it meets the public benefit test. Beyond that, trustees must act in the best interests of the charity, applying common sense and good judgment.