Advice and Information Services
We offer a free service to voluntary organisations and community groups in the form of advice and information services and development work which can cover all sorts of issues. Below is some further detail on the sorts of queries that our members approach us about. If your group is in need of advice or information please Contact Us.
Helping people to find the funding they require to sustain and grow their organisation is one of our busiest areas of work, and we have a huge amount of experience of identifying potential funders and making effective funding applications. You can book a one-to-one advice session with either of our development workers to talk through your funding needs. This would include a funding search using an online funding database as well as our own file on local funders. Alternatively groups can send full details of their funding requirements by email or by telephone and one of our development workers will look into possible funders and respond with information. If you are seeking funding, you might also be interested in Funding Advice.
One of the most important things for any organisation has to do is manage its money effectively. We can offer advice about financial recording and reporting, budgeting and cash-flow projections, accounting systems, dealing with cash, and getting the best value for your money and reducing costs. You might also be interested in our Organisational Financial Health Check.
Governance of charities, companies and unincorporated groups can be complicated, and it is important to get things right. We have a wealth of practical experience of working with all kinds of organisations and can help with a variety of topics including deciding what kind of legal structure you should have; applying for charity and company status; managing membership; roles and responsibilities of charity trustees and company directors, managing AGMs and EGMs and complying with charity and company law.
Monitoring and evaluation
How do you know you’re being successful? How do you gain information to help you improve your services? How do your demonstrate to funders and clients that you are having an impact? Monitoring and evaluation of what you do is becoming increasingly important. We can offer lots of ideas for gaining the data and information you need, and presenting this in a way that shows how good your services are.
Business and forward planning
They say that ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’. In difficult times, having a clear sense of what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it is vital. We can advise about the best way to identify your aims and objectives, how to set targets in your plan, how to draw up a budget for your plan, and how to monitor and evaluate what you are achieving. You might also be interested in our Away Day and Forward Planning Session.
Developing your ideas
Do you have an idea for a new project or organisation? Have you identified an unmet need in the community? Do you want to make changes in your organisation? We are always happy to talk to people about their ideas and help them to take them forward, so please come in for a chat.
All organisations, large and small are exposed to risks. How do you identify, manage and monitor those risks? We can provide practical advice that will help you to deal with risk management in your organisation.
Staff and volunteer management
Organisations are all about people. We have considerable experience dealing with a wide range of issues relating to managing people, and we can advise about recruiting and retaining staff and volunteers, giving them effective supervision and appraisal, training and development, dealing effectively with any problems that arise, and ensuring that you have a motivated and effective workforce.
Good policy and good practice
Having good policy and practice in your organisation is important, both. Topics such as health and safety, equality and diversity, employment, data protection and safeguarding all need to be addressed in your organisation. We can advise you about what you need to put in place, and help you find policies and procedures that suits the needs of your organisation and your clients. You might also be interested in an Organisational Review.
We have produced a number of fact-sheets to help you with common questions that arise for voluntary and community groups. These are meant as a guide only. You are always welcome to contact us to ask advice on a particular subject. Fact-sheets available to download as a PDF from our Resources Section.
Sometimes we receive a query from a client that needs more specialist advice than we are able to offer. If this is the case, we will always do our best to signpost you to the expert help you need.