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Charity Financials Insider

Charity Financials Insider provides free monthly insight and analysis for charity finance professionals on the latest developments, trends and events within the sector.

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Investment monitoring

Finance

Investing in testing times: advice and insights from Sarasin & Partners

Sarasin & Partners is a London-based asset manager that manages c£13 billion of assets on behalf of charities, institutions, intermediaries and private clients, from the UK and around the world...

Social investment

Finance

How social investment transformed CCP’s business model and financial sustainability

Since 1989, CCP (Caring for Communities and People) Charity has existed to improve the lives of children, young people, families and vulnerable adults who have multiple and complex needs...

News

Insight and Trends

Number of UK charities closing quadrupled after the last recession — a warning for COVID-19

More than 12,000 UK charities closed after the last recession – impact of coronavirus could result in even greater losses

Income monitor

Insight and Trends

Charity Financials Income Monitor: a consortium to provide insight to charities during COVID-19

The Charity Financials Income Monitor is a new initiative to support charities by providing insight into how the global crisis is affecting income in the sector.

Managing your work

Finance

Managing financial challenges and protecting your mental health

The current economic environment may not only be taking a toll on your charity’s finances but also on your mental health as you attempt to consider questions such as...

Risk levels

Finance

Investment advice through COVID-19: an interview

Philip Young works as an Investment Manager for Close Brothers Asset Management. Amidst coronavirus uncertainty, he spoke with Charity Financials about how Close Brothers are handling the pandemic and adapting their services and advice to support their charity clients during this time...

Finance

Cash and COVID: tips for uncertain times

“Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity, but cash is king”. A quote aimed at the commercial world, but just as relevant to non-profits…

Declining figures

Insight and Trends

Q1 2020: the quarter the world changed forever

The outbreak of the coronavirus has had a devastating impact on all of our lives. While keeping ourselves healthy is the primary concern during this period, maintaining a continuing means of income comes a very important second. Few sectors understand this more than charities, where the focus is on helping the neediest in society...

Building business strategies

Professional Services

Adapting to COVID-19: an interview with MHA MacIntrye Hudson

Amidst the unfolding global pandemic, Chris Harris, Advisory Partner at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, spoke with Charity Financials about how the firm are adapting their services to continue to provide business support to charity clients, and shares his top advice tip for charities post-pandemic...

Fraud warning

Creating fraud awareness through COVID-19

Organisations have taken swift action to comply with government guidelines over social distancing, which has led to many organisations now working remotely and establishing new ways of working...

Check list

How to be a good trustee in a period of rapid change

By the time you read this article, events in the external social and economic environment will have moved on considerably. The current pace of change means that as fast as we are thinking about how to react to a government announcement, and in the time we have implemented or even considered any actions arising, the situation has evolved again...

Sustainable investments

How social investment could help charities affected by the financial impact of COVID-19

Before the arrival of COVID-19, “impact investing” was much discussed as a new way of thinking about investment…

year-end review

10 tips to handle year end during a pandemic

As charities prepare to close the financial year and step straight into a new one, the coronavirus will be impacting their organisation and how they operate in a number of ways - effecting both staff and beneficiaries. The next few weeks and months may be chaotic as organisations get used to new ways of working...

Managing finances

Managing charity finances amidst COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic is undoubtedly creating an increasing financial crunch on charities and their advisers...

Navigating through processes

Donor benefit rules and navigating your way through them

Against the challenging backdrop of the wider economy, it is important that charities understand and take full advantage of the tax reliefs available to them…

Plan B / Adapting strategies

Adapting investment strategies in uncertain financial times

Christopher Querée is Head of Charities and Investment Director at Ruffer LLP. He has over 30 years’ investment experience, with around 10 years looking after private clients and 20 focusing on charities and endowments. In a recent interview with Charity Financials, Christopher explained the financial climate charities are facing and how they should adapt their investment strategies to suit... 

Keeping your processes compliant

Keeping on top of new financial regulatory changes in 2020

It’s crucial that charities keep up with the latest financial regulatory updates that have an impact on their audit and financial statements. However, for busy finance teams concentrating on everyday finances, it can be difficult...

The Charity Financials Leaders' Forum

A look back at the Charity Financials Leaders' Forum

Ashlynwood was one of the proud sponsors of the Charity Financials Leaders' Forum 2020 which was organised by the Charity Financials team. The event was held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel in London on 12 February 2020...

Signing an agreement

Charity insurance – public liability vs trustee indemnity?

Charity insurance can be complicated and knowing whether you have purchased the right cover to protect an organisation’s best interests isn’t always obvious...

2019 — a good year for charity investments

2019 has proven to be one of the most successful years on record for the investment returns of balanced discretionary charity funds. According to the latest quarterly report produced by Teknometry and the Charity Investor Group, the average annual return for the universe, now consisting of 1,296 charities, was 16.08%...

Reporting in organisations

Serious incident reporting – what you need to know

The Charity Commission requires prompt, full and frank disclosures when there has been a serious incident within a charity. Because of this, trustees should familiarise themselves with the guidance provided to be able to identify these incidents, report on what has happened and report on what they are doing about them – even if a report has been made to another governing body...  

Managing finance

Overcoming the external risks influencing charity finance today

Simon Hopkins, Director of Resources at Blind Veterans, spoke at the 2020 Charity Financials Leaders’ Forum. In advance of his session on the factors affecting charity finance, he spoke to us about his experience with these issues and the vital role of the Finance Director in overcoming them...

finance control

Financial controls: essential checks and procedures for charities

Effective internal financial controls are essential for trustees to meet their legal duties of safeguarding their charity’s assets and managing resources effectively...

Working together in business

How to run a charity like a business

In advance of the Charity Financials Leaders' Forum, Colin Kerr, Finance Director at The Children's Trust, spoke to us about the challenges faced by today’s FD in reaching the goal of running a charity like a business...

Charity reporting

Safeguarding: a continuous system of review, action and improvement

The Charity Commission recommends that “safeguarding should be a key governance priority for all charities” and that safeguarding policies, procedures and culture should be reviewed at least once a year...  

Income trend increase

Charity income grew by £4.3bn in 2018

The 2019 Charity Financials Income Spotlight report, in partnership with Charles Stanley, explores the income trends faced by all charities registered in England and Wales between 2008 and 2018...

Managing business processes

How trustees can better manage charity finance

Trustees’ Week is an annual event that showcases the work trustees are responsible for and any highlights any opportunities to get involved and make a difference...

An analysis of investment performance

An analysis of UK charity investment performance

In 2017, Teknometry, in conjunction with the Charity Investors Group established the Teknometry CIG Charity Fund Universe, to provide a representative peer group for the analysis of UK charity investment performance...

Fighting against fraud

How can charities fight against fraud?

In 2017 the Annual Fraud Indicator estimated that charity fraud costs the sector £2.3 billion a year. A figure that has now risen to £2.5 billion in the 2019 report...

6 steps to prepare for your next financial audit

Audits can be a stressful time for any organisation. Even if your records are completely blemish-free, the experience can still be taxing. This is heightened if you’re a charitable non-profit and your future funding depends on it...

Strategies for fraud prevention

Don’t leave your fraud response in a drawer

It’s Charity Fraud Awareness Week between 21st-25th October. This annual event aims to raise awareness on fraud in charities and demonstrate the ways to combat it...

Financial sustainability

Charities: key strategies for financial sustainability

At times of political or economic instability, it’s imperative for charities to be financially sustainable in the long term. However, weathering storms isn’t always that simple, something that the Charities Aid Foundation understand...

How resilient is your charity?

Trustees: how resilient is your charity?

To deliver their key duties, trustees must continuously consider the long-term resilience of their charity, by identifying any critical issues around financial resilience and solvency, as well as the resilience of its purpose, plans and governance...

Keeping data secure

The importance of donor data (and how to keep it secure)

Regular analysis of your charity’s donor data is invaluable. The collection and maintenance of it is something that needs to be carefully considered by members of every charity’s management team...

Conflicting parties

Managing conflicts of interest—what do trustees need to do?

Often seen as a ‘tick-box’ exercise, trustees should remind themselves of the importance of declaring and managing conflicts of interests, not only to maintain public trust, but to ensure compliance with the legal responsibility to act only in the best interests of the charity...

Managing risks

How can charities assure their risks are properly managed?

All charity boards need confirmation that their key risks are constantly being identified and managed, but how can they be assured that these risks are managed properly and effectively?

Investing for good

Investing for the greater good

Many charity and pension trustees, and some individual investors, are asking if they can use their investment portfolios to make the world a better place. The answer to this is yes, however in today’s complex interconnected world must be made by the investor...

Digital software

How digital accounting software can help charities improve financial transparency

A recent report from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) highlighted how public trust in charities is in decline. Topical news of the misconduct of some well-known charities has fueled concerns...

Stewarding

Good and bad practice in the stewardship of long-term endowments

As an increasing number of UK charities seek to invest more responsibly and address environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues through their endowment portfolios, it seems right to ask if they are getting what they want from the asset management industry...

Managing a steady income course

Managing your income: how to navigate a smooth and steady course

A surge in equity markets since early January means portfolios have performed strongly in the first half of 2019. However, at Sarasin we believe that it is best to prepare for stormy conditions when the waters are calm, and that it is much easier to ensure one’s vessel is truly watertight when the sun is shining and time is on your side...

Tracking the social investment market

How the social investment market is maturing

The UK has one of the world’s fastest growing social investment markets. Figures from Big Society Capital show that by the end of 2017 the UK social investment market was worth over £2.3 billion, spread across approximately 4,000 transactions...  

Digital fundraising

The impact of digital on face-to-face fundraising

The 2019 Top 100 Fundraisers Spotlight report highlights that income growth to UK charities has been on a downward trajectory since 2014/15 and raises concern that this might continue into the next period...

Reviewing case for support document

A Case for Support: 6 steps to increase your charity’s income

Data published in the 2019 Charity Financials Income Spotlight report exemplifies how the income growth of 157,995 UK charities has slowed in recent years, spiking at 9.6% growth in 2014, before reducing to just 4.4% growth in 2017 and 5.8% in 2018...

Charity management and shared responsibility

Fundraising – what is the trustee responsible for?

Whether charity trustees manage fundraising themselves or delegate it to others, they remain legally responsible and accountable and must ensure diligent oversight of all activity...

Providing charity support

Why support is key to helping charities maximise their investment returns

In January 2019, a report from the National Voluntary Council Organisation (NCVO) warned that charities should expect a difficult financial year and that a combination of factors, including ongoing Brexit negotiations, tight government budgets and a slow economy would continue to add pressure on beneficiaries and front-line services…

Making a deal / Shaking hands

43% of charities have not changed auditor in the last 10 years

The latest Charity Financials Audit Spotlight report uncovers the landscape of auditors used by the top 5,000 UK charities between 2017 and 2018. It also analyses the current fees by income band and highlights the top auditors used by charities today…

What questions should we be asking?

What questions should trustees ask about finance?

As a trustee, your role involves keeping on top of the legal and regulatory sides of an organisation, just as much as the financial. While finance is my day job, and one that I truly love, I know that for most trustees the thought of poring over accounts is not what draws them to the role. But what does it take to become a good trustee?

2019 trends

5 fundraising trends for 2019 and beyond

In the last few years, fundraisers have had to fight against the unknown impact of Brexit, increased media scrutiny, a reduction in government funding and much harder competition…

Making business decisions amidst uncertainty

New world disorder?

‘There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”’ – David Foster Wallace, This Is Water, 2005

VAT inspection

VAT made simple for charities

Most businesses charge VAT on all of their sales and recover VAT on just about all purchases. However, charities are different and face complicated scenarios when it comes to VAT, with only some of their income taxable. This means that only part of the VAT they incur is recoverable...

Reporting / Reports

Overcoming the top 5 challenges in preparing your annual report

Preparing charity accounts and an annual report are requirements for most registered charities and the reporting requirements are much more detailed than those of equivalent sized companies...

Maintaining charity relationships

Trustees: 6 ways to maintain a strong rapport with your non-charity entities

As part of its continued work to improve public confidence in the sector, in March 2019 the Charity Commission published new guidance on how trustees should manage their connections with non-charities...

Working together / culture / finance

Why culture and finance go hand in hand

Public trust in charities has declined in recent years and ensuring a charity has the right culture is becoming increasingly important. Having a good culture can be the bedrock of financial performance, reputation and governance…

Audit inspection

So, one of the trustees wants us to consider internal audit…

Board members come from all walks of life, with different skills and life experiences, many of which will have worked in organisations where governance was paramount and internal audit was a key element of providing comfort…

The impact of Brexit

The Brexit effect: 5 ways to achieve financial sustainability

Voluntary sector organisations continue to face increased demand for their services against a backdrop of funding challenges, shrinking public sector budgets and local authority cuts. And the Brexit effect is compounding the situation…

Adhering to PAYE and tax rules

Off payroll working rules: what charities need to prepare for

Off payroll working will be a major change for larger charities when it is introduced in April 2020. It will mean that those charities will have new responsibilities to pay PAYE and national insurance (and apprenticeship levy where appropriate) where a personal service company is engaged...

Making tax digital

How will making tax digital affect charities?

HMRC are introducing the new Making Tax Digital (MTD) system in order to make it easier for businesses and individuals to submit accurate records of their tax affairs…

Chancellor Spring Statement

Spring Statement 2019: what does it mean for charities?

Ashleigh Milson, Campaigns and Public Affairs Manager at the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), delves into how the Chancellor’s Spring Statement could impact the charity sector…  

5 star performance

6 ways to protect your charity's reputation

Kids Company, RSPCA, Oxfam. We can all think of scandals and governance issues that have rocked the charitable sector...

Audit Inspection

The auditors are coming…

Is that your heart sinking I can hear? Impending doom? You really don’t have the time? We know, as auditors we are subjected to our own institute audit review and annual independent compliance review so we can emphasise. However, we can’t avoid it, and neither can charities – let’s call it a necessary evil!

Following new processes and principals

6 new principles for grant reporting

‘Bureaucratic, time-consuming and misunderstood.’ That was the verdict of a group of charity funders and grantees that recently attended a series of workshops to discuss the state of grant reporting in the UK...

Raising funds through social investment

How to raise funds through social investment

Charities and social enterprises have a greater need for capital than ever before and social investment can help to plug the gap…

Charity reporting

Charity trustee reports: transparency vs length

The changes that SORP 2015 brought to the Trustees' Report have been bedding in for the last few years. Transparency and balance were the requirements, although achieving that is not as clear as those changes that required a mere disclosure…

Tax changes

Charities and contractors: the tax changes you need to know about

New tax legislation which comes into force in April 2020 addresses the use of contractors using personal service companies…

Decreasing strength of GBP

3 ways leaders of NGOs can tackle the weak pound

Here's how those responsible for financial management of an organisation, exposed to currency fluxuations, can safeguard against future hits...

gift giving

How to start a major gifts programme

Active engagement with potential major donors is essential as the number of high value donations to the charity sector continues to increase…

Employee benefits

10 tax-free benefits that the charity sector can provide to staff

Tax is levied on pay and on many expenses and benefits provided to staff. Most will know about pensions and childcare and cycle schemes, but there are other less well known and less often provided benefits that could make a real difference to your staff’s financial, physical and mental wellbeing...

Q&A

Q&A with Jo Keaney, Director of Finance and Corporate Services at St John Ambulance

Jo Keaney discusses the collective responsibility of managing finances within an organisation, the challenges of ensuring GDPR compliance and how the social impact evaluation process is evolving for charities…

Measuring business performance

3 ways to measure your charity’s investment performance

Charities have different objectives when it comes to investments and this will be reflected in their differing investment policies. However, all charities should be looking at similar measurements to determine the overall performance of the fund…

New digital payment methods/ apple pay

6 things to consider before adopting new payment methods

When deliberating the adoption of any new payment method, there are a number of issues that charity finance teams will need to consider to ensure they bring benefits rather than headaches...

Business conversation

In conversation with Martin Miles, Chief Financial Officer at the British Heart Foundation

Martin explains the challenge of gift aid, the importance of improvement over perfection and the necessity of shining a light on risk mitigation practices within the charity sector…

Tax traps

How to avoid corporation tax traps in the charity sector

Charities benefit from favourable tax reliefs and exemptions; however, you must first qualify for them. This is especially the case for corporation tax. If you do not qualify for it, you’re in danger of facing an unexpected tax bill…

Red flags

4 red flags of insider fraud in charities

Insider fraud is a growing issue in the charity sector. The Charity Commission estimates that over a third of all frauds are internal, committed by staff, volunteers and trustees and it fears these figures are just the tip of the iceberg…

Banking / Money

UK charities’ top 3 banks revealed

The latest Charity Financials Banking Spotlight report finds that the three most popular banks used by the UK’s top 5,000 charities in the last financial year were Barclays, NatWest and Lloyds…

Credit card / Money

Charities increase cash levels by half a billion pounds

A new report from Charity Financials reveals that in 2017-18 charity cash levels exceeded £16.7 billion, a considerable growth on the £16.2bn reported in the previous financial year…

Awards podium

Top 3 charity investment managers revealed

The latest 2018 Financials Investment Spotlight report found that the three investment management firms which made the greatest charity client gains in the last financial year were Rathbones, Cazenove and CCLA...

High results

Charity investment income hits 10-year high

The 2018 Charity Financials Investment Spotlight report finds that charities have recorded the highest level of income from investments in a decade; a trend that is expected to continue into 2019...

conversation / talking

In conversation with Bill Cunningham, Chief Operating Officer at Plan International UK

Bill discusses the size and complexity of restricted awards, why VAT fails to put a spring in his step and suggests that donor compliance and expectations might be the biggest challenges facing the sector…

Gift Aid

10 Gift Aid bear traps for the charity sector

Gift Aid is a great boon to many organisations in the charity sector but when things go wrong it can be very expensive when HMRC Gift Aid auditors pounce...

Charity reserve money

4 steps to developing your charity’s reserves policy

Charities need a clear understanding of their income streams and their risk profile to develop an intelligent reserves policy…

Assessing your investment portfolio

7 approaches to help investment portfolios withstand volatility

It is always critical to plan ahead for outcomes that might throw investment portfolios off course. Strategic defenses can be deployed well ahead of upsets, while tactical flexibility should help navigate specific market scenarios.

Tax calculations

Charity corporation tax: the 10 rules you need to know

Corporation tax poses significant challenge to charities of all sizes – here are some of the common bear traps and how to avoid them…

A 360 degree view

4 reasons why 360˚ data will benefit your charity’s donor retention

By using a joined-up approach to data, charities can boost loyalty and retention…

Sustainable investment outcomes

How can charities yield better investment outcomes?

As funding from other sources continues to be squeezed, it is essential for charities to implement a transparent and comprehensive investment policy that balances risk and reward...

Reaching objectives

How to set your charity’s investment objectives

A charity’s investment objectives should form an integral part of its strategy and explain why the charity holds these funds as it does…

Preparing charity accounts / managing money

Preparing charity accounts: 6 important considerations

Charity accounts can be a bit of mystery, even to accounting experts. But what will a good set of accounts contain? And what makes charity accounts different?

Growing corporate partnerships

Corporate partnerships: How risky are they for your brand?

For charities, partnerships with companies can be an attractive proposition. At their best, they can offer high profile awareness-boosting campaigns, strategic support and/or large amounts of cash. At their worst however, they can be directionless, low-value or even damaging to the charities involved…

Will writing

More legators now leave gifts in Wills to overseas aid and the environment

Early evidence from Smee & Ford’s five-year legacy trends report suggests that the emerging population of legators are leaving more gifts to environmental and overseas aid organisations than ever before…

Settling an investment

Lloyds Bank Foundation: Investing in charities

As part of its response to the Civil Society Strategy consultation, Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales brought together leading sector organisations to highlight their key priorities for a new strategy. Caroline Howe, Policy and National Programmes Manager at Lloyds Bank Foundation tells Charity Financials Insider why…

Oil/water

Finance and fundraising: oil and water or yin and yang?

Charities and fundraisers are operating with increasing risks, regulations and responsibilities and in this environment, fundraisers and finance teams need to work effectively together… 

Risky waters

Why you need to understand your investment risk profile

The first step in creating effective investment strategy is to consider your charity’s objectives and the role an investment portfolio has in achieving those…

Providing support

Why grantmakers should be doing more to support charities

Funders should be thinking about how they can help find new solutions to persistent problems...

Arrows/ Defining a direction

The golden rules for charity investment committees

Trustees must ensure that a charity has an effective governance structure to manage and oversee its investable assets...

Company growth

The growth of CIOs as the leading structure for charities

Charitable incorporated organisations (CIOs) are now the most popular structure for new charities, both small and large - here's why...

Problem solving

A guide to overcoming SORP challenges

Large charities have deep regulatory challenges when it comes to record-keeping and reporting. Here are the best strategies to overcome them…

Safeguarding: how you can ensure it is core business

Charities must ensure that safeguarding forms a central part of their strategy so that vulnerable people are protected throughout their operations...

Social investment considerations

Social investment: the risks and considerations

Many organisations will be considering if social investment is the right route for them. It can be a big step and isn’t right for everyone. So, what are the key considerations for potential investees and what are the risks?

Tax research

10 VAT bear traps for the charity sector

VAT is quite possibly the most complex and expensive tax that most charities have to deal with. There are many potentially problematic areas. The following are my top ten examples of common bear traps...

Sustainable business investments

How to create a sustainable financial strategy

To develop a sustainable financial strategy, charities must avoid costly short-term thinking and fully understand how their business model impacts their financial decision making…

Businesses working together

Cuts and competition: Is the future local?

The Carillion collapse has drawn attention to failings in the procurement system, which suggests a need to rethink public services from the bottom-up, giving individuals and communities a say in the way services are designed and delivered…

Increasing fundraising costs

Fundraising: How much does it really cost charities?

The latest Charity Financials Top 100 Fundraisers report reveals how much the UK’s largest fundraising charities spent in the last financial year to accumulate their fundraising income.

Fundraising alert

Major shocks to the system challenge the charity sector

The annual Charity Financials Top 100 Fundraisers Spotlight report has today been launched, which examines the financial trends of the UK’s top fundraising organisations amid charity sector turbulence.

Income growth trend

Charity sector’s annual income now exceeds £75 billion

A new report from Charity Financials finds that the sector generated £75.3 billion in the last financial year, growing from £71 billion in 2015-16…

Donate now to help charity

The charitable cause with the greatest income revealed

The charity sector is diverse, supporting causes from mental health to sports and recreation – but each area generates vastly different levels of income. The latest report from Charity Financials which causal area generates the most income…

Investment income growth

Charities see biggest growth in investment income in a decade

The charity sector’s investment income swelled by £236 million in the last financial year, representing the biggest increase in this type of income over the past 10 years…

Experiencing a growth in income

Charity sector’s daily income grows by £11 million in 2016-17

A new report from Charity Financials finds that the sector generates £206 million every day, up from £195 million in 2015-16…

Choosing an auditor

How to choose the right auditor

Your auditor will assist you in preparing important financial documents that outline the health of your organisation to trustees and funders, so getting this relationship right is essential…

Selecting an auditor

How to choose the right auditor

Your auditor will assist you in preparing important financial documents that outline the health of your organisation to trustees and funders, so getting this relationship right is essential…

Checkmate - winning investments

Investment strategies for small to medium-sized charities

Investing reserves can be an effective way to generate income, but where should charities start?

Game strategy

Investment strategies for small to medium-sized charities

Investing reserves can be an effective way to generate income, but where should charities start?

Gift aid for donations

Is your charity making the most of Gift Aid?

There is a ‘Gift Aid gap’ worth millions of pounds to the charity sector, so organisations should make 2018 the year that they reconsider their approach to this important tax relief…

Act now button

Is your charity making the most of Gift Aid?

There is a ‘Gift Aid gap’ worth millions of pounds to the charity sector, so organisations should make 2018 the year that they reconsider their approach to this important tax relief…

Winners

UK’s top 10 children’s charities by income revealed

Service delivery income proves its resilience as Barnardo’s annual income exceeds £300 million...

Joint responsibility

Why good fundraising isn’t just the job of fundraisers

A charity’s leadership team has an important role to play in effective fundraising...

Choosing a bank

How to choose the right bank account

From ethical policies to security measures, there are a number of factors charities must consider when choosing a bank account...

Supporting the world

Is trusteeship in trouble?

This year, the news has been so full of charity doom and gloom that we’re in danger of hunting good trustees to extinction. But recruiting a good board is now more important than ever.