Just some of the things which Involving Communities can do with or for you
If someone asked you to imagine exactly what your organisation would look like in five years, would you be able to answer? What are you long term, medium and short term goals?
If you are just starting a new group or an organisation with charitable aims or you've been in operation for decades, the question is the same.
What Involving Communities does is work with you, your staff, volunteers and beneficiaries to agree your goals and puts plans in place to work towards the desired outcome. Our plans are systematic and consider the people, the goal and the processes required.
We can conduct an organisational review; we can design innovative projects to reach your goals; we can design the processes, policies and procedures necessary to work effectively once your goals begin to transpire, and we can offer training and support to your staff, volunteers, managers, trustees or committees.
Research can support and justify action.
Our research can be academic or practical, qualitative or quantitative.
Research can help you understand your competition and even assist in forming effective collaborations with groups working with the same community or towards the same goals.
Business plans and strategies should consider and reflect the results of a SWOT analysis. Effective research will identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your organisation's future.
Research is one aspect of evidence which will support funding applications. See Evidence of Need below.
Project Design and Management
If you have an objective to reach, we can devise innovative projects to help you succeed.
Every project we design is based on evidence of need; we help establish outcomes; we design in processes which will monitor the whole project from idea to completion. We can create the promotional materials to advertise your project; we can consult with your community before, during and once the project comes to an end; we can create websites to assist the project to develop and reach all members of your community and we can offer training for any aspect of your project.
The key to successful fundraising is a strong strategy. There are a number of steps all strategies should contain, and can be applied to any sort of organisation or cause.
Involving Communities could complete each of the steps, but could equally be recruited to complete the research, carry out a consultation - to provide the evidence of need - or design the projects which will help your organisation to achieve its charitable aims.
Read the blog post produced by The Guardian for more information.
Evidence of Need
When making an application for funding, the majority of funders will ask you to prove that the initiative you want to introduce is needed.
Funders want to see how the users of your service have been involved in project development and how their views or feedback have helped to shape the project. You could show evidence of consultation and engagement with your beneficiaries through:
- Surveys, questionnaires or interviews
- Focus groups
- Informal discussions
- Consultation events
Evidencing user involvement will help make your project more effective and responsive, as well as showing funders how your project will meet the particular needs of the community. Evidence has to be current and clearly linked to the client group and the project or service you are hoping to provide.
Evidence can be academic or statistical or a combination of both and it must stand up to scrutiny. We can provide verifiable and objective evidence which will be systematic and clear.
We can work with or for you to gather the evidence from your community.
By building active relationships, you can reduce the sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’. People develop confidence in agencies that invite participation and genuinely listen. This can build a foundation of trust that is invaluable when tough decisions need to be made.
Involving Communities designs innovative ways of consulting with staff, volunteers, beneficiaries and other stakeholders.
From reviewing just one of your services or projects, to your complete organisation, our approach is the same.
We clearly define the project or aspects of a service you wish to review.
We devise a plan, including a schedule of people involved with the project (trustees, staff, volunteers, beneficiaries) we may need to interview.
We can organise focus groups, surveys, one-to-one interviews or a range of different consultation and data gathering techniques.
We submit our findings and ensure we are all focussed on the same objective.
We thoroughly review all aspects of the project or service, for example:
- we ensure your constitution or other governing document is up to date and still relevant;
- we review your monitoring procedures;
- we ensure any associated policies and processes are fit for purpose; and
- we assess whether the project is on line to reach its stated outcomes and objectives.
We write a report and submit it for your review.
We can draw up an action plan for any work we identify as outstanding. We can sometimes carry out the work for you or recommend others from outside the organisation who can help.
Policies, Procedures and Processes
Your organisation may have been running for a number of years but it is still a good idea to regularly review your policies and procedures to make sure you are up to date and meeting current requirements. Many funders request copies of policies, which should be reviewed at least annually. Your main policy is your constitution or Mems and Arts and it should always reflect your group's aims and objectives; often groups develop without ensuring they are constituted to carry out projects with members of the community other than to the existing client groups, or perhaps a group's focus extends beyond their constituted remit. Please ensure your constitution is appropriate for your needs. You might need your solicitor to review your Mems and Arts if your services or clients have changed considerably.
For uniformed ways of working and to maximise productivity, it is essential that within an organisation - no matter the size - each trustee, member of staff and volunteer knows what is expected of them. The only way to do this is to ensure processes and procedures are documented and made available.
Policies are there to ensure compliance with laws and to protect your staff and volunteers and organisation. Challenging behaviour or activities is much easier to conduct if there are guidelines spelling out what is and what is not allowed. Do you have all the policies your organisation requires, are they up to date and relevant?
Involving Communities has a qualified fund raiser on board. From applying to trusts to organising a summer ball, we have the skills.
Please be aware that before any fundraising application can be submitted, your organisation's constitution, financial accounts, policies and evidence of need will need to be up to date: funders generally require this information.
Has your board of trustees (or committee) developed with your organisation?
Does your board have the skills to support every aspect of your organisation competently?
We can conduct a skills audit to help you focus on the areas where you are not supported.
We conduct this audit free of charge, if you have asked us to provide any of our other services.
If you have read the how section of our website, you will see that one of our options includes training and leaving your nominated staff member(s) with the skills to conduct the same or similar task in the future.
Additionally, we can offer training in any of our services, in recruitment, equality and diversity, disability awareness, and website building.
Do you lead a small but dedicated team of staff and/or volunteers?
Are you, like most charity managers, struggling with the demands of the job because everything appears to have a high priority?
Has your work become your evening activity?
Is your annual leave and TOIL often left un-taken?
Does every board meeting lead to more work?
Do you feel like you are carrying the weight of the charity on your shoulders?
Do you think that if you gave up, the charity would cease to continue?
Do you feel that if only you had a sounding board, it would help you to see more clearly?
If you have answered yes to any of our questions, we can help.
Here at IC Ltd we have heard the same comments made over and over.
IC Ltd has a specialist support service designed exactly for people like you: intelligent, committed, dedicated managers who sometimes don't know which way to turn.
If you commission any of our services, the first two hours of Manager Mentoring is free of charge.