Where to start?
There is a huge amount of free or low cost advice, resources, training and consultancy available to charities, social enterprises and not-for-profits. Below are links to a few we find useful and relevant
- The Association of Chairs* - supports Chairs of charities and non-profit organisations to lead their boards effectively
- Charity Commission have launched a free practical guide for recruiting trustees
- Trustee Recruitment Cycle - Guidance, tools and tips to help you recruit trustees and diversify your board from Reach Volunteering
- Clore Social Leadership Programme* - develops future leaders in the social sector
- The Confidence Framework - a free interactive tool designed by Realising Ambition to support sector leaders and individual organisations to identify areas of strength and areas for improvement.
- Cranfield Trust* - matches charities up with pro bono business expertise from management consultants
- Directory of Social Change – provide leadership training through both public courses and in-house consultancy.
- HRNet - free Human Resources advice and information from Cranfield Trust for charities and social enterprises based in England and Wales
- North East Skills Sharing- encourages and promotes skills sharing between local businesses and not-for-profit organisations in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Durham and Tees Valley.
- Pilotlight * - free tailored strategic planning support for charities and social enterprises from senior business people
- Reach Volunteering* - provides a free service for charities, recruiting skilled volunteers and trustees
- Skillsbridge * - supports voluntary and community sector organisations with a coordinated programme of professional volunteering
- Getting on Board - a list of free trustee recruitment resources including sample adverts, job descriptions, interview questions and induction packs.
There are several resources which may be helpful to learn more about safeguarding:
- Charity Commission strategy for safeguarding:
- SAFE CIC - provides free advice and training on sector specific safeguarding issues, both online and face to face
- NSPCC - provide free checklists and resources for safeguarding children, including a safeguarding self-assessment tool
- Contextual Safeguarding Implementation Toolkit - learning, resources and tips for safeguarding children and young people from the University of Bedfordshire *
- NCVO Knowhow Nonprofit - provide a comprehensive collection of free safeguarding resources
- The statutory guidance for all agencies and organisations for safeguarding children:
Evaluation, impact and learning:
- Brathay Research Hub Evaluation Toolkit - offer a free suite of resources on how to evaluate youth organisations
- Centre for Youth Impact - a community of organisations committed to working together to progress thinking and practice around impact measurement in youth work and services for young people.
- Cultural Education Data Portal - resource by the Arts Council that brings together and provides easy access to data on children and young people at a local authority, regional and national level.
- Cultural Learning Evidence Champion’s Handbook - a great tool produced by the RSA* for getting to grips with evidence and evaluation. Designed for evaluators in the arts but relevant for all sectors.
- Directory of Social Change – carry out independent impact and programme assessments for charities, funders and other not-for-profit organisations.
- Evaluation Support Scotland - provides practical support and access to impact and evaluation resources and tools.
- IVAR* (Institute for Voluntary Action Research) - works to understand, support and strengthen the voluntary sector using action research
- Inspiring Impact- a set of free tools and resources designed to help non-profits navigate the world of impact measurement
Measuring the Good - a programme by Coalition for Efficiency* matches skilled volunteers to charities and social enterprises looking to develop and embed a culture of impact management
- Museums Associations toolkit - a set of tools and resources for measuring social impact designed to help museums find the right approach for their participants and organisation.
- NCVO Charities Evaluation Service* - free tools and guidance on evaluation, learning and impact measurement
- New Philanthropy Capital- a think tank and consultant to the charity sector, with lots of free research and publications
- Outcome frameworks and standalone measures guide - a comprehensive guide produced by The National Lottery Community Fund relevant to charities, community and voluntary organisations in the UK
- Pro Bono Economics* - matches volunteer economists with charities wishing to address questions around measurement, results and impact
- Social impact measurement for credit unions - a toolkit created by Small Change* aimed at helping credit unions identify their social purpose and measure their performance as social businesses
- Charity Finance Group* - membership organisation offering training to the charity sector to develop leadership and financial management skills, understanding of topical financial issues, networking and knowledge sharing.
- CFG Small Charities Programme* - provides practical face to face and online finance training and resources for charities with an income of £1m or less including budget and cashflow templates
- Directory of Social Change - provide a toolkit and resources to help new charities get off the ground
- Nesta - offer a guide to nine of the main crowdfunding platforms supporting good causes in the UK
- Social Enterprise UK * - offer an essential guide to creating a social enterprise
- UnLtd* and School for Social Entrepreneurs - offer programmes and resources to help social enterprise ventures get up and running.
- Social Enterprise UK * - from building markets to large scale public facing campaigns, SEUK the membership body for social enterprise, exists to amplify the voice of their members and get social enterprise on the radars of decision makers across sectors
- Inspire to Enterprise- offers free-to-access social enterprise support, information and advice
- Spring Impact (formerly International Centre for Social Franchising) * - supports social solutions to replicate their work at scale
- School for Social Entrepreneurs - offers courses to help individuals start, sustain, and scale social enterprises, charities and community projects
- UnLtd * - supports social entrepreneurs with awards, events and resources
- The Catalyst*- free services and funding to transform social impact through digital
- Cast - supports social technology ventures to grow and access finance and talent
- Data Orchard* - provide a free tool to help you assess how data savvy your organisation is and identify areas for improvement. You can choose between a short 5 minute survey or the full assessment, which takes about 20 minutes to complete.
Media Trust* - run a UK-wide digital skills training programme delivered through local masterclasses, mentoring and online learning.
- Charity Digital (formerly Tech Trust) - offers donated and discounted software, email marketing and foreign exchange services for UK charities.
- Reach Volunteering* - run a training programme to increase digital expertise on charity boards
- How to understand web users’ needs and building a Digital Workforce toolkit from NCVO Knowhow Nonprofit.
- Superhighways* - Helping small charities do more digital; has a useful cheat sheet on applications for digital Comms here.
- Guide to choosing the right CRM from Charity Digital
Communication and Campaigning:
- Campaign Bootcamp* - supports campaigners with intensive training and networking
- Campaigns Collective - provide a helpful guide to what campaigners can and can't do under the UK Lobbying Act
- CharityComms - membership network for communications professionals working in UK charities with free to access communications guides, templates and reports.
- Constructive Voices- an NCVO initiative offering to link charities up with journalists to tell positive stories
- The Conversation* - an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community
- Datakind * - links data scientists with not-for-profits to help them use data in support of their mission. DataKind also runs Office Hours where you can ask specific questions about a project or your data, or can pick a data expert's brain about what's possible. Office Hours runs on the first Wednesday of every month from 5-8pm. Sign up to participate here.
- Directory of Social Change – provide training and publications, as well as information and analysis on issues affecting the sector through their own policy work
- The Edge Fund - provide a helpful list of campaigning resources listed by issue including links to blog posts, guides, tips and checklists
- Free digital training courses from Google
- Knowhow Nonprofit digital skills toolkit
- Involve – toolkit for involving people in decision-making
- Media Trust* - provides training and consultancy in all aspects of media, and matches skilled volunteers with charities
- Sheila McKechnie Foundation* - supports campaigners with training, awards and advice. SMK have developed Freedom to Campaign, a guide to campaigning in relation to the Lobbying act
- Practical advice on how to create films from CharityComms. Includes setting up in-house production through to commissioning and working with agencies.
- Use Twitter - a guide for NGOs
- The Edge Fund - provide a helpful list of fundraising resources including links to toolkits, guides, training and funder databases
- nfp Synergy - a comprehensive beginner's guide to fundraising for small organisations
- Charities Aid Foundation - 'Fundraising Fundamentals' a free toolkit for small to medium sized charities
- Directory of Social Change – provide a range of directories, including the Directory of Grant Making Trusts, and how-to fundraising publications and courses. Also provide the Funds Online (previously trustfunding) database.
- Fundraising for first timers - a beginner's guide produced by Arts Council Wales aimed at organisations or charities that are starting out on their fundraising journey
Legal advice and support:
- LawWorks provides free legal assistance for one-off pieces of advice needed by small not-for-profit organisations who are eligible for the scheme. For longer term advice, LawWorks may be able to match a small not-for-profit organisation with a volunteer solicitor through their Honorary Counsel service. They have also produced free short online videos for not-for-profits on specific areas of law such as how to incorporate a charity, the basics of property law and employee grievances. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, LawWorks members have produced a series of COVID-19 specific FAQs, resources and guidance for small not-for-profit organisations to help them through the crisis.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI):
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion monitoring tool - a free tool by Big Issue Invest, which organisations can use to input information about their Board, staff and communities they serve to generate an overview of their diversity split as well as their gender and ethnicity pay gaps.
- NCBI - the National Coalition Building Institute - delivers equalities leadership programmes.
- Socio-economic inclusion and diversity in the arts - a free toolkit for employers created by Jerwood Arts and Bridge Group.
- Stagetext* - provides captioning and live subtitling services to theatres and other arts venues.
- D5 - D5 is a five-year coalition to advance philanthropy’s diversity, equity, and inclusion. They have very helpful resources including pointers on how to talk about DEI.
- Inc Arts Unlock - an anti-racism toolkit that gives arts organisations practical steps to take anti-racist action.
You can also find a detailed list of helpful resources and articles about inclusion and diversity and can listen to recordings from from our event on Recruiting for Diversity.
Environment and Food sustainability:
- Julie's Bicycle - working with arts organisations to help them measure, manage and reduce their environmental impacts
- Good Food at Work * - guidance from Sustain on how to ask your organisation to sign up to a healthy and sustainable food policy
- Food Systems Academy * - an open education resource for sharing knowledge and increase the public’s understanding of our food system
Community and user engagement
- Unlocking Networks - handbook and toolkit on developing a peer network
- National Survivor User Network* and partners - guide on developing remote and online peer support through a range of online platforms
- Museums Associations: Power to the people - a self-assessment framework for participatory practice to help organisations improve community engagement in museums
- Clinks - guide to service user involvement
- Big Lottery - guide to best practice on working with young people
How to. . .
- Bid for public sector contracts: a GOV.UK guide for voluntary, community, and social enterprise organisations.
- Find knowledge and insights on merger, cross sector working, funding & strategy: A free web resource by IVAR* sharing findings developed over 17 years of close collaboration with the voluntary, public and funding sectors.
- Find practical guidance on how to undertake a smart merger, with examples and insights from CEOs and Boards who have actually been involved in mergers.
- Find a consultant: Consultants for Good is a network of independent consultants who work with voluntary organisations.
- Set up a charity: GOV.UK advice and information and this digital tool by Small Charities Coalition* to steer you through the logistics of setting up a charity in simple steps.
- Close down an organisation: Stewarding Loss offer resources to support organisations considering a closure with practical and emotional guidance and signposting.
- Find knowledge and advice for small charities: Guardian Voluntary Sector 'How to' guides.
For more tools and resources for charities, social enterprises and community groups, check out NCVO's KnowHow knowledge and e-learning hub.
- Arts Council England - funding, advice and tools for the arts sector in England
- Arts Council of Northern Ireland- the funding and development agency for the arts in Northern Ireland
- Arts Council of Wales - Wales' funding and development organisation for the arts
- Association of Independent Museums* - connects, supports and represents independent museums and galleries
- Clinks *- supports, represents and campaigns for the voluntary sector working with offenders
- Creative Scotland- the public body that supports the arts in Scotland
- Directory of Social Change- provides training courses, publications, online funding databases and research for the charity sector
- Locality* - national network for community-led organisations. Its Lifeboat programme supports member organisations in financial or organisational difficulty.
- Museums Association* - the membership organisation for everyone working museums, galleries and heritage
- NAVCA- national membership charity for local infrastructure
- NCVO- research, resources and training for voluntary sector organisations in England
- NICVA- support for voluntary sector organisations in Northern Ireland
- SCVO- support for voluntary sector organistions in Scotland
- Small Charities Coalition* - support for UK charities with income below £1m
- WCVA- support for voluntary sector organisations in Wales
*these organisations have been funded by a grant from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.