Find Help & Advice

Help & Advice introduction

We all need some help at times, no matter what size your organisation or group there's lots of advice available here.

Picture of a hand writing in a notebook

The help and advice is aimed as a helping hand for anyone running a charity or voluntary group, whether you're a volunteer, a trustee or committee member, or a paid member of staff. The themes cover a wide range of topics from setting up and managing third sector groups of all kinds to managing people, money and much more!

Browse the help and advice themes or look for help based on the income level of your organisation. 


Disclaimer: The information provided is intended for guidance only. It is not a substitute for professional advice and no responsibility is accepted for any action taken as a result of the help and advice provided.
 

Starting a New Group

If you are thinking about starting a new group you may be assured that there is plenty of support available to help you.

acrons in tree

This section and the help and advice topics highlight lots of the main points you will need to consider if setting up a new group and beyond.

Getting started

So you want to start a new group - congratulations! It's an exciting time but maybe also challenging and overwhelming - help is at hand.

Type of organisation

It is essential that you seek advice about the type of the organisation that you intend to set up. There are a number of choices and your decision will be dependent on many different factors.

Find advice by income level

Where should you be? What should you be thinking about?

If you thinking of setting up a group the Starting a New Group section has lots of help and advice to help you get on track.

One-to-one support is available from the Voluntary Action Leeds, Small Groups Development Worker

Your group is now up and running. You maybe considering employing people for the first time for help and advice with this visit the People and Employment section. 

Finance

Managing money effectively is an essential part of running any organisation.

Pound coins in a pile

It is important that sound financial systems, procedures and policies underpin the work of all third sector organisations – even more so as resources are stretched.

Help and advice is available to support your organisation with its financial health.

Financial Foundations

Not sure where to begin? Start here to get your financial foundation stones in place.

Full Cost Recovery

Full Cost Recovery is a method of calculating the cost of your services, to inform your pricing decisions.

Audit

The term “audit” is often used to describe the checking of the bookkeeping and accounting records.

Claiming Gift Aid

Gift Aid is the basic tax which charities can claim back on donations made to their charity, where the individual donors have already paid income tax.

Management Accounts

Management accounts are produced to inform the trustees / managers of the financial position of the organisation throughout the year.

Reserves

Reserves is unrestricted income that is not yet spent, committed or designated.

VAT

Value Added Tax (VAT) is a tax on consumer expenditure. It is collected on business transactions, imports and acquisitions.

Find advice by income level

Where should you be? What should you be thinking about?

If your organisation has less than £5,000 in income help is available to assist your organisation setting up financial systems. Assitance is available with

Understanding the Financial Foundations may also help you get your finances off to a good start!

When income reaches a level between £5,000-£50,000 your organisation should:

When income reaches a level between £50,000-£250,000 your organisation should:

When income reaches a threshold of £250,000 your organisation should:

Related blogs

Le Tour de Tax

Le Tour bunting

Claire Welling, Leeds Community Accountant at WYCAS, gives a topically themed review of the Charity Tax Group briefing, held in Leeds on 9 July 2014.

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The Charity Commission: Friend or Foe?

Wycas logo

Leeds Community Accountant Claire Welling notices changes to the Charity Commission's annual return and muses upon the Commission's role.

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Happy new tax year!

Happy new tax year!

It is the Budget statement today (Wed 19 March), but something which was announced last year could reduce your organisation's costs by £2,000. Claire Welling, Leeds Community Accountant at WYCAS, tells us more about this very pleasant surprise!

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Looking after your money in Leeds

WYCAS logo

Want some help, advice or information about financial management of your organisation? West Yorkshire Community Accounting Service (WYCAS) is here to help!

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Funding

Information about funding for third sector organisations and links to further sources of support.

broken piggy bank
Fundraising

Fundraising and generating income are vital to the long-term success of groups and organisations.

Funding Support

There are a range of places that you can seek help with finding funding and support to help you with applying for funding.

Reporting to Funders

It is unusual for funders to donate cash without expecting feedback from you.

About fit4funding
fit4funding logo

fit4funding provides organisations with skills, knowledge and support to access and manage funds needed to create vibrant and flourishing communities.

Find advice by income level

Where should you be? What should you be thinking about?

If your organisation has less than £5,000 in income and it has followed the steps in Starting a New Group, it should be capable of making applications for small amounts of funding. Information to help small groups and/or new organisations make funding applications is available in the Fundraising section.

When your organisation reaches an income level of between £5,000 and £50,000 it should be in a position to apply for funding around £10,000.

Staff should receive training on:

When your organisation reaches an income level of between £50,000 and £250,000 your organisation should:

  • Have significant funding secured
  • Be developing a fundraising strategy
  • Be able to apply for funding between £100,000 and £500,000

To search for funding opportunities visit the Finding Funding section, 

When your organisation reaches an income threshold of £250,000 then it should consider moving towards being commissioning ready. It may like to consider tendering, applying for larger funding streams or generating funds itself such as from social investment and crowd funding. Consultancy advice is available from fit4funding or SEE Ahead.

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Current Funding Opportunities

A selection of the latest funding opportunities for third sector organisations in Leeds.

broken piggy bank

Explore the links below to find out more, where applicable deadline dates are shown.

My Community Rights

Two grants schemes are open as part of the new Rights: the Community Right to Challenge grant and the Community Ownership and Management of Assets (including Right to Bid) grants.

Leeds City Council Small Grants booklet

Download the July 2013 edition of Leeds City Council's "Small grants and sources of support and advice for voluntary, community and faith groups" booklet.

Community First

Grants, typically up to £2,500 (which must be matched), available to third sector organisations in a number of Leeds wards.

Wade's Charity

A range of grants for groups within the pre-1974 city boundary of Leeds. Applications now being accepted for 2014.

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Governance

Governance is about running your organisation. Good governance is important for clear decision making.

chess pieces

Trustees and committees need the right knowledge, skills, and experience to make decisions. Governance is also about compliance with the law especially charity law and, if applicable, company law. To help your organisation improve and plan your governance explore this section.

If you setting up a new group, starting from scratch, please look at the Starting a new group section. 

 

The Good Governance Code

Good Governance: A Code for the Voluntary and Community Sector is a guide written by voluntary organisations for voluntary organisations.

Community Amateur Sports Clubs

Clubs that provide facilities for amateur sport make up an important part of the voluntary sector.

Charities

Charities exist to benefit the public. The Charity Commission regulates charities in England and Wales.

Companies

A company is a corporate body registered with Companies House. Companies are subject to the Companies Act 2006.

Closure
keys on table

Formally ending an organisation can be referred to as: closure; closing; closing down; dissolving; dissolution or winding up.

Membership issues

You might think that membership is not very complicated, but not understanding the roles of members can result in very complicated confusion!

Find advice by income level

Where should you be? What should you be thinking about?

If your organisation is newly formed or has an income of less then £5,000 then help is available from the Getting Started section with advice on:

  • Values
  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Objects
  • Area of Benefit
  • choosing a name

Once the income of your organisation has reached £5,000 and your organisation has

  • Charitable purposes
  • Exists for the public benefit

You are required to register as a charity.

Help and Training is available from Voluntary Action Leeds and the Charity Commission to assist with this process. Training and advice is also available on  roles and responsibilities of the management committee, including the role of :

  • The Chair
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer

When income reaches a level of between £50,000-£250,000 the legal structure of the organisation should be reviewed. An unincorporated association should consider becoming incorporated:

The organisation should now have the following in place in order to comply with the Good Governance Code.

  •  Audits carried out by the trustees and board
  •  A membership register and membership forms
  • Role descriptions for governing body members: chair; secretary; treasurer; company secretary 
  • Meetings of your governing body are in accordance with your governing document
  • Training for new and existing governing body members receive induction.
  • Minutes are kept of meetings
  • The governing body keeps up to date with legal and statutory requirements
  • The governing body delegates responsibility in accordance with the governing document clause relating to delegation

Strategic directional functional
Compliance in order

Related blogs

William Shawcross addresses public meeting

Kathy Faulks

In which Kathy Faulks, Support Worker (Group Development) at Voluntary Action Leeds meets William Shawcross, chair of the Charity Commission.

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Choosing the charity path

Kathy Faulks

Kathy Faulks, Support Worker (Group Development) at Voluntary Action Leeds, provides the link to the new Charity Commission guidance on registering a charity.

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The road less traveled

Kathy Faulks

Kathy Faulks, Support Worker (Group Development) at Voluntary Action Leeds explores alternatives to starting up a new charity.

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In whose interest?

Charity Commission logo

Kathy Faulks discusses the revised Charity Commission guidance on conflict of interest for charity trustees.

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It's a personal thing

street scene with people

Do you appreciate the implications for trustees receiving personal benefit from the charity? Kathy Faulks, VAL's Small Groups Worker, explains.

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Kathy Faulks asks what are protected characteristics and why do they matter to all charities, voluntary organisations and community groups?

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Marketing and Communications

Your organisation won’t go far if you don’t have an audience and once you’ve got one you need to think about how you’re going to keep them.

business cards

At its most basic marketing is about understanding what your offer is and who it is for - then communicating this to your audience. Marketing can help to demonstrate your impact, which could in turn could help to attract funding or more customers and also increase your organisation’s credibility.

To be effective marketing needs good communications which requires: a clear understanding of objectives, careful planning, coordination of the right communications tools, development of the right messages, a strategic and tactical approach and measurement of results.

Marketing

Common sense and good knowledge of your organisation are good starting points for your marketing.

Communications

Communication is essential in any relationship. What you say about your organisation and how and where you say it are important considerations.

Find advice by income level

Where should you be? What should you be thinking about?

If your organisation has less than £5,000 in income it should start to develop a marketing plan. Your organisation may wish to investigate electronic methods or marketing such as email and social media.

When your organisation has an income level of between £5,000-£50,000 it should have a basic awareness of:

  • Who your organisation needs to market too
  • How to produce the necessary marketing materials

When your organisation has an income level between £50,000-£250,000 then the organisations marketing strategy should be producing targeted materials aimed at appropriate audiences taking taking into account:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Placement
  • Promotion

When income levels reach a threshold of £250,000 your organisation should be using a variety of opportunities to convey its’ key messages in a consistent style.

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Monitoring and Evaluation

All organisations should review their activities to ensure they are performing efficiently.

people looking at a computer

 Monitoring and evaluating your activities will help you answer these questions.

  • How well is your organisation performing? 
  • Can we trust your organisation to deliver quality services?
  • Do we want to be associated with your organisation?
  • How do we know?
Monitoring

Monitoring is an ongoing process which informs your decisions and helps you decide whether your organisation is heading in the right direction.

Evaluation

Evaluation provides judgments about whether your organisation or project has achieved what it intended and the quality of delivery.

Find advice by income level

Where should you be? What should you be thinking about?

When income reaches a level of between £5,000-£50,000 your organisation should be:

  • collecting data on outputs of your organisation
  • receiving feedback from the beneficiaries.

When income reaches a level of between £50,000-£250,000 your organisation should have started to:

  • Engage stakeholders in monitoring and evaluation of services.
  • Carry out evaluations of its outputs as well as monitoring them
  • Monitoring the data for outcomes and outputs which are used to plan service deliveries.

When income reaches a threshold of £250,000 your organisation should be performing these functions at the required level:

  • Engage stakeholders in monitoring and evaluation of services.
  • Carry out evaluations of its outputs as well as monitoring them
  • Monitoring the data for outcomes and outputs which are used to plan service deliveries.
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People and Employment

People make a difference. To deliver services well you need to have people who are committed to the aims of your organisation, have the right skills and are managed effectively.

Group of people at a networking event

This section provides lots of information, advice and support to help your organisation ensure it staff make a difference.

About PERS

PERS is the Pay and Employment Rights Service, they provide employment advice to third sector organisations.

Dealing with problems

When things do not go according to plan you may have to deal with a wide range of employment related issues.

Equality and Diversity

Everyone is different.

Staff Development

Effective performance management and staff development will help you to meet the aims and ambitions of the organisation.

Workforce Planning

Organisations large and small need people who have the knowledge and skills to help in the delivery of services and who can contribute to the achievement of an organisation’s objectives.

Contracts

Getting employment contracts right is a must for all employers.

Rights and Benefits

There are a range of policies that employers need to put in place to meet legal requirements and to aspire to best practice.

Health and Safety

Ensuring the safety of all in the workplace is a must – it’s not negotiable!

Recruitment and Induction

Recruiting staff is a costly business and it pays to get it right.

Changes in Employment

Organisations and the services they deliver do not stay the same over time.

A to Z of Policies

To ensure that you are a best practice employer you need to have good policies and procedures in place.

Offices to rent

A number of third sector organisations in Leeds provide office accommodation to rent, targeted at other third sector organisations in Leeds.

Find advice by income level

Where should you be? What should you be thinking about?

When income levels reach between £5,000 and £50,000 for your organisation should have some key policies and procedures in place:

For more information and examples of model policies please do to the PERS website.

When income levels reach between £50,000-£250,000 your organisation will need a robust list of policies and procedures need to be in place. A system of review and revision of these policies and procedure is also required.
For more information and examples of model policies please visit the PERS website.

When income reaches a threshold of £250,000 your organisation should have fully functioning staff policies.

For more information and examples of model policies please visit the PERS website.

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Not an ordinary student

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Don’t all students sleep till noon, live on Pot Noodles, avoid lectures and go clubbing all night? Rachel Reddington, tells us about her experience while on student placement at VAL.

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Board diversity. You decide...

Monitoring

Written by Kathy Faulks, Small Groups Development Worker at VAL in the name of 'Dick' a fictional trustee. Dick gives you the details of the board members of Kirren Isle Community Association - do we keep them?

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Planning

Good planning can help organisations in lots of ways.

calendar dates

Planning can help you: 

  • Work out what you want to do (your goals)
  • Work out if you can achieve what you want
  • Think about how you are going to achieve what you want – prioritising
  • Work out any extra support you might need
  • Think about what you might do if some things don't work out
  • Think about the changes you want to make in the future
  • Plan to make changes successfully

Failing to plan is planning to fail...

Project Planning

A project plan is where you map out details of who, what and when for the delivery of a specific project or activity within your organisation. This is often done on a Gantt chart or Bar chart.

Action Planning

An action plan is similar to a business plan but less detailed. It is mainly for smaller organisations and can be vital to the success of what you are doing.

Operational Planning

An operational plan maps out strategic goals and sets out how they will be achieved.

Find advice by income level

Where should you be? What should you be thinking about?

If your organisation has less than £5,000 in income it would be a good idea to produce an Action Plan for one year ahead.

If your organisation intends to work with children, young people and or vunerable adults you will need training. Once you've been trained your organisation will need to produce a Safeguarding Policy. Information is available to assist you from:

For information about Disclosure and Baring checks (DBS checks) please visit the Criminal Records Checks section.

When income reaches a level of between £5,000-£50,000 your organisation should:

Voice and Influence

You should be making contact with local relevant organisations and your local councillors. For more information goto the Voice and influence section

When income reaches a level of between £50,000-£250,000 your organisation should have:

When income reaches a threshold of £250,000 your organisation should have:

Voice and Influence

  • Strategic representation in place
  • Formalised partnership working in place

For more information go to Voice and Influence section.

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Commissioning and Contracting

Commissioning is the process of deciding what public services are needed and how best to use the resources available to get the best for local people.

gardener

Over the years Councils, and other purchasers of goods and services like the NHS, have increasingly moved from awarding grants to fund organisations to deliver services, to more formal processes involving procurement and contracts.

Commissioning processes as a whole, and especially procurement, have become increasingly highly structured as a result of legislation and  regulation. Commissioners need to be clear about what exactly is being purchased and delivered, and what the benefits and impacts are, as well as exploring whether better value for money can be achieved or new ways of achieving better outcomes can be found.

There is plenty of opportunity for the third sector to access commissioning and contracting opportunities and support is available.

Follow @sltcleeds to keep up to date with key commissioning developments and opportunities in Leeds.

Commissioning The Basics

Commissioning is the process of deciding what public services are needed and how best to use the resources available to get the best for local people.

Collaboration and Consortium Building

Collaboration can take a range of forms and is a growing trend.

Commissioning in Leeds
Leeds

Leeds has a big vision for the future - to be the Best City in the UK in 2030.

Contracts Register
YORtender logo

The contracts register is the comprehensive list of all contracts, valued above £10,000, being procured by Leeds City Council and other councils from across Yorkshire and the Humber.