Big Society Award for Small Charity Week – HURRAY
It was fantastic that Small Charity Week was recognised by the Prime Minister David Cameron as it is a resounding endorsement of the work of small charities throughout the UK and beyond.
Five years ago when here at the FSI we started to think about how to celebrate the amazing work of small charities I hoped that the idea would take off and that as many small charities as possible would be able to use the week to tell their stories.
The stories of small charities are filled with hope, with possibilities, with anticipation, with optimism, with faith and aspirations. Each day small charities deal with life and death issues, with people in the worst of situations and causes that are important for our planet's future. But the key thing is, we are working on these problems, we are finding solutions and we are giving hope, which is why are stories are so uplifting.
So a celebration of the work of small charities is simply the right thing to do – we just have to keep on keeping on....
Following a tweet from the Prime Minister I have reflected on what we have delivered this Small Charity Week so far:
An astonishing 890 messages of support for small charities were sent and the social media reach during I Love Small Charities Day was over 260,000, quite amazing. I Love Small Charities Day was a great day to get those messages and stories out and to encourage supporters to think about small charities. We also hosted over 40 small charities at a fringe event at the EVOLVE conference The Big Business and Charity Breakfast. Six leading company CSR Gurus answered questions from the floor, networked with the charities and gave top tips – if you couldn’t make it, you can still check out the booklet the SCW Team produced on the day as it might give you an idea of what went on.
Big Advice Day was always set to be high pressured...we had hit 160 hours of free advice given in 2013 and we were secretly, or not so secretly, hoping to top that. We were thrilled that on the one day we beat our own targets and gave away 203 hours of free advice from an amazing line up of experts. Included in our line up were The Guardian, The Santander Foundation and Prostate Cancer UK as well as a whole host of others.
Policy Day is our ‘showcase’ and it kicked off with the release of our 2014 Research: The Missing Pieces which looks at the changing relationship between small charities and the State. We also released a summary of the results from the Small Charity Index – The Index One Year On. The release was shortly followed by a meeting in the House of Lords of the Federation for Small Charities Council who listened carefully to Lisa Nandy MP, Shadow Minister for Civil Society as she answered their questions and gave her views on how the Labour Party might work with small charities in the future.
Of course no Policy Day would be complete without the Policy Day Reception, again this year, Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society showed his support for small charities by hosting the event in the Churchill Room at the Cabinet Office. During the reception Small Charity Week was awarded the Big Society Award. The room buzzed with noise as small charities networked with each other – it’s fantastic to be in a room surrounded by those who share your values. Also being run on the day were four other Policy Events in Plymouth, Newcastle, Waltham Forest and Sussex.
Volunteering is not just important for small charities it is vital. We rely so much on an army of dedicated volunteers to support us in the work we do. This Small Charity Week we have been busy promoting the volunteering opportunities posted on the Small Charity Week website to businesses and members of the public. Alongside this, four other free volunteering events were run by partner organisations and between them they engaged with over 200 small charities.
Fundraising Day has not yet ended......the team, as I look around the office, are busily promoting auction items and I believe may have been banned from a few websites for being overzealous! So far we have helped raise over £8,000 for small charities on this day and we are still counting. Well done to those charities that were successful in winning the various competitions run by our partners on this day.
Celebration Day took to the BIG SCREEN with 52 small charities promoted across the UK – their messages went out large to the local people in their area.
All in all it was a great week, the best yet. If you didn’t get involved put the date in your diary for next year (15th to 20th June 2015) and join us in celebrating the UK’s wonderful small charity sector.