Information on the VCS

There is more public information about the VCS than ever before. In England and Wales, full financial details, including annual reports and accounts, are available for the public to download from the Charity Commission website. As governments are increasingly expected to publish detailed data about how they spend their money, the VCS will come under pressure to publish open data in more detail too.

However the focus of information about the VCS is moving away from purely financial comparisons such as administration or fundraising costs. Instead inititatives focus on how effective charities are by looking at what they achieve (see expectations of evidence).

At the same time, more information is being created about the work of charities by service users themselves, and there is an emerging recommendation economy as individuals share information about the causes that they support through social networks.

What are the implications?

  • More transparent and accountable services, both to donors and service users.
  • Better evidence of the impact VCOs make ( see expectations of evidence).
  • Donor advisors such as New Philanthropy Capital are making use of this information to advise philanthropists which causes to support.
  • An increased expectation for VCS organsiations to be open about how they operate, and accountable for how they spend money.
  • Increasing trust and understanding of the work VCOs do by the public and funders.
  • Increased media understanding and reporting of the VCS.
  • Strategic giving has the potential to enable funding to be allocated in a more efficient and effective way.
  • Social networks have the potential to amplify information about the VCS, and share it with a wider audience.

Moving forward

Being open and accountable is likely to be increasingly important, as donors and funders rely on information in order to make informed decisions about which organisations to support.

  • Do you need to invest in resources or training to ensure your organisation is able to publish information using new tools?
  • Do you have good systems in place to measure your impact, and the financial and social value you create?
  • Are you clear about how your organisation operates, what your costs are, and how you would explain them to a potential funder?
  • Do you publish information about your work in a way that is accessible to your donors? How can you encourage them to share this with their peers through social networks?
  • Are you listening to what others say about you online? The feedback that people share about your organisation could be a valuable resource.

Want to know more?

I want to lose a fortune

Published by: Intelligent Life - a quarterly magazine published by The Economist Group

Date: September 2007

Format: Web

What is it? An article exploring the role of New Philanthropy Capital as a provider of donation advice.

How useful is this? It explores the services that New Philanthrophy Capital offer to their wealthy clients, and the implications for charities who work with them. In particular it outlines typical strategies taken by donors, and underlines the importance of transparency and being able to measure and prove impact.

Other Comments:

Charitable giving and fundraising in a digital world

Published by: NCVO Third Sector Foresight

Date: 2007

Format: Web

What is it? A thinkpiece based on a presentation exploring how new technologies are affecting charitable giving.

How useful is this? This thinkpiece provides a starting point on the impact of new technologies and fundraising.  The third section, which looks at information and power, is particularly relevant to this driver.  It looks at how the internet is changing the relationship between donors and organisations, and what this may mean for organisations in the future.

 

 

 

Last updated at 16:39 Fri 25/Mar/11.

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