voluntary sector

Improving Financial Management Across the Voluntary Sector

voluntary sector

08:45 - 16:00

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Central Manchester

This Forum will provide participants with the opportunity to discuss with sector leaders innovative strategies to enhance financial management across the voluntary sector. In addition to this, best practice case studies will share guidance on developing sustainable and resilient financial management which diversifies income streams, raises fundraising revenue and increases donor funding.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Voluntary Sector. Typical job titles will include:

  • Heads of Finance
  • Finance Managers
  • Directors of Fundraising
  • Chief Executives
  • Chief Financial Officers
  • Heads of Procurement
  • Directors of Planning
  • HR Directors
  • Partnership Managers
  • Heads of Community and Investment
  • Directors of Business Services
  • Commercial Directors
  • Trustees

This Forum is also open to Local Government and Social Enterprises to encourage networking and debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Jeff Prescott, Senior Accountant, Charity Commission
  • Roberta Fusco, Director of Policy and Engagement, Charity Finance Group
  • Helena Wilkinson, Partner, Price Bailey LLP and Vice Chair, Institute for Chartered Accountants for England & Wales (ICAEW) Charity Committee 
  • Seb Elsworth, Chief Executive, Access – The Foundation for Social Investment
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Professor Martin Jones, Head of Accounting and Finance Department, Nottingham Trent Business School, Nottingham Trent University (invited)


Morning Keynote: Regulating the Quality of Financial Management in the Voluntary Sector

  • Outlining the key expectations of the Charity Commission regarding charity financial compliance, such as implementing effective monitoring systems and meeting the needs of beneficiaries
  • Understanding the importance of financial management both for the sustainability of a charity and to ensure the needs of beneficiaries are being met
  • Sharing best practice in effective financial management, by engaging auditors and advisors to share expertise in financial management processes
  • Understanding Commission guidance designed to support trustees to develop expertise in governance, finance and safeguarding charity assets

Jeff Prescott, Senior Accountant, Charity Commission (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Developing Financial Expertise Across the Voluntary Sector

  • Outlining what financial resilience looks like and strategies for working towards this, such as increasing reserves or taking more risks with spending for beneficiary needs
  • Highlighting the important role that senior leadership teams must play in developing a financially sustainable model and ensuring that leadership receive targeted training to develop financial expertise
  • Promoting collaboration between finance professionals from outside the voluntary sector and the voluntary sector to share best practice and expertise on adapting business models to ensure charities become more financially sustainable
  • Discussing what financial stability and sustainability means for charities and how different organisations must adapt to evolving needs
  • Considering the future of Voluntary Sector Finance in a post-Brexit landscape

Roberta Fusco, Director of Policy and Engagement, Charity Finance Group (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Special Keynote: Enhancing Financial Resilience Across the Voluntary Sector

  • Highlighting the importance of utilising a diverse range of income sources to ensure financial resilience if one source falters
  • Considering how the voluntary sector can diversify its income streams, including more collaboration with the private and public sectors
  • Navigating fluctuations in the voluntary sector landscape, such as the safeguarding and fundraising scandals, and ensuring the impact these fluctuations have on charity funding is minimised and that charities are equipped to deal with such fluctuations

Helena Wilkinson, Partner, Price Bailey LLP and Vice Chair, Institute for Chartered Accountants for England & Wales (ICAEW) Charity Committee (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Designing an Effective Fundraising Strategy Which Propels Business Growth

  • Outlining the successful fundraising strategy of Coventry UK City of Culture Trust, which resulted in the Trust being shortlisted as Fundraising Team of the Year in the Third Sector Excellence Awards 2018
  • Attracting over 100 businesses to support the city’s bid to become UK City of Culture in 2021 and outlining how they contributed to the successful bid
  • Highlighting the importance of attracting a variety of different investors, including the private sector and SMEs
  • Examining the Gold Badge initiative, which awards existing supporters with a gold badge when they introduce two new supporters, and how this increased competition among supporters and increased the number of donors
  • Sharing guidance in developing an effective financial management strategy which directly correlates to organisational goals and the role that fundraising plays in this

Michael Morgan MBE, Head of Fundraising, Coventry UK City of Culture Trust (invited)


Case Study: Developing Successful Partnerships to Build New Streams of Income and Improve Outcomes

  • Outlining the partnership between Greenhouse Sports and Prudential, wherein Prudential provide financial support, fundraising opportunities and the development of a community programme, to improve access to basketball for disadvantaged young people
  • Discussing how partnering with a private company resulted in improved outcomes for service users, enabling the charity to engage young people from the most deprived areas, with participation in basketball more than doubling
  • Considering the changing nature of charity finance and the benefits of partnering with the private sector to generate new sources of income
  • Sharing guidance on working successfully with the private sector: attracting investors and building sustainable, mutually beneficial relationships

Sarah Webster, Director of Fundraising and Communications, Greenhouse Sports (CONFIRMED)

Finalist nomination for the Business Charity Awards’ Charity Partnership, Financial Services Award, 2017


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Utilising Social Investment to Enhance Voluntary Sector Finance

  • Understanding social investment: what is it, how can charities access it and what benefits does it bring?
  • Examining the different forms social investment can take, such as social impact bonds, and discussing how to identify the best enterprise model for a specific charity
  • Examining Access’ 2018-2023 strategy, which aims to build on enterprise support within the sector to expand social investment opportunities for charities and social enterprises
  • Outlining the year long pilot programmes – Enterprise Grants and Enterprise Learning – which offer grants of £10,000 for organisations to develop innovative new enterprise models
  • Supporting charities and social enterprises to build on social investment, through invest readiness grants distributed via the Reach Fund and sharing guidance on how to access these

Seb Elsworth, Chief Executive, Access – The Foundation for Social Investment (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Implementing an Award-Winning Financial Management Strategy

  • Creating a sustainable and dynamic financial management strategy which ensures that the charity is able to successfully meet long term goals
  • Outlining how an effective, resilient financial model resulted in the charity exceeding their fundraising goal of £2 million whilst employing only five full-time staff
  • Ensuring financial awareness and understanding among senior leaders, to improve financial decision-making
  • Sharing guidance on how Cure Leukaemia identified the most appropriate financial model that aligned with organisational goals

Andrew Wilkes, Head of Finance, Cure Leukaemia (invited)

Shortlisted in the Charity Times Awards, 2018, for the Financial Management Award, Fundraising Team of the Year and Charity of the Year Awards


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Developing an Effective Counter-Fraud Strategy within a Charity

  • Creating a dedicated counter-fraud team to investigate fraud cases and historic allegations in order to improve public confidence in financial management in the voluntary sector
  • Formulating a new fraud reporting procedure to ensure the recording of incidents and support capacity for formal investigations
  • Enhancing fraud awareness and financial procedures, leading to a rise in reported cases across the charity
  • Adopting a civil recovery process with extensive use of county courts to pursue missing donations resulting in the recovery of £168,000 over 2 years
  • Sharing insights in the challenges and opportunities resulting from the design and implementation of a counter-fraud team within a charity

Adam Uttley, Chief Financial Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support (invited)


Case Study: Demonstrating Effective Transparency and Reporting in Charity Financial Performance

  • Highlighting the importance of open disclosure of financial information for maintaining public trust
  • Outlining effective strategies for financial reporting which demonstrate transparency and accountability, including providing clear and detailed breakdowns on how donor money is spent
  • Examining how Cancer Research demonstrated income sources to the public and highlighting how this finance is utilised to meet the strategic aims of the charity and deliver public impact

Rita Akushie, Chief Finance Officer, Cancer Research UK (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

2,354 cases of serious concern over compliance, monitoring and inquiry forces were taken forward by the Charity Commission in 2017, according to their Tackling Abuse and Mismanagement 2016-2017 report in February 2018. One of the key factors causing these incidents was identified as financial mismanagement, such as fraud, financial crime and financial abuse, prompting the Commission to identify this as one of three key strategic risk areas in their risk framework.

In response to this growing concern over financial mismanagement, the Charity Commission updated a central component of their financial guidance, the CC25 guidance, in a call to trustees to improve their understanding of financial responsibilities. This came amidst a number of growing challenges for voluntary finance, including estimates from the Charity Commission that fraud is costing the voluntary sector up to £2 billion a year. It is evident that there is a lack of financial expertise and skills across the sector needed to develop sustainable and effective financial models.

Furthermore, the Charity Commission opened a consultation on the reform of accounting rules in November 2018, in response to concerns that the Statement of Reformed Practice needs to do more to increase engagement and accessibility of non-accounting stakeholders.

With the Charity Commission committing to prioritise fraud, financial crime and financial abuse, it is imperative that the voluntary sector is enhancing their financial knowledge and developing sustainable and resilient finance models which propel business growth.

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