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ACO Spring Conference 2014 - ACO Spring Conference 2014
Last updated November 2015

ACO Spring Conference 2014

The ACO's Spring Conference has been an opportunity to renew our collective resolve in hard times for trusts and foundations helping individuals in need. We review the conference and key addresses.

These are hard times for trusts and foundations helping individuals in need. Crisis follows crisis. Rising personal debt, flooding and reductions in State benefits are eroding beneficiaries’ ability to cope. Funds are facing a double whammy with rising levels of demand and volatile market performance, potentially eroding the growth in income needed to fund your work. This ACO conference aimed to build your resilience and ensure you get maximum bang for your buck.

Chris Mould, Chairman of the Trussell Trust was our first keynote speaker. With 900,000 receiving emergency food in the last 12 months, Chris explained how the charity has grown rapidly into a national network that is regularly in the media spotlight whilst working to empower local communities to combat poverty and exclusion.

Jay Kennedy, Director of Policy and Research at Directory of Social Change tackled the thorny perennial: what is the role of independent charities with discretionary funds in a wide ranging and thought provoking address that encompassed collaboration with others in our sector and outside, championing our beneficiaries' needs and whether solidarity best described the work of the sector.

Caron Bradshaw, Chief Executive at Charity Finance Group, explored the mood of the sector during these challenging times, asserting that CFG research demonstrates that charities are cautiously optimistic about the future despite continuing uncertainty on funding and are taking steps to enhance transparency in response to greater press scrutiny.

Paul Palmer, Professor of Voluntary Sector Management, and Associate Dean for Ethics, Sustainability and Engagement at Cass Business School combined humour and hard facts in a presentation focusing on the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), little known but for charity investment it is vital that charities understand what it means and how it applies to them.

Angela Kail, Head of Funder Effectiveness at NPC/ New Philanthropy Capital told us how charities and commissioners increasingly see collaboration as a way to access new funding, grow and improve services. But that doesn't mean it's easy. To avoid the risks, charities need to understand what makes collaboration a success.

Jason Tetley (CEO Glasspool Charitable Trust) and Jacinta Belai (Consultant) explained how one ACO member aims to double its impact within three years and delegates heard about the Trust's experience of developing a grant impact assessment framework along with the findings of their research and the recommendations on how Glasspool can develop and implement the necessary measurement tools and processes to demonstrate impact and enhance overall grantmaking effectiveness.

Fred Payne, Chief Executive of the Bank Workers Charity gave the conference a rousing address. He is passionate about developing a partnership delivery model across the benevolent sector in the UK and wants to help more people with access to early intervention support services as well as providing financial support for those in need. By utilising employee wellbeing, pensioner services and the potential to use social investment techniques to bring employers and charities together to help people in need, trusts and foundations can face the challenges of rising levels of demand and volatile income generation.

Presentations are available in the member's section of the ACO website

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