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Grant Making Forum - 21 January

Thank you to those that attended our first Grant Making Forum of 2021. Please see below for speakers who attended this event, and to download presentations from this event.

Helen Handzel - Relationship Manager at StepChange ( 

Helen will present about the work being done by one of the UK's largest debt advice services during the pandemic, and how ACO members can work with Stepchange during a time where it is predicted more beneficiaries may be in need of debt advice.

Peter Gilheany - Charity Director at Forster Communications (  

Peter will be speaking about the charity sector's joint #NeverMoreNeeded campaign, which was established in 2020 during the pandemic to press the government for much-needed charity sector support. Peter will be giving an update on the campaign so far, and its plans for 2021.

Communications agency Forster Communications have been helping charities to shape this campaign since its inception. Peter is charity director at Forster Communications and has spent 25 years working in and for the voluntary sector. He started out at CSV, the volunteering charity, helped to create the Gift Aid It brand and has run hundreds of campaigns for charities across every issue and aspect of the sector.

Cassandra Beattie (Senior Business Development Manager) and Peter Dando (Sales Director) at Blackhawk Network - (  

Blackhawk Network are a major UK supplier of gift card & voucher solutions, both digital and physical. Currently they are supporting charities with their hardship fund disbursement using Select rewards. The reasons this method is being used to support charities and impact their workload quite significantly in a positive way are:

•Providing beneficiaries with a range of retailers that they can redeem their value, which can be customised;

•Reducing admin and processing of bank transfers, purchase of individual gift cards etc. that you may currently do;

•Improve the audit trail as no cash would be given;

•Rewards would be received within 24 hours of an order being placed (but usually this is actually 1-4 hours);

•Provide reporting which would show retailer redemptions to give you some MI;

•A customised and personalised message sent to each recipient;

•No initial or ongoing fees.

Peter has been the Sales Director at Blackhawk Network and has worked in the reward, incentive & recognition industry for over 10 years. Prior to Blackhawk, he headed up the Corporate sales team at Red Letter Days working for the entrepreneurs Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis. He is a keen sports enthusiast and in his spare time coaches his son's local football team. He is looking forward to finding out how Blackhawk can extend their support of charities in the grant disbursement arena and share some insight of their work in this sector from 2020.

Cassandra has been a Senior Business Development Manager at Blackhawk Network for 5 years and was previously living in Ireland and working as a Qualified Financial Advisor. Cassandra has always been the expert for our Select product in the team but over the past 12 months has really expanded her knowledge and grown the client base working with charities, local authorities and employers who have all had grants to disburse to individuals. Cassandra enjoys boxing and Muay Thai boxing and had been due to do her first cage fight this year which was sadly cancelled.


Icon Blackhawk Network - Grant Making Forum presentation


Copy of the presentation delivered by Blackhawk Network at ACO's GMF

Icon StepChange - GMF Presentation


Copy of the presentation delivered by StepChange at ACO's Grant Making Forum

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