Three great reasons to attend our Annual Public Meeting

annual-public-m_22611094_6934b396d3792f6be6fd44264cf04c1845bedea7With just a month to go, the Commission’s Annual Public Meeting is a must for anyone involved in the governance of a charity, or anyone who is interested in charity regulation. This will be the third time the Commission has run the event. There are some great reasons to sign up today:

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11 FAQs about your NI Charity Number

Charity Savings Jar

With a little help from our admin team, who deal with incoming queries every day, we have put together answers to the eleven most common questions about the NI Charity Number.

What does my NI Charity Number look like?

Your NI Charity Number starts with NI and contains six digits, for example NI123456. This number, and the fact that a charity is registered, must be displayed on all printed or online notices, advertisements and other documentation used for soliciting money or property. It must also be displayed on bills of exchange, promissory notes, endorsements, cheques and orders for money or goods, invoices, receipts and letters of credit. If in doubt, use it anyway!

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When a ‘charity’ isn’t a charity

Vector Illustration of a german Road Sign in front of a clear blue sky: No Entry. All objects are on separate layers. The colors in the .eps-file are ready for print (CMYK). Transparencies used. Included files: EPS (v10) and Hi-Res JPG.

The Commission recently published a  thematic report on charity registration refusals and why they were refused.

Since December 2013, when the process of registering charities commenced, the Commission has registered over 5,700 charities and refused just 40. While it’s rare that an organisation coming forward to register as a charity is not a charity, it’s important to understand why registration is sometimes refused.

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Changes to the registration list

The Commission has recently made some changes to its registration list following feedback from users.
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Why Young Trustees Matter

Alex SwallowI became a Trustee in my mid-twenties – I was really surprised but very pleased to be asked. I thought Trusteeship was only for people who were a lot more experienced than me. When I attended a national conference for Trustees- my first real opportunity to meet other people in my position- I realised how few young people were on Boards. After investigating the issue further and discovering it was a real problem, I set up my organisation Young Charity Trustees. Our biggest community (of current young Trustees, potential young trustees and everyone who wants to encourage Board Diversity) can be found here.

So, why does it matter that we encourage more young people to join Boards?

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What’s a serious incident and why should you act on it?

The Commission took part in an event in partnership with NIVCA last week that provided a forum for interested parties to feed back their views on Serious Incident Reporting. We were particularly interested in the reaction to our draft guidance on reporting serious incidents and were grateful for the opportunity to explain the regulatory approach behind it.

Our role is simply to ensure that any serious incident is adequately dealt with by charity trustees in accordance with their legal duties. With this aim in mind all charities, whatever their size and whatever their income, must report serious incidents to the Commission.

There are two main reasons for this.

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The dos and don’ts of street collecting

The regulations governing street collections by charities in Northern Ireland are nothing new – they have been in operation since 1927, having been the subject of legislation in the Police, Factories, etc. (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916. However, as fundraising by other methods grows, fewer and fewer volunteers are carrying out street collections. This means that many may not be as acquainted with the rules as they once were.

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The future of trusteeship

Frances McCandless, Charity Commission for Northern Ireland Chief ExecutiveAt the closing of a discussion on the leadership demands and role of trustees at the CO3 leadership conference in Belfast two weeks ago, one of my fellow panellists asked “is everything always so pleasant here?”

As far as conversations between regulators and the regulated go the conversation was very constructive with both the panellists and the audience agreeing, for the most part, on the direction of travel with regards to trusteeship. We discussed where we wanted the sector to be in five years, and what steps we were taking to make our vision a reality. Continue reading

7 tips for a better charity website

Neil Wilson, Communications Officer, Charity Commission for Northern IrelandLate last year the Commission conducted research into trust and confidence in charities amongst the Northern Ireland public. The results were interesting. While trust and confidence had expectedly taken a small hit over the last year the research also gave us an indication of how people liked their charities to be.

92% of people wanted charities to be transparent, 70% preferred them when they operated locally. 49% trusted them more if they were based in Northern Ireland and 84% wanted them to be well managed. In short, accessible, local, open and well-run charities are well placed right in the sweet spot of public perception.

A charity’s online presence should demonstrate how a charity is all of these things. But how?

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Unblurring the lines – lessons in governance from the Rainbow Project

Duane Farrell, Chair of The Rainbow ProjectHow do you make best use of the skills and experience of Trustees, while still respecting the proper roles of Trustees and senior management? 

It’s a question that has underpinned The Rainbow Project’s development of its governance structures, in the context of a new strategy that focused us on being a change agent for clients, in wider society, and within the organisation itself.  We knew Trustees had a lot to offer. But we’d been working to clarify the Board’s and executive team’s respective contributions, and didn’t want to end up blurring those lines between strategy/governance on the one hand, and management/implementation on the other. Here is what we learned.

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