As a charity it’s important to take advantage of all the help and support you can get and it’s sometimes difficult to find.
Having spent many hours searching for ways of reducing costs in some of the most expensive areas of running small charities I have found a few great places to get started.
Here are my 5 favourite places for providing you with some free or very low cost items:
Charity Technology Exchange – www.ctxchange.org
This programme allows eligible charities to request donations of partner technology such as Microsoft and Cisco. For a small admin fee on each requested technology you can get up-to-date software packages for your charity.
Office 2010, SQL Server, Cisco Routers and Huddle subscriptions are just some of the catalogue of technologies you could access.
Most charities are on old Office packages or using servers which just don’t do what they need to do so this is the perfect way of getting that much needed upgrade.
InKind Direct - www.inkinddirect.org
This charity matches surplus supply with demand. They have a large catalogue of products you can purchase for a very small amount of money.
Only catch is these can’t be purchased for selling or using to raise money in any way. But with items such as office stationery, clothing, toys and games and household items there is plenty that your office could use.
I found this site great for everyday items such as toilet rolls, cleaning products and general stationery as well as being able to purchase some games and toys for events.
Charity Days – www.ukcharitydays.co.uk
This is a group of volunteer trainers who will trainer charity workers in a wide variety of areas such as Team Building, Communication, IT or Health and Safety.
They will cover nearly anything, you send in your request and they send an email to all their trainers seeing who might be able to help. The only catch is you pay for their travel, accommodation (if needed) and production of materials.
And you will of course need to arrange a training room and arrange course attendance yourself. This will amount to a hell of a lot less that getting a trainer from a company in which is likely to cost around £400 per half day.
The Foundation for Social Improvement – www.thefsi.org
This organisation aims to build strong charities with skills in networking and funding. They are a bit more restricted with who they help, your raised voluntary income needs o be less than £1.5million and you have to be 100% not for profit.
But if you meet this you will have access to over 100 courses a year ranging from Managing Volunteers to Developing a Fundraising Strategy, and having attended many of these courses I can say they are very professional and very useful.
Although all the courses are in London they can help with travel costs for smaller charities as well as now doing roadshows – taking their most popular courses across the country. They also run advice clinics, consultations and fundraising events.
Free Charity Website – www.charitywebsite.org
This company sets up a professional looking website for you for free. They design you a website that fits your brand and can even put on various features for you such as forums and donation pages. This is great for small charities that are just starting out or charities who have fallen a bit behind the times with their website and need a new look. All you pay for is the website hosting and you even get some training on the website thrown in for free although more in depth training comes at a cost. Once the website is up and running you can choose to run it yourself or use the company to help with updates which is charged at a standard hourly charge. Websites are becoming more and more important to charities in raising awareness and funds so being able to get a professional, working website for free is a big bonus.
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