/blog/The Neighbourly blog | NeighbourlyRead the Neighbourly blog for our latest news, resources and information about our fundraising, volunteering and surplus programmes.

Community Survey Reveals Impact of Covid-19 on Small Charities

6 August 2020
community survey covid-19 header

The past six months has been a learning curve for charities, companies and organisations - and it’s not been easy.


Knowing that our business partners stand with us in working together to actively recognise the critical importance of grassroots level organisations during this time of crisis has been both humbling and incredibly promising for their futures..


Over the course of March and April, we launched our Community Fund in partnership with M&S, giffgaff, HEINEKEN, Coca-cola European Partners, Aldi, Southern Coop, Lidl and Nutricia (Danone) - raising over £1.2million.


This is being distributed in £400 microgrants across more than 3,000 of our network of vetted charities and good causes, impacting the 700,000+ people they support per week in their local communities. 


During the same time period, major publishers Penguin and Hachette UK donated a combined total of over 30,000 books, giffgaff and Doro partnered to donate 500 phones and free credit for isolated older people and combined food surplus donations from our partners M&S, Lidl, Aldi and Innocent reached over 6 million meals during the lockdown weeks alone.


As most of the country now starts to move out of lockdown, we need to maintain the momentum we’ve achieved together, in working towards a society that leaves no one behind.

A Community Voice

Our latest Community Survey* involved over 1,200 of the good causes in the Neighbourly community to identify both their strengths and their concerns and to get their collective voice heard - so we know exactly where efforts need to be directed in the coming months.


Of those who responded to our survey, the majority were at the very heart of their local community with 32% working in the area of ‘Community and Inclusion’ and 21% within ‘Food Provision’.


variety of organisation type

Impact of Covid-19

When the government announced the start of lockdown measures in March, businesses, families and communities all had to adapt at lightning speed. But for the many who were vulnerable, unwell, isolated or had little money or access to food, the need for support surged.


93% of small charities and good causes were impacted by the Covid economic crisis and rise in demand. Of that, one third described this impact as ‘severe’.


Our network of charities and causes report that they have now more than doubled the number of people they support each week, with the average number rising to an estimated 299 per organisation, per week.


surge in charity demand

With this incredible surge in demand it wasn’t long before charities, communities and teams of volunteers became the biggest innovators of all, working around the clock to get essential food, medicine and support to those in need.



social distancing affects on charities

Almost overnight, organisations and their volunteers were coming together to transform their services, with almost 75% completely remodelling and 46% forced to temporarily pause one or more of their usual services. 


We saw small charities embracing digital technology to stay in touch with service users, as well as developing their own hot meal and food parcel delivery services and finding clever ways to keep the most vulnerable in their communities both supported and safe.

Volunteering and Civic Spirit

At the start of the UK’s lockdown, a surge in volunteering and civic spirit was seen with thousands registering to offer support to both the NHS and local Covid response groups. With the theme of community suddenly at the forefront of the public’s mind, 6 in 10 of the charities we surveyed also reported having benefited from a rise in volunteering and civic spirit at this time.


However, with many lives now returning to some semblance of normality, some charities are concerned about the impact of this support dropping off. For example, 60% of the new volunteer recruits charities estimated were furloughed staff - many of whom will have already either faced the need to tackle personal unemployment or return to work.


Schemes such as our Remote Employee Volunteering programme launched in June and supported by businesses including The FA, Danone and Samsung, offers a solution to some of the essential adhoc and ongoing support many charities need - without the worries of social distancing.


But in order to ensure that schemes like this continue to have impact, charities need more companies to come onboard, offering their employees the means to use some of their time and talents to help small charities in their local communities.


Future Outlook

The majority (just under two thirds) of the small charities we surveyed are feeling positive about the future and their ability to continue for at least the next 6 months without needing to close any services.


The future of our small charities needs continued support however, to maintain both positivity and the practical resources required to continue to meet the level of need in their local communities in the longer term.

Continued Focus

As well as the changes small charities have seen, several key societal issues remain at the forefront of our communities.


Our survey asked small charities about their involvement and support of both black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities and children and families struggling with holiday hunger this summer.

BAME support

Black and minority ethnic communities in the UK make up around 13% of the population, yet they are overrepresented in the most deprived neighbourhoods. On Neighbourly, BAME communities represent 25% of people supported across all small charities and community groups.


support for bame communities

Whilst local grassroots organisations are not and should not be the only solution to the discrimination faced by millions, financial donations and support can help to redress some of the imbalance - allowing charities to continue to support those in the BAME community who are most negatively affected. 


Small charities and community groups are part of an incredibly important network of campaigners who never tire. They are voices for the rights of BAME communities and fight to address the specific injustices faced on a personalised and localised level. 

Holiday Hunger

The UK is now well into its school summer holidays and, according to the government, around 1.3 million children should be receiving meal vouchers to help cover the free school meals they would’ve been getting during term time.


However, with 41 % of the charities we surveyed reporting involvement in holiday hunger provision (such as provision of holiday clubs with free meals or food parcels), there is clearly still a gap for many children who are not sufficiently covered by our current welfare system.


holiday hunger provision from charities

As we recently discussed in our report on the latest research from the House of Lords Select Committee, holiday food provision to children in the UK is a growing issue. A lack of regular and healthy nutrition can mean children on lower incomes lack the concentration and energy to learn, play and grow in line with their peers - deepening generational poverty in the process.


For charities, this need to focus on nutrition detracts from other areas of focus such as provision of additional education support, emotional and mental health support and more. Hunger is unfortunately just one dimension of the difficulties that individuals and families are facing and it is important that we take a holistic view of local community need, considering an individual’s need for nourishment and support beyond food. 

Build Back Together

Small charities can offer tailored services that meet the unique needs of their local communities in a way that nationwide programmes aren’t set up to do. This puts large businesses in a unique position to be able to offer support on a local scale, where impact is greatest.


Supporting small charities kick starts a positive feedback loop for both people and businesses in the local area, reducing issues often exacerbated by poverty and inequality. 


Small charities and local causes need more help now than ever before in order not only to survive but to thrive and transform local communities - positively impacting society from the inside out.


The businesses that we partner with are key to providing the specialist resources, time and funds to small charities that help make this happen. For us, they provide one of the biggest solutions to allow us to #BuildBackTogether.


If you're a business that's looking to support local communities or the Neighbourly Community Fund, click here to find out more about donating product surplus, volunteers and funds.


* The Community Survey was carried out between June and July 2020 and had 1,264 responses. All respondents represented small charities and community causes registered on the Neighbourly platform.

Pt 2. Ways to be Neighbourly during the Coronavirus outbreak

27 March 2020
four ways to be neighbourly during the coronavirus outbreak

Here at Neighbourly, we’ve been inspired and amazed to see the incredible efforts from local communities across the country in the last week.

Since the first edition of our blog ‘Pt 1. How to support your local community during the Coronavirus outbreak’, M&S, Coca-Cola European Partners, Danone UK & Ireland, ALDI and Lidl have put a total of almost £500k into our new Community Fund which is providing micro-grants to over 1,000 local good causes registered on Neighbourly, during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Lidl has also set up customer food donation points in stores and begun work on putting together food and supply boxes to be distributed to those who are vulnerable during the outbreak through its Feed It Back Campaign – and that’s just the news at Neighbourly.

Out there in the community, nearly half a million people have signed up to volunteer for the NHS during the crisis and we’re hearing and seeing hundreds of heart warming stories of people supporting others in a myriad of different ways – from virtual dance parties to stop loneliness to neighbourhood groups dropping supplies to those in need.

We know so many people want to get involved and help in as many ways as possible, so we’ve put together our “part two” of tips for how to best help your community.

Volunteering

For anyone wanting to lend a hand to help the NHS, the way to sign up is via Good Sam. Once you’ve signed up to volunteer, they will alert you on opportunities to help in your local area with everything from transferring patients home once they’re well enough to be discharged from hospital, to assisting pharmacies with medication delivery.

If seeing all this volunteering happen has inspired you, you can also sign up to become a Red Cross Reserve Volunteer to help both now and in any future emergencies.

(Please note: Volunteer Red Cross and NHS Responders are no longer being accepted at the moment but check back again in the future.)

Neighbourhood groups

With so many amazing people keen to help, some streets can have multiple volunteers willing to go out of their way to help neighbours in need.

To help create a more collaborative and joined up approach, many of these volunteers are coming together to agree on one person being the main point of contact for their neighbourhood or street. This makes it much easier for those who are vulnerable to know exactly who to contact if the need help.

Using social media and chat apps, the main point of contact can coordinate within their volunteer group for each task that comes in.

With one point of contact willing to link with multiple people offering help, problems can be solved much more efficiently.

If you don’t know of any other volunteers in your area and still want to help, we’ve created a Neighbourly card you can print out and pop through your neighbour’s doors to let them know you’re there for them.


self isolating coronavirus help card neighbourly


Virtual fundraising

If you’re one of the many people left saddened by a cancelled fundraising event you’ve been working hard on, don’t despair. Try taking to your webcam and coming up with a whacky idea to raise funds for local charities from your sofa. There are plenty of free tools out there to help such as Zoom video conferencing and Facebook Live.

We asked the Neighbourly team for some of their ideas for virtual fundraisers to get you started:

  • Virtual quiz or ‘pub’ night
  • Virtual talent competition
  • Virtual fancy dress contest
  • Back garden marathon
  • Street sing-off (from your windows!)

To find local charities and community groups that need your best fundraising efforts, head to the Neighbourly website.

Community Kindness

Finally, you may have noticed rainbows appearing in the windows of your neighbour’s flats and houses. This was started to bring cheer for children on walks round their neighbourhood.

Popping a rainbow in your window is an easy way to make a friendly gesture to your neighbours.

Just remember, you don’t have to be an artist to draw a rainbow – and you don’t need to be a child to go rainbow spotting either!



Image

(Image Credit: Rowan Clark)

If you liked this blog and want more advice, check out part one of how to help your local community during the Coronavirus outbreak. If you share it on Twitter, don’t forget to follow and tag us @nbrly.

How to support your local community during the Coronavirus outbreak

18 March 2020
nw bristol foodbank

Here at Neighbourly we know now, more than ever, how important it is to support local communities.

With almost 12,000 local good causes on the Neighbourly platform, we’re already hearing directly about the effects of Covid-19 on efforts to help those who are vulnerable – but also the amazing adaptability of organisations determined to keep these essential services running.

However, food banks are already running low on supplies and many parents are worried that they won’t be able to afford to feed their children during school closures.

For the thousands of employee volunteers and fundraisers using the Neighbourly platform, the work environment has been rapidly changing too – with many now working remotely and others drafted in to work in hard hit departments – particularly across health and retail.

Despite this, communities are coming together in force to offer much needed local support to those in need. 

So whilst we might not be able to run programmes in the usual way, we do have a few suggestions on how you can continue to stay neighbourly and support local communities over the next few weeks and months.


Donations

Do donate (or continue donating) to food bank collections at your local supermarket if you can. If you can’t make it to the supermarket, consider making a food or financial donation online.

Click here to find Neighbourly good causes that accept online donations. If you’re keen to donate locally, you can filter the results by postcode by using the search bar on the right-hand side.

If you’re shopping online, check to see if your supermarket takes financial donations to food banks – this money can be used to purchase additional supplies as demand increases from those who are vulnerable during the pandemic.


Support

Get in touch with your local charities and food banks to see how you can support them. They’re in the best place to let you know if they could do with additional volunteer help, cash or donations of supplies. You can find your nearest good causes and food banks via the Neighbourly platform.

People are also forming local groups across the country – often using social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp to communicate and mobilise. Check to see if any groups have formed in your local area where they can help put you in touch with those in need.

If you’re unsure where to start, try typing the beginning of your post code into the Facebook search bar to see if any local groups already exist.

You can also find local groups listed on the new Covid Mutual Aid website.

Alternatively, a woman in Falmouth has come up with an innovative solution for offering help to those self-isolating. Simply print and fill out these postcards and pop them through your neighbours' doors. You don’t have to offer practical support, some of the people you reach may just want a friendly voice to chat to on the phone – particularly if they are forced to self-isolate alone.

Image

Advice and resources

For those that are concerned or worried about themselves or others, there are so many resources out there to help. Here are just a few that we think are particularly useful for local communities.

If you have concerns about the elderly and vulnerable, take a look at the advice from Age Concern.

If you are struggling with anxiety related to the pandemic, or have other mental health concerns for either yourself or others in your community, head over to Mind and their suggestions for ‘Coronavirus and mental wellbeing’.

For those with links to local day centres and homeless shelters, the government has released specific advice for how to deal with the coronavirus


Community response

Finally, we’ve been supporting efforts from a collaboration of community-focused organisations including Eden Project Communities and the Lottery Fund with their Community Covid 19 Action Response which has some easy but important suggestions for how to support your local community. You can see the top five in their illustration below.


Image


Please note, if you have any concerns for your health or the health of others, please refer to the government advice and NHS guidance.

Creating your free page on Neighbourly just got easier

15 November 2018

A page on Neighbourly can help Charities and Community Groups raise their profile and receive donations of money, time and surplus food/products from our corporate clients. It's also a great place to share stories and all the good work being done to support local communities.

Over the last few months, we’ve been making it even easier for good causes to create a free page on neighbourly.com. Based on feedback from our community, we have released a new step-by-step process to guide people through creating their page and setting up their goals - whether that be food donations, fundraising or volunteer support.


Create your free page in a few easy steps

Following the step-by-step process you can tell us about your organisation and provide an image so people can understand what your organisation does. We also ask for some information about yourself so we can create an account and let you know about all the different opportunities that could benefit you.

You’ll know where you are in the process and what you still need to complete by the steps at the top of the page.


The clever bit…..

We’ve connected with the The Charities Commission and Companies House and can now look-up registration numbers for any Charities and Community Interest Companies (CIC).

When entering a registration number we can search and display the official information and also use those details to pre-populate the name, description, contact details and address - making it even quicker and easier for you:

null

This information is made available under the Open Government License v2.0


Tell us what your organisation needs

Whilst creating a Neighbourly a page you can quickly start fundraising, create a volunteer event or request food surplus from our corporate clients:

null

After you’ve completed steps 1 to 5, just publish your page and share it on your social networks to get started! If you’ve requested food donations, we’ll be in touch to let you know about local stores that can support you.

We’re always busy working with our corporate clients on delivering new community programmes, so rest assured we’ll be in touch as soon as we think there’s something we can help you with.


Ready to get started?

Simply click the link here to start your page: https://www.neighbourly.com/goodcause/new/


Tell us what you think

We hope you find creating your Neighbourly page easy and would love to know what you think. Please email us at support@neighbourly.com.

New features are being developed and released all the time and we are always looking for people to provide feedback. If you would like to join our user testing community please email: product@neighbourly.com.

How To: Help Your Local Animal Shelter

1 February 2018
Image

Britain is a nation of animal lovers and if you're anything like me (jumping for joy at every dog you come across in the street), then helping out at your local animal shelter is a great way to spend some free time.

Unfortunately there's a variety of reasons a pet can end up in a shelter. The obvious ones are the worst: cases of abuse and neglect. But sometimes it could be that the owner has passed away and there's nowhere left for their pet to go. The owner might have developed a serious or long term illness which means they can't care for them properly anymore.

There are often more of these cases than there are spaces in animal shelters. Staff at these animal shelters rely on donations to help keep doors open and volunteers to help them with their day to day care of the animals.

So what can you do to help?

Social media: they say charity starts at home, or in some cases, wherever you are with your mobile phone! You can start by sharing updates from your local shelter or adoption profiles on your social media channels. We know that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest etc. are huge sources of information for most folks these days. Imagine you share little Bubbles' adoption profile on your Instagram tomorrow and next week she's off to her forever home because of it!

Photography: another useful and super fun activity you can volunteer for. For every pet up for adoption, a new mugshot is needed. Pets need to look their best for their adoption profiles and your photograph might capture the smile somebody has been looking for. Good quality photos of day to day activities, staff, volunteers and housing at the charity will also be really useful for the shelter to use for their own social media channels.

Transport: do you have a car? Transporting animals is a key need for charities - they need transport to get to the vet or maybe their new foster home. What better companion on the road riding shotgun than a four legged friend?

Socialising: this one is everyone's favourite! Dogs and cats need socialising to help them alleviate loneliness and distress that often comes with the shift from home to shelter life. Dogs will need exercising and cats will need cuddling - this human contact also helps them build on becoming more comfortable with new and different people.

Donating items: by donating stuff this means the charity doesn't need to use hard earned monetary donations on the purchasing of items when it could be used towards something crucial like vet bills. It's always best to check with your local shelter what they need, but they will always welcome beds, blankets, toys, cat litter and food etc. Well loved and used items are fine but make sure they're still in a relatively good condition. I'm sure you wouldn't want to sleep in a bed that's been chewed to pieces either!


Image

DIY skills: if you're good with your hands or have a group of friends willing to help, then skills like gardening and carpentry are always appreciated. There will always be bits that need mending - fences to put up, walls to paint, plants to prune! Gardening will also help the premises look more homely for its residents and provide lots of smells for the ones who like to follow their noses.

Laundry: this is probably one you haven't thought of before, but can you imagine how many blankets, towels and beds need washing? This one is sure to score you some brownie points, even if it's just volunteering half an hour to come in and throw a few loads in the washing machine. It means another member of staff can use that time to exercise a few extra animals - or just give them a well earned break.

Fundraising: this is obvious but vital to keep a shelter running. More often than not they rely on donations from generous donors and fundraisers or local grants. But with budgets being cut all over the nation, it's getting increasingly more difficult. These donations help to feed animals, pay for expensive vet bills and keeping the premises warm and running. Most staff work on a voluntary basis because there just aren't enough funds to go around, but these people give their time to work each day around the clock. There are a million ways to fundraise! From a bake sale at your local supermarket (remember to ask their permission first) to an epic skydive wearing a cat costume - it's all for a great cause and you'll have a blast doing it.

Fostering: this comes with some measure of responsibility and won't suit everyone. You'll likely need to be someone who's home a lot so that when your new furry housemate comes to stay, you can help them adjust and relax. Fostering is a great way to get animals used to human contact and the comings and goings of home life and is vital when the shelter runs out of room for the next animal who needs it. Who knows, you may find that having them around isn't so bad and they might be able to join your family full time :)

Take a look at some of our animal rescue on projects and see how you can help!


About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can lend a hand. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, donating or giving a day to volunteer.


10 ways to use up bread

30 March 2017
bread

Whether we’re grabbing a sandwich in our lunch hour or having a cheeky slice of buttered toast after a night out, us Brits love bread. It seems strange then that bread is the most wasted food here in the UK. Nearly half of us eat bread every day, yet we throw away 24 million slices of bread every day. Worse yet, one in five of us have thrown a loaf away without even opening it.

But, as the old saying goes, it doesn’t have to be this way. With these few basic tips you can give your loaf the longest life possible, get creative and also have some fun with it.

1.   Freeze it

If you have a decent sized freezer, you can have your bread and eat it – simply take a slice out and pop it in the toaster whenever you fancy it. Waste avoided. If you have a look in your supermarket’s reduced section, it’s quite possible to spend mere pence on a loaf to save some cash. If it’s an un-sliced loaf, slice before freezing.

On a side note, putting it in the fridge actually makes it go off quicker.

2.   Bread and butter pudding

Mop up those sad slices of old bread by whipping up a bread and butter pudding. There are various takes on it, but this easy recipe says you can prep it in five minutes. Throw in your bread with some fridge and cupboard essentials and voila – perfect comfort food.

3.   Breadcrumbs

If your kids leave their crusts, or you don't like those end bits, here’s a perfect ways to use them up. Pop them in a food processor to transform them into a versatile ingredient. Impressive on mac’n’cheese, breadcrumbs are also handy as a binding ingredient to make your own burgers. Thicken a soup into a filling meal or throw them into an easy meatloaf. If ever there was an excuse to get creative in the kitchen, this is one.

4.   French Toast

Does a better way exist to cheer everyone up on a lazy Sunday morning than French toast? Grab your bread, egg, milk and the vanilla extract and cinnamon from the back of the cupboard, dip then fry. Tres bon.

5.   Croutons

Cheer up any salad or pasta dish (and impress your friends) with homemade croutons. Chop, oil and fry cubes of bread or pop them in the oven for a few minutes and they’ll be good for a few days. Why not make them chunkier for a Bruschetta style base? Top with mozzarella, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil for a great appetiser.

6.   Ale

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can transform that extra bread into tasty ale. The brilliant Toast Ale have kindly open-sourced their recipe to encourage bread waste-busting home brewers.

7.   Toast 2.0

Now’s your chance to take things to the next level: if you’ve never really got on the avocado toast bandwagon, this is the time to dip your toe. What about peanut butter and banana for an energy-boosting snack? Or peanut butter and Nutella for a delicious, Reese’s Cups-inspired dessert. Then there's always poached egg and spinach. Or simply channel your inner Paddington bear and let loose with the marmalade. The possibilities are endless.

8.   Stuffing

Give stale bread a seat at the holiday table by teaming it with an onion and plenty of seasoning to make a delicious stuffing. Good inside or outside a turkey.

9.   Cheese fondue

Be like the Swiss and get on the phone to your cheese loving friends pronto. Tear or cut your bread into chunks and this 15-minute no-fuss recipe will get you a bubbling pot of cheese fondue in no time.

10. Bread sauce

Bread that is a bit dried out or stale also makes the best Sunday dinner sauce. You don't have to wait for Christmas - double cream, a bay leaf and a bit of onion elevate a simple bread sauce to something great for any roast poultry dinner. Try this easy french bread sauce if you have a french stick that is past its best.

 

About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can donate time, money or surplus food. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, donating or giving a day to volunteer.

Charities: get your project started here

Businesses: email us about memberships on hello@neighbourly.com

Supporters & volunteers: sign up to be part of the Neighbourly network here - or simply find a project you care about and share it to help spread the word!

How to be happier and healthier in 2017

10 January 2017
happy_volunteer

The New Year is a wonderful opportunity to think about how we can make life better for ourselves and do things differently. But conventional resolutions are often about restraint, and countless, sadly, fall flat on their face.

What if I told you there was another way to be happier and healthier this New Year, and no diet or cross-training machine is required? In fact, this activity is scientifically proven to make your life better in a number of ways without costing a dime.

What is it? Volunteering.

More than just an altruistic glow and the satisfaction of helping others, volunteering actually gives a lot back to the one doing the helping.

It turns out that from your physical health and happiness levels to improving your career prospects, volunteering is very worthwhile if you want to make life better!

Let’s examine the benefits in greater detail, and how much volunteering you should do to reap the rewards.


Why should I volunteer?

A great bod

Those that volunteer are good hearted in more ways than one. This research showed that people who volunteered regularly were less likely to develop high blood pressure over four years than those who didn’t volunteer. Volunteers were also more likely to use preventative health care services like cholesterol checks and flu shots. Better yet, a sense of purpose, that you feel with volunteering, is linked with better heart health.

 

Quality of life

This sense of purpose, as mentioned above, is helped in no small part by increased social connections. We now know that loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking. Connecting with your community and staying active all make life a little better.

 

Emotional health 

Whether it’s connecting with another person or working with animals, the social aspect of volunteering can reduce stress, anxiety and depression – all of which can contribute to positive physical health. It’s a virtuous circle.

 

Happiness 

Heard of the “helper’s high” or “giver’s glow”? Helping others gives us a generous helping of happy chemical dopamine in the brain. Of people that volunteered weekly, 16% felt “very happy” – that’s a hike in happiness comparable to a salary of $75,000–$100,000 rather than $20,000 (say the researchers!)

 

Making friends

Gathering around a shared activity with like-minded people is the perfect spark for making friends. Volunteering can help you improve your social skills and expand your connections. It’s worth knowing that little else matches the happiness we get from friendship.

 

More time

One of the reasons you might not volunteer is due to time constraints, yet paradoxically, volunteers who give their time often feel like they have more of it – in the same way that people who give to charity often feel like they’re wealthier. Strange but true.

 

Career benefits 

Businesses look more favourably on your CV if you have voluntary experience – it shows that you’re a hard worker, and keen to acquire knowledge and skills. For those considering a career leap, volunteering can provide a taster and a chance to get some experience under your belt.

 

How often should I volunteer?

So, how much should you volunteer to reap all these benefits? First of all, you’ll enjoy it a lot more if you’re volunteering for a cause you actually care about. Try searching on Neighbourly’s volunteering board for an activity you’re interested in.

Weekly volunteers enjoy the biggest hike in happiness – with 16% of those that did feeling “very happy”. People who volunteered monthly and every two to four weeks rose their odds of being very happy by 7% and 12% respectively.

 

But you don’t have to make volunteering a very regular thing to enjoy the benefits. In fact, there’s a certain sweet spot to volunteering – just 2-3 hours a week – after which the benefits no longer stack up the more you do. If you did indeed volunteer 100 hours in 2017, you can expect a boost in your self-esteem, happiness and satisfaction a year later.

Good luck!


About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can lend a hand. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, donating or giving a day to volunteer.

How to write a compelling project story

19 December 2016
typing

Once upon a time, a charity like yours decided to set up a profile on Neighbourly.

What is it about storytelling that grabs our attention? Well, we’ve been telling stories for thousands of years; they’re more memorable than facts, activate more of our brains and make us twice as generous when it comes to donating.

So it begs the question – are you telling a story about your charity, and if so, what story are you telling?

When businesses and potential supporters arrive at your project page, they’ll probably head straight for your description to understand exactly what your organisation (or project) is about. This could be the make or break moment when they try to determine whether your cause is something that they want to align with.

You could probably write pages and pages about your organisation and the background of your project, but writing a compelling project story means distilling it down to its essence. Here are some ideas on engaging supporters with your organisation's story.

 

Why should people support you?

As someone close to your charity, you can probably think of plenty of reasons why people should support your organisation. Start by noting these down, as this will help tell your story.

 

Consider starting off with a specific anecdote

There’s a reason why many public speakers kick off with a personal anecdote – as humans, we’re wired to hear them! It also helps us to relate to and empathise with a scenario. For example, a story of someone suffering from homelessness might begin with redundancy, divorce or other negative life event that could happen to anyone.

 

What story would you like to tell?

You might depict a fictional person that represents your ‘average’ service user, or a real person that experienced true transformation thanks to your organisation. Perhaps that person is a volunteer, or you might want to explore the story of how your group came to fruition. Regardless of what story you choose, make it feel personal - your supporters are influenced more by their emotions than rationality.

 

How to tell a story

Traditionally, the story arc is a three-act structure: setup, confrontation and resolution. A good way to break that down is to introduce your character, a challenge they need to overcome, what action they took with the help of your charity (and donors), and finally the impact this has on their life.

 

Back your story up with facts

Once you’ve explored the individual’s story, zoom out and illustrate the trends at large. How many people are affected by this problem? Is the situation getting worse? What does the future look like for those affected if nothing is done?

You may have already introduced the great work your organisation does in the story at the beginning, but again, you can broaden the information out. How many people are you helping? How is that impacting society? What kind of future are you working towards?

 

Be specific how support will help

If you’re raising funds or rallying volunteers on Neighbourly, share exactly what this support will achieve, both in practical terms (such as renovating a space) and in terms of impact. This might be making your centre more pleasant for beneficiaries to be in, but also enabling you to help even more people.

 

Consider the person reading about your project

Why should they help your organisation rather than another one tackling the same issue? Why now? Remember that both people and businesses are looking to help causes that reflect their own worldview, so be clear on what your vision is.

Also, use language that your audience will understand. Your supporters might be emotionally engaged with your cause, but not an expert on the subject. Avoid jargon and always try to explain things in the simplest manner possible.

 

Get inspired

It’s always helpful to take inspiration from how other charities choose to tell their story. Take a look at the other projects looking for support on neighbourly.


About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can lend a hand. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, donating or giving a day to volunteer.


 

Bringing your project story to life through photos

5 December 2016
girl_photo

It’s an old proverb that says, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and marketers have certainly cottoned on to this trend. In short, 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text, and content with visuals gets 94% more views.

                                                                                   

We know that charitable giving is more likely an emotional response rather than rational logic, and visual mediums like photos are helpful to invoke that emotion.

 

The good news is that you don’t need technical equipment to take great photos – your smartphone is perfectly adequate and available to you most of the time! Taking your own photos can often provide a much more insightful and authentic representation of your organisation than even the most professional stock photos.

 

The aim really is about taking better images – how do you take capture your mission in a photo? How do you get people to feel something about your organisation in an instant? Not everyone will get to visit your organisation or be there with you on the front-line, so consider this an opportunity to give outsiders a window into what you do.

 

You can include pictures on your project and fundraising pages on Neighbourly to help bring your story to life. Here are some ideas on what to capture with your pictures to attract more support.

 

Try a mixture of planned and spontaneous shots 

Think about what story you’d like to capture and what shots you’d like to try before you get your smartphone or camera out. Perhaps you have particular beneficiaries in mind that you’d like to involve in portraits, or you want to get some snaps at an event.

 

Don’t be afraid to capture something unexpected on the day also. You can experiment and discard them later if they didn’t work out how you intended – but you might be capturing a vital part of the story that you hadn’t considered before.

 

Take plenty 

We live in a digital world where we’re no longer limited by the amount of film we have. Get creative and allow yourself to play. Try taking a portrait of a service user, and then take some of them interacting in the space, and see which communicates more powerfully.

 

Include humans in your photo 

Ideally, you want those who look at your photograph to be emotionally moved by it, and having people in your photo adds that crucial layer. You might have a beautifully kept garden, but having your service users interacting with it will be the element that transforms your photo. Experiment with bringing another person (or group) into the frame, and see how that affects the dynamic of the photo.

 

Even if your organisation is an animal charity, you can include photos of an employee interacting with the animals, or a family with their new pet.


Food_kitchen

 

Tell your story with one or more photos 

Your photo can still tell a story in just one frame. The first step is to identify what your community’s story is, and try to capture those elements within the picture.

 

To expand your story across several photos, consider contrasting images. Try capturing the realities of life for people before using your service and during or after. How have their circumstances and emotions changed?

 

Make your subjects feel comfortable 

If you’re doing posed photographs, help your subjects feel at ease by explaining in advance what you are doing, and what the photos will be used for. When shooting, try to encourage the emotion you are trying to capture – if you want a broad smile, for example, see if you can get them to laugh!  

 

Avoid stereotypical images 

There are plenty of photos on the web of people standing in a group looking chummy. Try to capture some real interaction between them, or the ‘doing’ element of your project instead.

 

Also, consider how you might capture something that isn’t immediately visual. For example, the “headclutcher” is often used to depict mental health, yet most people surveyed didn’t think this accurately represented what it’s actually like to have a mental health issue. If in doubt, ask some of your beneficiaries who are in a good place to advise. They might have ideas of their own.

 

Don’t be afraid to get close                                                                                             

It can be tempting to stand back to avoid interfering in the action, but close ups can really capture facial expressions and emotions that might not be as poignant far away.


SSG_child

                                                                                                                     

Ask others for their opinion

Which pictures make you feel something? Which ones tell your story best? Ask a colleague or even someone outside the organisation to see which photos “speak” to people the most.

 

Upload your images to your neighbourly project page, and be sure to share it with your networks.


About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can lend a hand. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, donating or giving a day to volunteer.



How to create a fundraising page on Neighbourly

17 November 2016
Donate

Project pages on Neighbourly can now be used for fundraising - and both companies and individuals can support these campaigns. Setting up your fundraising page takes no time at all. Here’s how.


Am I eligible?

As long as your project is for a registered charity or CIC, you can apply to receive donations from members of the public via Neighbourly.


Who can donate, and how?

Companies can ‘pledge’ to projects on Neighbourly and then make an offline donation. Individuals are able to make card donations, right there and then.


How do I get started?

To get started you'll need to have a Neighbourly account, and once you're logged in, create your first project page, making sure you fill in all the sections of the form. Please be sure to include your registered charity number on your project page as this makes the approval process quicker. Also include your Gift Aid number, if applicable, as donors will be offered the option to include a Gift Aid declaration as part of their donation.

It's worth mentioning on your main project page what you're fundraising for and what the money will be spent on, but there is more space to expand on this when you create your first fundraising 'pot' - more on that below. Save your project to publish it on the website.


How do I request card donations?

1. Make sure you are logged in to neighbourly.com 

2. Find your project page by clicking on your profile (top right), then selecting 'dashboard'. Click on the 'Projects' tab, followed by the 'Managing' tab. 

3. Click on your chosen project tile and press the 'edit' button at the top of the project page

4. Scroll down about half way and make sure the box ‘I’d like to receive donations via credit card payments from individuals’ is ticked. This will send a request to us for approval, and we’ll normally come back to you within three working days - usually sooner.

5. The next step is to make sure your payment account is set up and ready to receive donations. Just below the tick box mentioned above there is a ‘Connect to Stripe’ button which will direct you to set up an account with our payment provider. Click on this to either connect an existing account or set up a new one.


How do I set up my fundraising page?

It's easy! Once you've received a message from us that your project is approved, click on the ‘Fundraising’ tab on the project page and press the blue ‘Create fundraising pot’ button.

Fill in the form with a description, your fundraising goal and include an engaging image. This is your opportunity to tell people why they should donate. What work does your charity do, and why is it so important? How does this particular programme help? Why is it urgent now, rather than next year?

You can choose your start and end dates by clicking on ‘Show advanced options’ and input your dates. You can also include an optional deadline countdown on the fundraising pot by ticking the box next to this option. Bringing a sense of urgency may help drive donations.

Press save and your pot will be live on your fundraising tab, unless you’ve chosen to hide it until your future start date.


create_pot2


How do I get donations?

Share the page often with your own followers and supporters to spread the word. You can do this through social media, websites, emails and word of mouth in the same way you promote your project page or other appeals. Any number of companies and individuals can pledge to support a fundraising pot, which means you could potentially receive contributions from a number of sources.


pot


How do I receive payment?

Stripe will process donation payments, which will generally be made on a 7-day rolling basis. You’ll set up and manage your Stripe account directly with them. They will ask for authorisation from you for payments to and from of your account (the 'from' request is only for very rare cases where a donation has to be refunded due to error or card holder query).

Stripe has comprehensive pre-payment verification to minimise this as much as possible. Donors will only be able to cancel a donation if they contact us within 48 hours after it is authorised on the site. After this time, they would need to contact you directly to request a refund, which will be at your discretion.


Are there any fees?

We charge a small transaction fee on every donation made to cover the costs incurred. This is currently 5% of the gross donation, exclusive of any Gift Aid. Fees are deducted automatically through Stripe before donations are credited to your account. There are no additional subscription fees.


How do I keep the momentum going?

Your project page is your ‘hub’ for updating on all your activity and campaigns. Have you reached the half way mark? Shout about it! Have you got some great stories that might drive up those valuable donations? Share them! Feel free to set up multiple fundraising pots for different campaigns that you want to run - there's no limit.


Need help with your fundraising pots?

Contact us at hello@neighbourly.com


About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can lend a hand. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, donating or giving a day to volunteer.