About Wendrie Heywood

A life long Quaker, I've been involved in Wardening and building management for all of my professional life. I am a seasoned office manager and executor of projects, working with Trustees or a committee to clarify goals and ensure that these goals come to fruition. I run workshops, provide consultancy services and currently manage the room hiring businesses for several meeting house remotely.

ACAT Conference 2019

Faith, Finance and the Future: Enabling Your Mission

This year’s ACAT (Association of Church Accountants and Treasurers) was held at Methodist Central Halls on October 19th. While Westminster was quiet when I arrived at 9:30 it was obviously preparing for the hordes of people expected later on.

I always enjoy these conferences, they are a good reminder of the spiritual aspects to my job. This year was no exception with presentations from the Charity Commission, the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR) and Christian Aid and others.

Church as an Employer

There was a hands on aspect to this presentation from law firm Anthony Collins which caused a great deal of discussion at my table – and across the room. The challenges of employing people who are also part of the worshipping community, or explaining the worshipping community to those employed goes across all denominations and faiths I’m sure.

How to deal with people who are no longer performing as we’d like as trustees while supporting them as members of the same community is one I’ve come across so many times.

Digital Learning

I found fascinating a glimpse at the new educational platform that the Diocese of Leeds has developed. The Reverend Dr Hayley Matthews is the Digital Learning Platform‘s director and showed how it can create connections across the diocese, empowering people to learn more about their faith, complete necessary courses such as safeguarding, discuss issues and learn about events. It has been designed from the ground up by the Diocese’s digital team and is designed to encourage those using it to take responsibility for discipleship life, enabling and empowering everyone to learn and live faithfully.

Christian Aid: Improving digital giving and the online experience

Christian Aid is perhaps best known for the neighbourhood envelope collections done during Christian Aid week. Falling numbers of donations has caused them to rethink their donation strategy, to reduce the number of programs involved and redesign their website to encourage donations.

Chris Morris whizzed through some ideas that he recommended we try to improve the digital experience of anyone visiting our websites. He also pointed out that for tiny churches that a Facebook page is a good place to start.

Some of the notes I made included such snippets as ‘there is a 70/80% more engagement with a video than a static picture’, but that even a static picture is better than just text.

As a charity you should have a clear way for people to donate, don’t be embarrassed to ask for money, as a charity you need money. Which reminded me of reviewing a new website for a friend running a charity. After reading through the blog posts and watching a couple of project videos I was enthused and excited to support – but there wasn’t any way to give money!

Charity Commission

Jeff Prescott has eleven years as a Senior Accountant at the Charity Commission and assured us that whatever mistakes we make – he has seen others make the same! Rather scarily he told us that even professionals make mistakes when submitting Annual Returns and that about 65% of tiny charities do so when submitting.

While reminding us that we need to get things right, he was challenged from the floor about the difficulties of the on line platform. It was pointed out that if even professionals are making so many mistakes perhaps it was just us but the tools supplied! Jeff agreed with the complexities and assured us that there was a working group looking at ways to simplify this and that it would include the ability to go back and correct entries rather than needing to start over.

He also briefly went into quite technical information about the new SORP which consolidates the existing SORP with updates bulletins 1 & 2 which were released this year, and the results of the consultation which ended earlier this year.

Connecting the Dots between your Faith and your Finance

Janie Oliver is the new director of ECCR, appointed in April and comes from a banking and audit background. Janie’s talk was about her growing awareness of the need to look at all spending and money, quoting Matthew 6:19-21 and that in her studying she’s been startled to discover that Jesus mentions money in eleven of his thirty-eight parables.

Janie challenges us to look at all of the money we hold, save, spend not only as an organisation but with the worshipping community as a whole. Janie pointed out out that a standard church might have 50 households in association with it. If each household earns a £20,000 average income then that church has a combined annual spending power of £1,000,000! The idea to take back to our churches, was to think about what would happen if 10% of all Christians, or those of faith, changed to ethical banking and investments.

ACAT news

ACAT board and employees then talked about the new website, and the redevelopment of the newsletter.

ACAT has always been a training and advice organisation. With their on site training being a core component (I’ve got a place on a course booked for later this month). A small amount of on line training has been created and has had good feedback. They now want to expand their training to help all treasurers/trustees to ‘up their game’. ACAT is also looking into advocacy and campaigning on select issues and will be asking members to give feedback.

It was a long and full day. I have a pile of notes to work through, and I’m sure there will be more blog posts to come from those.

Charity Fraud Awareness Week 21st – 25th October 2019

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Money on a bed of Money by 401K-2012-Money

Fraud is not something that people involved with churches or charities want to think about. After all the people on your committee or board; in your organisation are ‘nice’. They must be – because they’re helping the charity do the work it needs to do.

But even nice people can commit fraud. The number I’ve heard quoted is that 90 – 95% of people would give in to temptation under certain circumstances.

Advices & Queries 37: Are you honest and truthful in all you say and do? Do you maintain strict integrity in business transactions and in your dealings with individuals and organisations? Do you use money and information entrusted to you with discretion and responsibility? Taking oaths implies a double standard of truth; in choosing to affirm instead, be aware of the claim to integrity that you are making.

On the Quaker.org.uk treasurers page, as well as the information about resources and training available there is a pdf of a report. ‘A vulnerable victim? An account of the theft of an area meeting’s money by their treasurer, including lessons learned (PDF).’ One that I think all treasurers and trustees should read and then evaluate their own organisational practices and procedures. I blogged about it during the Quaker financial A-Z under V.

The Fraud Advisory Panel run a Charity Fraud Awareness Week every year. With resources and case studies available to enable you to help ensure that your organisation doesn’t suffer fraud. Helping you to ensure that your organisation support a culture of openness and transparency.

Why not grab a drink and spend some time browsing through what is on offer?

Sharing generic email accounts

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Generic Email

I recommend generic email addresses to all clients, recommending them for a range of reasons:

  • Correspondence is held in a role specific email box. When a new person starts they can catch up, or search for previous conversations.
  • The generic email box means that when a person leaves the role, or doesn’t want to be working on that role, someone else can be monitoring.
  • For Data Protection a subject access request means that the organisation needs to find all emails and documents.
  • For Charity Governance those involved should be able to show clear communication and records.
  • All of the above is easier if the emails are all in house – and not scattered over a range of personal accounts.

Sharing Email Accounts

However this becomes more complicated if more than one person will be accessing and dealing with messages. If the role is shared then some additional guidelines may be needed.

  • Will one person be primarily dealing with correspondence? If so a regular update to the other members of the team might be useful.
  • Will the email box only be checked occasionally, then an automatic reply saying so can be useful in managing expectations.
  • If more than one person is handling correspondence then there need to be ways to ensure email doesn’t slip through the net, and all team members have the information they need.
  • Adding extra email folders for specific people to look at, or communicating outside of the email are useful.

As for all team projects communication and clear expectations and guidelines help to minimise confusion.

What ways have you found to ensure that everyone is aware of what is happening in the email account without duplication of effort?

Quakers & Business Gathering and AGM 2019 – Strategy Day

The Strategy Day is an opportunity to: Explore what Q&B does now. Help shape its future with plans on how it can best support both its members and further abroad.

Quakers and Business Group promotes Quaker values and principles in business and the workplace. It provides a supportive network for those upholding these principles, researches into ethical business practices and runs events.

  • learn more about the work Q&B are currently supporting
  • hear the results of the annual survey
  • share values and priorities
  • build community and network
  • shape future priorities and goals

Full details and ways to pay on: https://qandb.org/gathering-2019

Q&B’s AGM will be held at lunchtime after networking time.

Face to Face with some of London’s cleaners

Clean for Good is a cleaning firm with a difference.

I was delighted to attend the preview evening for this exhibition at St Sepulchre’s Church, Holborn Viaduct, London, EC1A 2DQ. It opens formally on Monday and will be open Monday – Thursday 11am – 2pm until the end of August 2019.

This is a selection of specially commissioned black and white portraits of some of Clean for Good’s cleaners and account mangers. There are eleven portraits so about a quarter of their current workforce.

There was laughter as the various staff members admired the photos and read each other’s bios – commenting on things they were learning about each other.

Cleaning choices are some of the ways you can live our your values as an ethical consumer. I talked about this back in the Quaker A-Z: C is for Choices.

Ethical Employment

Clean for Good strives to be London’s best cleaning company – and was recently recognised as a NatWest Top 100 Social Business 2019. Not bad for its second year in business!

The cleaners are employed direct – with full employment benefits, including pension, holiday and sick leave. As a customer, I like that Clean for Good are responsive and able to find alternative cleaners where necessary. Including recruiting in an area where they didn’t currently have a cleaner.

So, if you are looking for a cleaner, and want to be certain that are treated well by their employers including being paid the London Living Wage, then have a look:

cleanforgood.co.uk

I hope the idea spreads to other places. All people deserve to be treated with respect!

If you are in central London this summer why not pop in and come face to face with some of the cleaners of London?

The Quaker Business Method: How It Works Is Why It Works

At last year’s Quakers & Business Conference Peter Cheng gave some very well received talks on his research into the Quaker Business Method and Cognitive Science.

The talks led to another event held in Birmingham, sponsored by the Quakers and Business Group and hosted by Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP.

The videos are now available and can be watched on the Q&B You Tube channel, or on the Q&B site resources page.

Social Enterprise Day 2018

hands treeAlthough Mindful Business Services is a limited company for profit, we specialise in working with charities and social enterprises.

Thursday 15th November 2018 is Social Enterprise Day. This is a global event run by Social Enterprise UK, that highlights the valuable difference that social enterprises make to peoples’ lives.

Social enterprises can address poverty, tackle climate change and ultimately build a fairer economy… It can also produce some rather delicious cakes: https://www.friendshouse.co.uk/news/friends-house-supports-douglas-house-project-and-loves-their-cakes

This year the Social Enterprise Day is using the hashtag #WhoKnew.

Trust and Integrity in Business – which questions do we ask? And of whom?

Quakers & Business Annual Conference 2018: Wednesday 5th December 2018, at Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ. 9:30am to 4:30pm.

Please click here for a detailed programme including a description of the stream and speaker options.

Who is this for? Anybody in the world of business, owners, managers, employees, public and third sector, students of the world of business and work, anyone who wishes to apply the principles of trust and integrity to their organisation.

What will you take away? A fresh breath of insight into what you can do individually and collectively to create a better world, one where fear and concern is replaced with inspiration and verve to find out much we can do for the good of all.

Please sign up by visiting https://qandb.org/qbc18
Bursaries are available.

Society of Virtual Assistants Survey 2018

2015 07 17 Colourful pencil sharpeningsVirtual Assistant

I’m often asked by clients, where do I get my information about rates and other virtual assistants? One of the biggest answers is from here: The Society of Virtual Assistants (SVA) 9th annual survey. To read about how I define VA, read the home page, and if you are wondering how it all works – I have a page for that too!

The research was released last week and copies of the report are now available to buy from this link.

SVA Survey v9

To make it statistically valid, they needed at least 10% of the industry surveyed – which they calculated as 2,333 VAs working in the UK. However, it can be hard to calculate the total number of VAs in the UK. So many are classified as separate industries such as secretary, bookkeeper, marketing consultant – or even charity management consultants such as myself!

To quote the SVA’s blurb:

SVA’s annual survey designed to take a snapshot of the UK VA industry answering business critical questions like: How much can I charge? What will I earn as a VA? What are the most effective marketing strategies? What services are most popular? Which training programmes deliver the best value for money?

So, if you have ever wondered about using a VA, or what a VA could help you with – have a look at the survey, or at the SVA website. It was good to see that I’m not alone in having worked as a VA for over five years, and have no plans to stop any time soon.

(Facts taken from the survey linked above)

Quaker Leadership – Quaker & Business Gathering ’18

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Quaker & Business

Tickets are now available for the Quaker & Business Gathering 2018.

Date & Time: Saturday 30th June 2018, 9am – 5pm
Location: Friargate Quaker Meeting House, Friargate, York YO1 9RL

This year’s theme is Quaker Leadership, and as one of the planning committee I’m delighted that we’ve been able to get three really interesting speakers.

A provocative and creative opportunity to explore the links between leadership of organisations and people, and Quaker experience and values of leadership amongst our worshipping communities.

You can see the full programme for the day, and how to buy tickets on the Q&B website.

Bursaries are available – please contact the clerks of Q&B for more details.

Looking forward to this – it will be an interesting day!