Quaker A-Z: I is for Information

Information and information overload

One difficulty for many new trustees – or even experienced ones – is information overload. There is just so much to be known, and there is the fear that you’ve not learned something important, or have learned something that isn’t correct or doesn’t apply to your charity.
Photo by Giulia May on Unsplash

I’ve been confidently informed by clients about things where I’ve had to say, ‘ah… that’s not what that meant’, or ‘no, you are a charity even if you aren’t registered and have to comply with specific legislation’, or ‘even if you are a charity you still have to do xxxx, or can’t do xxxx.’

The goal for this entire series, and our free training workshops, is to help sort through any confusion and answer questions. This might be pointing you in the right direction to find answers.

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO)

ICO Logo
The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) is the UK’s independent body set up to uphold information rights. Find out more about them and their structure on their website. They offer useful guides as to what they do, and what you may need to know about data protection (including GDPR). Specifically, there is guidance for small organisations/charities.
Likely, most charities, or branches (Local Meetings or other congregations that are part of the larger charity) will need to register. But it is always worth looking at the advice on the ICO website. Read through the exemption documentation.
Before making decisions, take advice from trusted professionals or similar bodies – they usually have helplines!

Trustworthy Information

If you are looking for more information and guidance – there is a plethora of people offering information.
Always ask people in your organisation and related organisations for advice. Especially if you are looking for specific types of advice look for people with lived experience.
Looking further afield, we recommend
  • looking at information provided by your own charity or related umbrella charities (while being aware that what is true for large charities may not be for small/medium-sized organisations)
  • or from the various charity support and training organisations
  • or looking for a helpline number related to a specific organisation  – ICO, HMRC, your local council etc.
Ask if your charity has bought bulk membership to any advice organisations – such as ACAT (Association of Church Accountants and Treasurers) or NCVO (The National Council for Voluntary Organisations). Quakers have a bulk membership to ACAT and we’ve directed many clients to their helpline over the years.
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