Conference banner 2024

With the enduring challenges of the last few years, as well as fresh uncertainty ahead, it's no wonder the confidence of small charity leaders is taking a hit. 

Join The Small Charity Friendly Collective on Wednesday 1st May from 9.45am for a day of learning, sharing experiences, connecting with other 'smalls', and thinking outside the box when it comes to dealing with the ongoing impact of 'The Pinch'. We'll explore people, partnerships, and personal experiences as we consider new ways to navigate these challenging waters.

Places are free and open to all in the small charity sector. 

The Small Charity Friendly Collective is an informal collective of small charity friendly specialists who have come together to respond to the challenge set in the Small Charities Coalition’s (SCC) “Small and Mighty” final report: to provide dedicated and trusted support to small charities.

We have a shared commitment to working in a small charity friendly way, which you can read more about here.

This event is supported by gunnercooke LLP. We hope that you can join us for the whole day, but if not, session recordings will be available to access or relisten later.

Conference schedule 

9.45am Conference starts

10.00am - 10.10am Sufina Ahmad, John Ellerman Foundation - Keynote 

 10.10am - 10.30am Michele Price-Maximising certainty through governance and best practice

Governance underpins every organisation and it is your north star when navigating uncertainty and embracing new opportunities. Michele will take you through key points of governance to encourage your organisation to improve where it is now and be ready to meet challenges.  Many organisations are looking to mergers, partnerships, changes to objects and new ways of meeting purpose - Michele will explain how this can work for you from a legal and regulatory point of view. 

10.30am - 11.15am Laura Salisbury- Seeking the holy grail: How to increase unrestricted income and create financial resilience in uncertain times

This session is an introduction for small charities interested in raising income from the general public. In general this type of funding is unrestricted, and once these income channels are established they can lead to significant donations, such as from legacies. We’ll cover how to initially engage with the general public, and will very briefly touch on the basics of individual giving, community fundraising and legacy giving. For some charities, a generous and loyal individual donor base is one of the best ways to achieve financial resilience in uncertain times.  

11.15am - 12.00am Mike Zywina- Mobilising for change in an Election year

As charity sector professionals, we often feel hopeless and helpless about the state of the world and the plight of the people we care about. So much of our work is focused on battling injustice and division, and compensating for broken systems that are failing people. Finally, 2024 brings an opportunity for real change – but how can you be a part of that, and meaningfully engage your service users and supporters? This session will provide some practical tips suitable for any small charity, even if you’re short on time and nervous about getting involved in any form of campaigning activity.

12.00pm - 12.45pm Lunch

12.45 - 13.30 Yasmin Glover- Clichés, connections and cutting through: how can we overcome audience apathy and inspire engagement?

'Our services are needed more than ever'. In challenging times, it's particularly vital that our messages cut through the noise and inspire our target audiences to support us. Join this comms session to think about how to resist clichés and create effective messages to engage the people you need. 

13.30pm - 14.15pm  Sonia Wilson- The people part: Changes in 2024 and how best to respond to uncertainty

After several years of stalling on any new employment legislation, 2024 looks to be a bumper year! This session will outline i) the recent changes in employment law in the first half of 2024; ii) what we might see in the employment arena if there is a change in Government at the end of this year; and iii) how good people practices around areas such as employee engagement and development may help small charities ride the storm of uncertainty and change.

14.15 - 15.00 Liz Pepler- Why financial efficiency is the enemy of financial resilience 

In times of financial uncertainty, and financial difficulty, it can be tempting to want to cut back on costs. We might want to reduce our spend on our internal infrastructure, on our HR support, our IT, our staff training, our fundraising, our finance support. In this session we explore why actually these short term cuts can lead to even greater longer term problems and why a good robust finance system is essential. Not only can it tell us when we have a problem but a really good robust finance system will buy us valuable time to fix it. In this session we explore some common elephant traps and how, sometimes, spending more can strengthen rather than weaken our financial position.

15.00 - 15.15 André Clarke- Director of Charity Development at Lloyds Bank Foundation

Meet the Guest Speakers below

Sufina Ahmad MBE, John Ellerman Foundation

Sufina is Director of the John Ellerman Foundation. She works closely with Trustees, the team and stakeholders, including grant-holders, to ensure all aspects of the Foundation’s strategy, governance and grant making work are delivered effectively.

 Before joining the Foundation, Sufina worked in corporate strategy and performance at the City of London Corporation. She has also worked for the National Lottery Community Fund and City Bridge Foundation in grant making, strategy and policy roles. Sufina started her career in service delivery and business development roles for charities working with adults with learning disabilities and older people.

Sufina is a Trustee for We Belong, The Charterhouse and the Association of Charitable Foundations. She is also a Grants and Evaluation Committee Member for Youth Futures Foundation. Sufina is an honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, having chaired their Expert Panel on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Sufina was awarded an MBE for charitable services in 2020.

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Andre Clarke

André Clarke, Director of Charity Development at Lloyds Bank Foundation

Grant-making, learning and organisational effectiveness

André Clarke has been appointed as Director of Charity Development at Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales. Clarke will play a vital role in establishing and implementing Lloyds Bank Foundation's Building a Better Future, launched in October 2022.

Clarke's role will focus on the distribution of £15 million in funding each year to 600 or so small charities across England and Wales working on some of the most complex issues. He will also lead the Foundation's efforts to strengthen the organisational effectiveness and sustainability of charities through an extensive range of development support offers.

Clarke has extensive experience in grant-making, learning and organisational effectiveness from his time at Comic Relief, Bond, Plan International and Save the Children UK. Clarke joins Lloyds Bank Foundation from BBC Children in Need, where he served as Interim Programme Director for the We Move Fund. He is also a trustee of the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR) and Chair of the Open and Trusting Grant-making Initiative

Meet the Speakers below

Liz Pepler (she/her)

Small charity financial resilience consultant

Liz draws on more than 20 years' professional experience holding a range of senior roles in several national and local small charities and social enterprises and is founder of Embrace Finance, a small non profit working with social leaders to build financial confidence. Liz is an experienced Trustee and Treasurer and is currently on the Board of Forest Recycling Project.

Liz delivers workshops, mentoring and consultancy support for a range of infrastructure bodies and grant givers including NCVO, Getting on Board, Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, the Fore Trust, School for Social Entrepreneurs, Youth Music and others. Liz also works directly with many small charities.

Liz is a member in practice of the Institute of Accounting and Bookkeeping and has a Masters in Charity Accounting and Financial Management (Dist) and a PG Certificate in Charity Administration. Liz is also a fellow of the RSA.

Contact details

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Laura Salisbury, Laura Salisbury Consulting

Strategy and fundraising

Need to raise more unrestricted income? I'm a strategic leader specialising in public fundraising, who can provide training, mentoring and support to your board or senior leadership team, as well as deliver hands-on fundraising appeals, events and projects when needed. I have nearly 20 years' experience in the sector, and since becoming a consultant I’ve helped clients by conducting audits, supporting as an interim, mentoring staff, and drafting fundraising strategies.

While the majority of my experience is in the UK, I am now based in Australia. I have a huge amount of experience supporting charities remotely, and therefore continue to support clients in the UK. My background is working for large international organisations including Amnesty International and VSO, and delivering against large multi-million pound targets. But I now have plenty of experience supporting small charities, start-ups and social enterprises.

Contact details

Michele Price, Charity Partner, gunnercooke LLP

Charity law

I am a charity lawyer with a passion for helping small charities do great things. I specialise in setting up new charities and not for profits, general governance and annual reporting and troubleshooting across a range of legal, strategic and board issues. As former CEO of a charity and current trustee, I help with the legal issues but delivered with a practical and common-sense approach, based on wisdom and a real understanding of what makes small charities tick. I aim to unlock the heart of the problem or query and then guide you through the solution that is going to work best for you, within your budget and relevant to your resources.

I offer a free half hour initial consultation. Any follow up legal work is offered at a preferential small charities rate, usually for an agreed fixed fee.

Contact details

07399 114 937

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Mike Zywina, Lime Green Consulting

Strategy and fundraising

Lime Green Consulting work with charities and social enterprises to help them be more strategic, become more sustainable and access more funding. They do this by providing a mix of strategic consultancy, facilitated workshops, fundraising support and training. They provide training and consultancy to hundreds of grassroots charities each year, and have developed long-term partnerships with the School For Social Entrepreneurs and the Small Charities Coalition (until its closure in 2022).

Lime Green Consulting also offer a variety of free resources for grassroots organisations, including a set of fundraising help sheets, a podcast, and a monthly fundraising blog containing a mix of practical how-to guides and opinion pieces, with a particular focus on trusts & foundations and fundraising strategy.

Contact details

Sonia Wilson, Populo

Human Resources

Sonia Wilson set up her social enterprise Populo in 2013 to provide affordable HR support to small charities and social enterprises.

Sonia has supported over 400 small organisations with their people issues: from start-ups needing employment contracts and essential policies to those needing support for restructures, performance management, absence and many other employment issues.

Sonia provides free HR phone advice every Wednesday 10:00-12:00 for small charities and social enterprises. If you have a people issue which would benefit from running past an HR professional and is suitable to be resolved through a 20-30 minute call, then contact Sonia.

Contact details

07584 731 420

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Yasmin Glover, The Olive Training and Consultancy

Communications, strategy and staff development

Through The Olive Training and Consultancy, Yasmin supports small charities and social enterprises to become more efficient, purpose-driven, and impactful.

Through a range of bespoke and ‘off-the-shelf’ packages, Yasmin supports with development projects that have been on the agenda for a while, but never quite made it to the top. This may be due to limited capacity or resources, lack of headspace to get into it, or just not knowing where to start.

Areas of support include:

- Communications

- Strategy and project development

- Staff development.

Contact details 

07539 549 696

Who: The Small Charity Friendly Collective is an informal collective of small charity-friendly specialists who have come together to answer the challenge set in the Small Charities Coalition’s (SCC) “Small and Mighty” final report: to provide dedicated and trusted support to small charities.

We have a shared commitment to working in a small charity friendly way, which you can read more about here: