Our new way of funding Sands activities is going well. We have 47 Groups, plus the Scottish and Northern Ireland Networks, now operating within the Lloyds banking structure, and we are working with all remaining Groups to establish when they are coming across. Wave 3 will move across from July, and Wave 4 from October, so that all parts of Sands will be operating within the same structure before the end of 2018/19.

Annual returns

This means that your treasurer has either just finished, or is putting the finishing touches to, your Group’s last annual return! We do need to keep on servicing the old model during the transition phase, so please help your treasurer if they are still chasing you for documents – we need to get everything in.

What is the feedback from volunteers?

Hearing back from our volunteers is crucial. We surveyed the Early Adopter Groups, who were overwhelmingly positive about the new structure, and have used their responses to help improve the experience for future waves. You can see the results of the survey here.

Here is a quick round up of recent developments that are coinciding with the start of the new 2018/19 financial year.

JustGiving pages

We are rolling out new JustGiving pages to support the vital fundraising that keeps Sands going. Fundraisers in your area will have a clear route to donate to Sands that tells them about the impact their donation will have both locally and nationally. The fundraiser’s experience is at the centre of this work, and we are focussed on getting it right for them. However, we benefit too: the pages will make managing donations – and collecting gift aid – simpler all round.

The pages are being rolled out now and each Group will be given a web link to promote their local page. It will take a little while to manage this roll out across the whole UK, so please bear with us. If you think the temporary lack of a local page is seriously affecting fundraising routes, please get in touch with us via fundraising.groups@sands.org.uk.

We will also help all Groups who have a local project that needs funding to set up a dedicated JustGiving page for that project.

Strategic use of resources

We want to ensure that our resources are used in the most effective and efficient way possible and on 31 March 2018 the old system of disbursements to Groups ended. All donations can now be used support all our national and local activities, and resources will go where they are needed strategically at any one time. Groups will set a budget based on what they can achieve, rather than have to change their plans to respond to a fluctuating flow of income.

A Shared Fundraising Effort

We will all rely on the same shared pot to fund our activities, so we all need to work together to make sure there is a steady stream of fundraising income, and do what we can to support our own part of the national budget.

Our shared work could include funding research to prevent stillbirths and neonatal deaths, running a support group for bereaved parents, staffing our helpline, resourcing hospitals with memory boxes, or training healthcare professionals. Our strategy will help us determine the greatest need at any time.

This ensures that fundraisers know that Sands is a UK charity with local roots. Groups remain at the heart of our charity and we have highlighted the ways Groups help us achieve our aims across the website, to maximise the fundraising income at all levels.

Projects that need fundraising support will be highlighted as another option for donors. Our balancing act will be to make sure there is money coming in that keeps the charity running while we give donors the option to fund off-budget projects if they want.

Registering fundraising

We want every fundraiser to register their event in order to make sure we can give them the support they need to run their event safely and maximise its impact. That process is all about supporting the fundraiser, and is not the right place for a conversation with the donor about how the money will be used. Therefore we have removed that question from the online form on the Sands website. The messages about how Sands will use donated funds will all carried elsewhere, in our fundraising materials, on our website, on the JustGiving pages, and via direct conversation with our Fundraising team.

Talking to fundraisers and donors

As a Group volunteer talking to many fundraisers and donors, you are integral to the success of fundraising at Sands we want to make sure you feel comfortable talking about any of the changes above. Your relationships are key in maintaining and growing our fundraising income in the years to come, so we can make the most difference together.

We appreciate that these changes may raise some questions, but please be assured that your Group will be supported at all times and never left without the funds you need to continue your vital work for Sands. In the first instance, please contact your Network Coordinator with any questions.