Running a successful local group means first and foremost keeping group members happy and making sure they feel valued and useful. If people are not happy with the way the group is going or feel their contribution is not appreciated their enthusiasm can start to wane.
The structure of the group is crucial to a group’s success.
Structures and roles
Our local groups organise themselves in many different ways. There are no particular rights or wrongs, but keeping an eye on the way your group is structured, and the various tasks that members are asked to take on, helps to ensure that the group can respond to changing circumstances.
The Chair of a local group keeps in regular contact with the Local Group Fundraiser, who is based at our London centre. The Chair will receive regular information such as newsletters, invitations to events or updates about our work. The Local Groups Fundraiser will also provide the Chair with advice where required and talk through ideas for the group or any problems that may arise.
Being the Chair of a group is both a challenging and important role.
Keeping good accounts will help your group with financial planning and fundraising. It is also important to be accountable for the money you raise and spend. For reasons of transparency and good practice, all local groups must maintain good financial records.
Good accounting is crucial as it helps you:
- Make sure all members of the group know how much money the group has raised and what the expenditure has been
- Keep track of the money and to know how much you have spent and how much is still available
- Make the best use of your money and budget for the next year
- Evaluate which events have been successful and should be repeated
Some Freedom from Torture Local Groups have their own bank accounts. Many of the major banks and building societies have accounts specially designed for local community groups. However, other groups choose not to have their own account and pay any money raised straight into Freedom from Torture’s bank account. Whether to have your own account or not depends on what you feel most comfortable with, as well as the amount of money you raise, the cash flow you require and the number of activities (and hence transactions) you plan. We leave this decision up to the group.
However, by the end of the financial year all the money raised (apart from a small cash flow reserve) will need to be paid into our account so it can be used to fund our services in the coming year. The Local Groups Fundraiser will send you a six-monthly income report for you to check and compare with your own records.
Throughout the year, groups carry out a wide range of different activities and events.