Phi Newsletter: May 2013

Welcome to the May 2013 issue of the Factary Phi Newsletter.

Major Giving News

Tony Blair milks $1m donation

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation is set to receive $1m donation from former securities trader and philanthropist Michael Milken.

The ex-Prime minister featured as the star guest at the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, where he was invited to speak on a number of topics, including his time as a wannabe rock star at Oxford University, when he was lead singer for a band called Ugly Rumours.

After the session was concluded, a ‘visibly shocked’ Blair was informed by Mr Milken that he would be donating $1m to his charitable foundation.

Circus Space nets &#361m donation

American philanthropist Aileen Getty has donated $1m to one of Europe’s leading providers of circus education, Circus Space.

The charity is set to receive £200,000 a year for the next three years, which will be put towards its running costs.

Speaking on the donation, she said that: “These are difficult and challenging times for so many and the opportunities to give are endless. And one may question the importance of supporting the Circus Arts when basic needs in our cities are so great and not being met. I have thought deeply about this over the years and believe you cannot underestimate the value of keeping wonder alive. Wonder keeps our spirits joyous and resilient.”

Sir James Dyson donates £4m to cancer centre

Designer and inventor James Dyson has pledged to donate £4m of his fortune in order to meet an ambitious fundraising target for a new cancer centre in Bath.

It is understood that Sir James was spurred to donate the money after tragically losing both his parents to cancer.

Over a relatively short period, organisers had managed to pull together £1.5m to be donated towards an ambitious fundraising target of £5.5m. It was then thought that it would take another three or four years to reach the goal before Sir James stepped in.

The £4 million, from Dyson’s charitable foundation, is the biggest donation in the hospital’s history – and could be the biggest ever made by an individual in one go in the West ever. It dwarfs the £750,000 he donated to help fund the RUH’s new neo-natal intensive care unit a couple of years ago which now bears his name.

The inventor lived in Bath for decades while he perfected the bagless vacuum cleaner which has now made his fortune. He set up his firm’s headquarters first in Chippenham; for the past 20 years, it has been based in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

“Bath is our home and the base from which I have grown Dyson,” he said. “This new Cancer Centre will use cutting edge technology and well considered design to improve the health of its patients.”

“We have been hugely impressed by the outcomes of the Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care; research has shown the incredible effect that a healing environment can have on recovery,” added Sir James.

Health research centre to receive £30m in funding

A ‘big data’ health research centre at the University of Oxford will be the latest to benefit from the government’s UK Research Partnership Investment Fund.

The Big Data Institute at the Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Information and Discovery, launched by Prime Minister David Cameron on the 3rd of May, will be built using £10m from the scheme, which is managed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

As well as this, government funding will also be matched by a £20m donation from Chinese philanthropist and entrepreneur Li Ka Shing.

The already complete first phase of the centre – the £35 million Target Discovery Institute – won another £10 million from the £300 million government scheme last year. It will house research generating data about disease using genomic and chemical screens, important for the early stages of drug discovery.

Speaking on the new centre, David Cameron said that “The Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Information and Discovery will pioneer new advances in the analysis of medical data which can help scientists to better understand human disease and its treatment.

“This will help to further develop a strong and competitive science and research base in this country which is vital for the UK to compete and thrive in the global race.”

Oxford vice-chancellor Andrew Hamilton also added that big data would “transform the way we treat patients and understand disease in the coming decades”.

Next section: Report

Report: Charity Skills Survey

For this month’s edition of our report section, we have included a summary of a recent report on skill levels within the UK’s small charity sector conducted by the FSI as part of their annual Charity Skills Survey.

The report also identifies some of the key issues facing small charities and, in particular, it focuses on how to address some of the significant skills gaps and shortages that exist for many small charities.

Key Aims & Objectives

  • Identifying the key skills gaps and shortages within small charities.
  • Analysing the skills gaps that exist in the workforce of small charities and the reasons for this.
  • Identifying the correlation and differences between these findings and earlier studies on skills in the charity sector.
  • Considering measures and approaches to dealing with these skills issues.


The findings of the survey are based on the responses from individuals working in UK charities with an annual turnover of less than £1.5m. Respondents to the survey were asked to answer questions relating to their area of responsibility within their charity; the majority of them held leadership roles or governance positions. However, due to the limited workforce in many small charities, a great number of respondents also held multiple roles within their organisation.

The charities represented in the survey are from a wide range of different areas. A large proportion of the respondents worked for charities in the areas of youth, health, welfare, advice and rights.

Background to the Survey

The UK Charity Sector
  • In 2009/10, approximately 765,000 paid staff in the voluntary sector accounted for 2.7% of the UK workforce (NCVO 2012 Civil Society Almanac). The sector encompasses a wide range of different organisations, from small local charities through to larger national organisations.
  • The voluntary sector has also grown by 40% from 2001 to 2010, equating to an increase of 219,000 employees. During the same period, the public sector has also experienced an increase in the number of paid employees, whereas the private sector has experienced a decrease. However the impact of the recession, along with cuts to government funding, have heavily influenced employment in the voluntary sector.
  • There are some unique characteristics of the voluntary sector that have remained the same despite the economic downturn. The workforce is mainly constituted of women (68%), compared to 64% in the public sector, and only 39% in the private sector.
  • Underpinning the paid voluntary sector workforce are volunteers, 12.7 million of whom volunteer once per month (NCVO Civil Society Almanac 2012).
Small charities
  • The UK’s small charity sector is extremely diverse, with a large number of different organisations that deliver for a variety of different causes. It is noted that 96% of small charities fall below the £1.5m turnover mark.
  • One third of voluntary sector workers (31%) are employed in workplaces with fewer than 10 colleagues, which suggests that significant numbers of the workforce are employees in small charities (NCVO CSA 2012).
  • The small charity sector also possesses some interesting characteristics. Small charities spend significantly less on generating funds than their larger counterparts: 14% in major charities, versus just 7% in smaller organisations (NCVO CSA 2012).

Previous Research

The report also draws on previous research, including the UK Voluntary Sector Workforce Almanac 2011, the NCVO’s Voluntary Sector Skills Survey and Third Sector Skills Research 2008: Further Evidence and Recommendations on Skills Gaps.

Recruitment Problems and Skills Shortages

Respondents to the survey were asked to outline some of the barriers to filling vacancies within their respective charities. Their responses have provided an outline of some of the skills shortages that exist within the sector. In particular, the recruitment of volunteers and trustees was cited as a recurring problem, which indicates a significant shift since the previous 2010/11 Skills Gap Survey.

The number of respondents who found it ‘very difficult’ to recruit suitable staff has fallen from 11% to 5%, and the number who found it ‘somewhat difficult’ has also fallen from 30% in 2010/11 to 23% in 2012/13.

Based on this, the problem of recruitment would appear to be less acute; however the underlying reasons for hard-to-fill vacancies remains the same. Salary was cited as the most common issue with 58% of respondents citing it, followed by recruitment costs at 45%. Both of these barriers have become more prominent since the 2010/11 survey and, following these reasons, non-financial factors including some applicant’s lack of specialist skills and a lack of experience were also cited.

According to the survey, fundraising positions were still considered to be the most difficult vacancies to adequately fill, as indicated by 57% of respondents. This has gone up from 50% in the previous year’s survey and, according to many of the respondents, a lack of funding was considered to be the main reason for filling voluntary positions instead of hiring specialists.

Skills Gaps

Respondents were asked to outline the skills levels throughout their own organisation and as well as this, they were also asked to rate their own skill levels in any primary or secondary roles.

The highest skill areas that were described as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ are as follows: International Communications (48.1%), Team Working (63.3%), Health & Safety (46.6%), Leadership (50%), Basic IT (66.8%) and Working in Partnership with Other Organisations (57.2%).

Skills that related to the long-term sustainability of the small charity sector received some of the weakest scores. 13.7% of respondents felt that fundraising skills would require some significant improvements in their organisation. 18.3% of respondents also felt the same with regard to impact reporting and 14.1% felt the same for long-term strategic planning.

It is noted in the report that these deficiencies suggest some significant limitations for small charities in their ability to secure funding, adapt their services and to demonstrate the value of their work.

Organisations with a lower annual turnover also appeared to suffer from more pronounced skill gaps in their fundraising capabilities. For example, 66% of organisations with a turnover from £0-50k recognised a need for ‘upskilling’. Just under half (44%) of organisations with a turnover from £501k-£1 million also recognised this need. However, the remaining respondents appeared neutral or positive on their fundraising capabilities.

Causes and Consequences for Skills Gaps

Although 79% of respondents indicated that they had received adequate training in the past 12 months, only a quarter of organisations were able to formally assess their skill gaps. Coupled with some significant financial restraints, small charities’ ability to address these skills gap internally clearly has an impact on the ability to address the skills gap that exist in the wider sector as a whole.

According to current research, the main consequence of these skill gaps is an increased workload for colleagues (55%) and also an increase in the time taken to deliver work (50%). Furthermore, respondents also noted a decreased ability to take on new work (39%) and no room for the development of services (37%). These skill shortages have a significant impact on how organisations function within the market and also on how well they are ability to effectively deliver their services.


Respondents were asked to outline what actions were taken to address the skills gaps present in their organisations, along with what they felt might be an effective solution to the problem within the sector as a whole.

In terms of addressing existing skills gaps, using volunteers instead of paid employees ranked the highest as a possible solution, with 42% of respondents choosing this option. Next came further training provision (38%), followed by the reorganisation of staff and workloads (31%). It is also noted in the report that 79% of respondents had in fact received appropriate training in the past 12 months. However, the fact that these gaps still existed despite a high level of training suggests that structural issues in organisations may also be a significant factor.

When asked, further training provision was considered to be one of the highest priorities by respondents (53%), which represented an increase from the previous 2010/11 survey. Following this, learning from other organisations in a similar field was also considered important (45%) along with effective mentoring (42%).

It is noted in the report that demand for training has increased from 49% to 53% since the last survey in 2010/11, and that this will remain an important part of addressing skill deficiencies. However time and cost remain significant factors when attempting to gain improved access to training.

Based on this, it is considered essential in the report to improve and tailor the training that is available so that it can better meet the needs of small charities. The results of the survey also show several areas in which small charities are particularly strong. Team working, internal communication, and their ability to work well with other organisations demonstrates some of the resilience the sector has shown while underdoing some significant changes.

It is thought that if the importance of training and development in small charities is further emphasised and developed, small charities would be much better prepared for the risks that are presented by a rapidly changing funding climate. Furthermore, reducing these skills gaps in organisations can only serve to improve the efficiency of charities along with the quality of the services that they provide their beneficiaries with.

The research was conducted by Jonathan Savage, Pauline Broomfield and Sophie Hill. For a full version of the report, follow the link we have provided below.

Click here to read the report in full.

Next section: Phi Database Update

Phi in Numbers May 2013

During the course of this month, more than 5,000 new records have been uploaded onto the Phi database, and the latest data to have been uploaded is made up of donations made to a number of Oxford University Colleges, including Brasenose, Exeter and Balliol College.

From the upload data, there are 80 records of donations made by titled individuals representing a minimum of £1.3m in funding. In light of this, we have decided to examine the spread of donations made by titled individuals into various activity types throughout the database.

It should be noted that the data used has been based on records as they appear in Phi, and as such the data is not necessarily representative of giving in the wider sector as a whole.

Phi currently holds a little over 4,000 records of donations made by these donors, and the pie chart below demonstrates how these donations are split according to title.


As is demonstrated by the pie chart, the majority of these records have come from donors titled Sir with 2,582 donations, followed by Lords (1,108), ‘The Honourable’ (351) and finally Dames (254).

The column chart below also shows the spread of these donations from the different title categories into different activity types. From this, we can see for example that a substantial proportion of the gentry’s donations to Political Parties have come from Lords, or that a high proportion of donations to Education/Training have come from knighted individuals.


From this, we can get an interesting indication of the types of projects that titled donors may be interested in funding.

Next section: Profile

Profile: The Albert Hunt Trust

The Albert Hunt Trust was established in 1979 by Florence Reakes with the intention of supporting a number of small youth projects and schemes for the homeless in the UK. Florence, along with her friend Mary Coyle, lived a quiet life in a modest four bedroom flat in Highgate, North London for 18 years. To their friends, the pair seemed entirely ordinary and regularly attended St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Highgate Hill for many years, never revealing any hint of their wealth.

However unbeknown to their fellow churchgoers, they had astutely invested inherited money for many years, and the pair had also founded The Albert Hunt Trust at a relatively early stage, naming it after Miss Reakes uncle. According to reports, they had both occasionally talked of leaving money to charity in their respective wills, however it was not until after their deaths that an astonishing, combined £26,000,000 fortune from both women was left to the Albert Hunt Trust.

Miss Reakes died in 1996 aged 93 and left her £8m estate to the trust. The same year Miss Coyle, known locally as Kathleen, had a stroke and moved into a nearby nursing home. Friends and neighbours visited her regularly, but never had any inkling that she was so wealthy.

Miss Coyle, a former nurse, died in January 2000 and also left her estate, which was valued at more than £18 million to the trust. Under the management of Coutts Bank and after three buoyant years on the stock market, the combined bequests are now estimated to be worth £35 million. Today, a very large number of modest grants are given to a wide range of organisations, both nationally and locally each year.

For the financial year ending 5th April 2012, the trust reported an income of £1,627,632 and an expenditure of £1,894,087. Factary Phi holds 96 records of donations made from 2006 to 2009, representing a minimum of £73,000 in funding.

The trust’s largest single donation to be recorded in Phi was a £10,000 donation made to Shelter in 2007. However overall, the largest number of donations were made to causes associated with Health (31), followed by Development/Housing/Unemployment (15). The numbers of donations made into remaining areas are as follows: Disability (14), Children/Youth (10), Elderly (10), Welfare (9), Mental Health (4), Rights (1), Education (1).

The Trustees

Breda Mcguire

Related to one of the settlors, she was appointed as a Trustee in 1997. She is a registered nurse who specialises in community health.

Richard Collis

Richard was appointed as a Trustee in 2000. He has been a Senior Trusts Manager at Coutts and Co for over 30 years. He is also a magistrate and for a number of years he was a non-executive director with an NHS Primary Care and a lay assessor with the Commission for Social Care Inspection.

Next section: News

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