Supporting The Scout Foundation NI

21 Jun 2021 Elizabeth Hamill    Last updated: 21 Jun 2021

Michelle Magee, Office Manager at The Scout Foundation NI

Michelle Magee, is Office Manager at The Scout Foundation NI based in North Belfast. Here, she talks about her experience of working with NICVA.

How did you come to avail of NICVA support?

I joined the Scout Foundation NI in 2019 having worked in the private sector for over 20 years. The new job had a steep learning curve and one of my new colleagues signposted me to NICVA for training, support and information.  

How useful was the support and information provided?

Before the COVID19 lockdown I attended several of the NICVA training sessions and events related to Fundraising, charity finance and charity accounts to build up my knowledge and expertise of the voluntary sector.  The added advantage of attending these sessions was that I was able to connect with NICVA Fundraising Advice and Governance staff. I then used these connections to access further support and advice and developed really good relationships with those NICVA staff.

We provide support to the 40 Scouting Ireland scout groups that are located in Northern Ireland.  These groups usually raise funds to run their groups through a range of fundraising activities including bag packs and sponsored walks etc. I had used NICVA Funding Advice multiple times to solve funding queries we had pre COVID. With the impact of COVID, we needed to consider other funding methods and support our groups in applying successfully for them.  I found the NICVA series of events on COVID Emergency Funding very helpful including the Q&A maintained on the NICVA website. On an ongoing basis I find NICVA’s weekly Funding News briefing very useful.

I also followed NICVA’s consultation on NI charity legislation and participated in the webinars. The Scout Foundation NI is part of an all-Ireland organization, so this was of particular interest because the legislation differs in both jurisdictions.

I’ve also had a number of conversations with NICVA staff about the gambling legislation here in Northern Ireland which excludes participation of the Scouting Ireland scout groups based in NI in some of Scouting Ireland’s most successful fundraising initiatives.

How did you use the information and support?

I used the information from the funding sessions to apply to several funds on behalf of The Scout Foundation NI and my own guide group (which I volunteer with).  I then used this experience and knowledge to develop templates and summaries for our Scouting Ireland scout groups to use.  I worked closely with five scout groups in the second phased of the COVID Charities Fund, all of whom were successful and who are now very well placed for the coming year.  In addition they have started to develop the skill and knowledge on how to apply for grant funding.  Using information from the weekly Funding News, which I never miss reading, we have successfully applied to other funders.

I worked closely with the NICVA Governance team to develop our resources to help groups comply with CCNI reporting requirements. NICVA staff reviewed our Annual Reporting template and made some suggestions to help improve them, which we have now included.  I also worked with the NICVA staff  to develop a web resource tailored for The Scout Foundation NI to help groups complete their annual reporting templates. We now have this resource on our website and the scout groups can access it when they need to.

How would you describe your relationship with NICVA?

I am very complimentary about the support I have received from NICVA, especially from the Fundraising Advice and Governance staff.  They are very approachable and have always responded quickly to any queries.

I will continue to access their resources and training as I develop my skills and knowledge further and will continue to avail of suitable funding opportunities for Scout Foundation NI and for our Scouting Ireland scout groups.

If NICVA can support your community or voluntary organisation, get in touch with our team.

Find out more about The Scout Foundation NI by visiting their website or follow them on Facebook.

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