What We Do

ACO enables members to benefit from the collective expertise, experience and resources of benevolent/grant-making charities across our network to address common issues and develop shared solutions.

We do this through a coordinated programme of knowledge sharing, learning and benchmarking opportunities throughout the year.

ACO provides member charities with a platform to support the continuing development of their organisation through:

Providing learning and knowledge sharing opportunities

We provide a platform for benchmarking and sharing best practice through running frequent member-only events, bespoke webinars, training opportunities and conferences. We partner with leading organisations in our sector and invite expert speakers to our events to ensure value in attending.

Recent themes have included social media for charities, gambling awareness, diversity & inclusion, GDPR, charity fraud awareness, mental health & staff resilience, and diversifying income streams.

We also hold regular meetings of our special interest groups to give members the opportunity to come together in an informal, non-competitive environment. These groups currently include our CEO Forum, Under Fives (small charities) Group, MarComms Group, International Beneficiaries Group and Fundraising and Income Generation Group.

We publish our regular Charity News Review e-newsletter – 10 issues per year distributed across the ACO network – that provides updates on ACO and members’ work, plus a round-up of useful resources for charities, thought-leadership articles, and policy/sector news updates.

We also conduct research and generate our own publications on topics of relevance to the benevolence sector to share knowledge amongst our membership.

Helping you build peer-to-peer relations

Having opportunities for you and your team to develop working relationships with others throughout the sector brings significant benefits for both personal and professional development.

We can help you to meet like-minded colleagues through our events and networking opportunities, or through helping you to establish connections with charities within our network with shared experiences.

These connections can be with:

  • Charities from a similar sector (e.g. occupational charities from a related sector)
  • Charities of a similar size/scale (e.g. through our Small Charities Group)
  • Similar functional roles (e.g. our CEO Forum and Marcomms Group)
  • Charities with a common challenge (e.g. post-covid fundraising)

Representing the voice of the benevolence sector

We work in conjunction with other charity sector infrastructure bodies to influence Government, regulators and industry bodies on issues impacting our members.

We are active within our sector and sit on several groups/committees to represent benevolent charities including The Civil Society Group, Charity Commission’s Charities Against Fraud group, Turn2us User Group and more.

We also lobby and contribute to campaigns on behalf of our members on issues impacting benevolent charities and the individuals they support.

Not all charities have the resource to carry out extensive marketing and PR work to promote their fund, and those that do can benefit from working with others to share their messages more widely.

As such, we raise awareness of the work of benevolent charities through sharing news from our members, running awareness campaigns, building relationships with advice and referral agencies, contributing comment and articles to journalists and publications, and presenting at events to boost recognition of benevolent funds within our sector.

Offering you support and assistance

We listen closely to our members to provide charities with the support and assistance they need. Whether its running a training session or event on a topic raised to us by our members as being one of importance to them, to connecting members with a colleague at a fellow member charity who has already gone through a similar situation or signposting to appropriate advice/support in our sector.

We are there to listen to our members and give them the support needed to help address the challenges they face.

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