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Last updated May 2020


The ACO organises many networking events throughout the year, featuring fantastic speakers from across the sector. This includes our Annual Conference, Autumn Summit and quarterly grant-making forums

Upcoming Events

ACO CEO Forum (Zoom webinar) - Friday 17 July 2020 (11am - 12pm)

COVID-19 has had a seismic impact on charities across the sector, and sustainability is now a critical factor for many in building their short and medium-term planning.

This session will provide a platform for charity leaders amongst benevolent funds/grantmakers to discuss their experiences in traversing the financial, operational and human hurdles this crisis has presented, and share how they are working to map out post-Covid strategies that will enable them to continue to effectively support their beneficiaries.

Register on Eventbrite to obtain Zoom access details.

Working with International Beneficiaries (Zoom webinar) - Thursday 30 July 2020 (11am - 12pm)

A significant number of ACO members support international beneficiaries and this session will provide an opportunity to share their experiences and best practice around a range of common issues, including:

 how Funds assess international applications for “need”;

 to what financial level are payments made if grants are awarded;

 how grants are calculated;

 sharing country specific knowledge between funds;

The webinar will also provide a platform to build connections between charities supporting beneficiaries on an international basis.

Register here on Eventbrite for Zoom access details

Connecting with Potential Beneficiaries (Zoom Webinar) - Thursday 13 August (11am-12pm)

One of the challenges we often hear benevolent funds & grant-making charities face is how to effectively connect with potential beneficiaries who may be unaware that they are eligible for support. This can often be for a range of factors such as digital inclusion and lack of profile amongst referral agencies.

Through case study examples, shared best practice and group discussion, this session will look at how charities can maximise opportunities to build awareness amongst their target beneficiaries.

Register here on Eventbrite for Zoom access details

Annual Conference 2020

Unfortunately due to ongoing uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, ACO has made the decision to postpone this year's annual conference initially planned for May. We will instead be running a virtual online conference week during the w/c 5th October 2020. More details to follow.

Grant Making Forum (GMF)

We run quarterly Grant Making Forum meetings in London, Manchester and York and quarterly meetings for organisations with small staff teams in London, which are all free to members. Potential members can be invited to attend to get an idea about ACO and its membership.

Meetings are held at the British Dental Association, 64 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8YS, from 11am-1pm

Dates for 2020
  • Tuesday 22 September 2020

Under Fives

The Under Fives meeting follows on from the GMF after a half-hour break for lunch to start at 1:30pm.

The objective of the Under Fives group is to support smaller charities with five staff or less to meet their stategic goals.

The group discusses how themes relevant to the benevolent sector (presented in the Grant Making Forum) translate to charities delivering on a smaller scale. The group also gives the opportunity to discuss hands-on issues outside of the workplace, enabling staff to deal with day-to-day issues.

We are planning to create a virtual network to encourage greater participation from members between meetings.

The ACO is grateful to the British Dental Association Benevolent Fund for supporting these events.

What our members say:

"We have found the ACO conferences an invaluable and cost effective method of inducting new Trustees. The high quality speakers added with the unrivalled opportunity to network with other Trustees, staff and volunteers who work within the benevolent sector really helps to embed the uniqueness of the work which we do and the context in which we operate. We aim to engage every Trustee with ACO events as a part of the Board's development plan".

"We have always found the ACO to be an immensely helpful and important resource in our grant making. Events such as the Annual Conference and Forums are important opportunities for sharing working practices and we have appreciated fellow members' willingness to offer help and advice over similar issues."


ACO Friday Drop-In Calls

ACO will be holding drop-in calls for all our members for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis on Zoom.

Video Call - Video call

Connecting with Potential Beneficiaries Webinar - 13 August

See page for details

Working with International Beneficiaries Webinar - 30 July

See page for details

ACO CEO Forum - 17 July

See page for details

Sleepstation - Guide to Better Sleep

Following their recent webinar, Sleepstation has put together a Guide to Better Sleep for ACO members.

Sleepstation Guide to Better Sleep - Sleepstation Guide to Better Sleep

Grant Making Forum 11 June 2020

A webinar recording of this Grant Making Forum can be viewed at the bottom of this page, and the PowerPoint presentations can also be downloaded at the end of this page.

Conference - Conference

Relate Webinar - May 2020

On Thursday 7 May Relate ran a webinar with ACO members to speak about what support they can provide to members' beneficiaries to help them maintain healthy relationships now and in the future.

Relate-Logo - Relate-Associate member logo

Annual Conference 2019 - Presentations

Thank you to those that made our ACO Annual Conference 2019 so successful. Thank you to EdenTree Investment Management and Wilsons Solicitors for sponsoring the event.

Annual Conference 2019  - Banner with details

Grant Making Forum

Meetings are held at the British Dental Association, 64 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8YS, from 11am-1pm. This is a "Members-only" event, everyone is welcome and attendance is free.

Grant Making Forum & Under Fives Meetings - Graphics

Under Fives Meeting

A group meeting for solo workers and small staff teams ("under 5 employees"). The meeting is Chaired & Minutes taken however there is no agenda and members discuss topics of interest and pose questions. This is a great forum for support/ advice/ Best Practice and general sharing. No booking required. ACO members only.

Grant Making Forum & Under Fives Meetings - Graphics