helping charities helping people

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Welcome to ACO

The Association of Charitable Organisations is the national UK umbrella body for charities that give grants and welfare support to individuals in need. Founded in 1946 we are a powerful and growing network of over 100 members, all joined by the common goal of offering support to help people in need.

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How we help our Members

Networking and Events - We run a number of events each year featuring guest speakers and opportunities to network. We also encourage virtual networking amongst members using social media and our dedicated Slack groups. 

ACO Newsletter and providing information - We aim to be the first point of call for our members receiving the latest news and help relevant to their work.

PR and Communications -  We actively share and promote the work of our members . 2019 is an exciting time to join ACO as we have appointed award-winning PR agency Definition to work on a PR project to promote ACO and its members' work (find out more).  

Recruitment - We offer members the opportunity to add job adverts to our website. 

Lobbying and Campaigning - Giving our members a voice by responding to government consultations and promoting member interests. 

For more information click Here 

What our members say:

"I am immensely grateful for the support I have received from the ACO community. Sharing ideas and best practice through ACO's regular networking forums has been invaluable."

"ACO membership provides excellent value for money because resources, networking, learning and sharing are available to everyone in our organisation - not just a named member."

Upcoming Events

Annual Conference 2019  - Banner with details

Annual Conference 2019

EdenTree-Logo-Small - EdenTree-Logo-Small

Kindly supported by Edentree Investment Management

ACO Annual Conference will be held on Friday 10th May 2019 at One Great George Street, London SW1P 3AA

You've got a Friend

Benevolent funds are a force for good in a troubled world, offering a helping hand and a sympathetic ear to people in need. ACO members help people overcome isolation and loneliness and promote their wellbeing and economic independence.

Join us for the sector's event of the year to hear thought-provoking speakers, network with your peers, make new friends and keep in touch with other like-minded staff and trustees.

Speakers include:

  • Lindsay Judge, Senior Research & Policy Analyst at the Resolution Foundation
  • Liz Emerson, Co-Founder, Intergenerational Foundation
  • PR agency Definition
  • Srabani Sen OBE, CEO and Founder at Full Colour
  • Zoe Amar, Chair of The Charity Digital Code of Practice
  • Henry Stewart, CEO and Chief Happiness Officer at Happy LTD 
  • Kirsty Lilley, Mental Wellbeing Workplace Consultant and CABA Associate Trainer.  

Drinks reception supported by Wilsons Solicitors LLP

Full details of the programme for the day are available on our Events page 

Bookings now open!

ACO Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2019

The ACO's Annual General Meeting will be held in London (EC4) on Wednesday 12th June at 3pm, followed by a drinks reception.

This year's AGM will be an opportunity for members to meet the new team at the ACO, including new members of staff, and new trustees in the form of our new Chair and Treasurer. We will also be providing information about our future plans, and inviting discussion and your comments.

Booking details to follow soon.

We are grateful to Haysmacintyre for supporting this event.

Grant Making Forum (GMF)

Dates for 2019:

  • Thursday 13th June
  • Wednesday 11th September
  • Monday 25th November
Speakers to be announced. Please see the Grant Making Forum page for more details of the next forum. 

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.

Please visit the Under Fives page for further details. 

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

Helping Individuals in Need. A Guide to good practice for charities

Helping Individuals in Need - Front cover and contents of the publication

This toolkit is intended for those running a charity that gives grants to individuals in need. Authored by Caroline Aldred and Clementine Cowl, the idea for this guide came out of the questions that arise frequently at ACO meetings such as ‘our trustees want to offer loans to applicants, but can we do this and what are the legal implications?’ or ‘how should we manage home visits?’ We hope that this guide will assist in finding answers to these questions.

Download now

Our Corporate & Associate Members

aQmen Limited
Charles Stanley
Connect Assist
Eddie Green Graphic Design
EdenTree Investment Management Ltd
Griffiths & Armour
HSF Health Plan
Icaris Sentinel
IE Brand
Investec Wealth & Investment
James Hambro & Partners
Kingston Smith LLP
Law Express
Newton Investment Management
Quilter Cheviot
Ruffer LLP
Russell-Cooke LLP
Sayer Vincent
Smith & Williamson
The OT Practice
Wilsons Law LLP
Yoke & Co

Note ACO does not explicitly promote corporate members or favour particular providers

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