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  • Membership
  • ACO Network
  • Events
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Welcome to the ACO

The Association of Charitable Organisations (formerly Association of Charity Officers) was founded in 1946 and is the national UK umbrella body for Trusts and Foundations that give grants and welfare support to individuals in need.

The funds managed by ACO members are discretionary, and seek to compliment and enhance welfare support provided by local and central government. Our members operate in the UK and across the globe. Over the last few years many funds have reviewed their operations, researching patterns of need and developing more strategic programmes of assistance.

ACO provides support to its members through:

  • Networking: building peer networks providing opportunities for members to share, and get advice and support;
  • Raising standards: promoting good practice, tackling problems together and offering solutions;
  • Lobbying and campaigning: giving our members a voice by responding to government consultations and raising awareness about the work of our member organisations;
  • Information; providing members with up to date information tailored to their specific interests through a monthly newsletter, policy briefings;
  • On line services: such as websites and member forums proving opportunities to seek and share advice and experience.

ACO Network Events in 2017

ACO Grant Making Forum South and Under Fives meetings

Thursday 30th November

The next ACO Grant Making Forum South and Under Fives meeting takes place on Thursday 30th November at the British Dental Association, 64 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8YS from 11am-1pm (GMF) and 1.30-3.30pm (Under Fives).

Entrance is free to ACO charity members. All GMF meetings are followed at 1.30-3.30pm by the ever popular Under Fives meeting for solo workers and members of small teams.


Jim Paterson, Head of Communications and Clare Kassa Partnership Development Manager at Family Fund

“Across the third sector, funders and partners, particularly those in government, are looking for greater evidence of the lasting impact of their funding and support – not simply the numbers and statistics, but what the meaningful outcomes are for beneficiaries.  Family Fund has just completed its first piece of research into how its grants  - provided to families on low incomes raising disabled or seriously ill children across the UK – make a difference to families. This presentation will look at the process of gathering this evidence, what it has told us about our work, and what the findings mean for both our future development and how we continue to evolve such research.

Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity providing grants to families on low incomes raising disabled or seriously ill children, helping families with items such as clothing, bedding, white goods, sensory toys, computers/tablets, and much-needed family breaks.  In 2016/17, they provided 88,119 grants and services worth over £33 million.” 

Ellie Hale, Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology

“The CAST team have extensive experience of grantmaking and digital technology. Over the last year, we have had many requests from funders for support with digital, whether it’s using tech to streamline application and funding processes, digitally enabled impact evaluation, or learning how to better assess and measure digital projects that are submitted for consideration. CAST are keen to work with ACO to recruit a cohort of senior leaders from member benevolent funds for a Grantmakers’ Fellowship. This would help grant makers respond to the changing needs of their beneficiaries and also gain a better understanding of how digital can bolster their own organisation and practices. This session will introduce some of the key themes of the Fellowship around design-led innovation and organisational change/development in the fast evolving digital context. It will explore what the Grantmakers’ Fellowship could offer to ACO members, and taking on board your thoughts and feedback so that we can ensure the programme meets your needs.

The CAST Digital Fellowship is a comprehensive learning programme for senior non-profit leaders in the fundamentals of tech and digital innovation. It’s a unique opportunity for senior staff to develop their understanding and use of digital tools, processes and mindset, and supports them to become leaders of their organisation’s - and indeed the sector’s – digital development”.

We are grateful to BDABF for supporting these events

Save the Dates!

Grant Making Forum and Under Fives 2018

• 27th February

• 14th June

• 12th September

• 26th November

ACO Annual Conference 2018

The 2018 ACO Annual Conference 2018 will be held on Friday 27th April at One Great George Street, London SW1P 3AA

Our Corporate & Associate Members

Advising London
CaSE Insurance
Connect Assist
Co-Op Electrical
Eddie Green Graphic Design
Fair for You
HSF Health Plan
Icaris Sentinel
Investec Wealth & Investment
James Hambro & Partners
Kingston Smith LLP
Law Express
Newton Investment Management
Psigma Investment Management
Quilter Cheviot
Ruffer LLP
Russell-Cooke LLP
Sayer Vincent
Smith & Williamson
The OT Practice
Whirlpool Corporation
Wilsons Law LLP

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