VA Briefings

VA Briefings are short, succinct publications which provide up-to-date and relevant information for voluntary arts groups and those who work in A couple of Voluntary Arts Briefingsthem. Briefings are listed below in reverse order of publication.

VA aims to use Plain English in all its publications. This approach keeps jargon to a minimum and uses simple, friendly language, spelling out acronyms and changing arts and policy terminology into simple terms where possible. For more information on Plain English see The Plain English Campaign –

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162 How to nominate your group for an Epic Award
The Epic Awards celebrate excellence and innovation in the amateur arts and crafts sector. This Briefing explains the benefits of being part of the Awards – and how you can nominate your group.
161 Equality and diversity update
By promoting equality and diversity within your group you can ensure that all those involved feel valued and heard, and able to contribute to its overall success.
160 Charitable Incorporated Organisations
This Briefing outlines the key points of the ‘Charitable Incorporated Organisation’ (CIO) form, what it is and what it entails, and provides guidance for voluntary arts groups considering registering for CIO status.
159 Online Gift Aid and the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme
Since we published Briefing 135 – Gift Aid and tax-effective giving, in June 2010, a number of changes have been made to Gift Aid, including the ability to claim online and the new Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS). This Briefing, to be read in conjunction with Briefing 135, provides details of these changes.
How to get involved in Voluntary Arts Week
Voluntary Arts Week shines a light on all the wonderful amateur arts and crafts activity taking place across the UK and the Republic of Ireland – and encourages others to join in. This Briefing tells you all about Voluntary Arts Week, how you can get involved and the benefits it could bring to you and others.
Child Protection Part V – Protection of Freedoms Act and the Disclosure and Barring Service
This Briefing examines the changes to the law that have taken place in England, Wales and Northern Ireland since the Protection of Freedoms Act came into force in May 2012 – including the establishment of the Disclosure and Barring Service – and explains what these changes mean in practical terms for groups like yours.
How to promote your group on is a free online directory that can help you attract new participants and members. Once you have uploaded details of your voluntary arts group to, people in your area will be able to discover you by typing in their postcode and by selecting the category (such as ‘dance’ or ‘crafts’) that corresponds to your group.
Handling complaints
This Briefing explains the importance of setting up a complaints procedure, explores the best way to handle complaints and looks at how your voluntary arts group could use a complaint to build positively on its reputation.
Getting your website noticed – search engine optimisation
‘Search engine optimisation’ (or SEO) simply means setting up your website in such a way as to ensure that it appears as near as possible to the top of the list on search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing.
It’s an honour! – recognising the people that matter to your voluntary arts group
Did you know that anyone in the UK can be put forward for an honour, and that anyone can nominate a person they think truly deserves this recognition? It’s not as difficult as you might think! Honours recognise the achievements of ordinary people who do extraordinary things.
Micro-volunteering is volunteering in bite-sized chunks. This briefing will look at how voluntary arts and crafts groups can benefit from micro-volunteering, not only as a means of getting tasks done, but also as an exciting way to connect with new participants.
Using photography
Good quality photography can make the difference between not being featured in your local newspaper, and getting a double-page spread! So here are some hints to help you make sure you end up with photos that you’re pleased with, and understand how to organise and use them.
Crowdfunding for voluntary arts and crafts groups
At its heart, crowdfunding is a really simple concept – showcasing your group’s activities online to attract small donations from a large ‘crowd’ of followers… and offering unique rewards in return for their support.
Making your performances accessible to people with hearing and sight loss
This Briefing provides voluntary arts groups with some simple and cost-effective ways of bringing amateur performances back to life for the 12 million people in the UK experiencing hearing and sight loss.
Creating a Twitter presence
This Briefing will explain the principles of using Twitter and the reasons your voluntary arts or crafts group may want to do so. It will concentrate on the basic processes of registering on the site, finding and following people and organisations of interest, and tweeting short updates about your group’s activities.
Creating a YouTube presence
This Briefing will explain the features of YouTube and why your voluntary arts group may wish to use it. It will focus on the basic process of registering on the site and uploading your video content, before explaining the simple process of setting up a YouTube channel.
Crisis management and disaster recovery
Whatever you do to reduce the risks your voluntary arts group faces, it is impossible to guarantee that things won’t go wrong. This briefing looks at ways you can plan for what happens if your prevention methods have failed, for whatever reason, or if something comes along that you couldn’t possibly have foreseen.
  VAScotland Briefing – Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme
On 28 February 2011, the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme came into effect in Scotland. The Scheme ensures that people working with vulnerable members of society (in this instance children and ‘protected’ adults) are not currently barred from doing so.
The future of cheques
This briefing summarises discussions that took place at the Future of Cheques workshop, organised by Voluntary Arts and run by the Payments Council in March 2011.
Health and safety for lone and remote workers
If you work alone on a regular basis, it is vital that you assess any risks with your line manager and identify any measures needed to ensure your personal safety. Thinking things through and planning for the unexpected will help you remain confident when faced with an emergency.
Creating a Facebook presence
This briefing will explain the principles of using Facebook and the reasons your voluntary arts or crafts group may wish to do so. It will concentrate on the basic processes of registering on the site and setting up a simple page, whilst emphasising the importance of protecting your personal and private information.
Commissioning – an opportunity for the voluntary arts?
‘Commissioning’ is the process of finding, hiring and managing another individual or organisation to deliver a project or programme of work on your behalf. It is also known as ‘contracting out’, ‘outsourcing’ or ‘procurement’.
Finding a venue – some new ideas
Finding a suitable venue for your voluntary arts or crafts activity can be a challenge – whether it’s for a one-off show or exhibition, a regular workshop or rehearsal, or a meeting space for your management committee.
Community media as platform for the voluntary arts and crafts
There is a wealth of arts activity already taking place through community media organisations, but the community media sector still has huge potential to offer the arts – including collaborations between voluntary arts groups and community media organisations within the same communities.
Making the most of Corporate Social Responsibility
Whether or not they have an agreed Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy, most businesses large or small are aware of the need to behave responsibly and ethically towards their local communities. Working with the voluntary arts and crafts groups that form the hubs of these communities is a great way for them to do this.
Welcoming newcomers to your group
Most voluntary arts and crafts groups try to go the extra mile to be welcoming to new participants, but anticipating everyone’s needs and concerns can be a challenge. This briefing will provide you with some simple practical tips to anticipate the needs and concerns of new participants coming to your group for the first time.
Making the most of your telephone
Most voluntary arts groups own one or more landline and mobile phones. Although they might not seem very significant in the grand scheme of things, by following some of the quick and simple ideas laid out below, these devices can be used to save money, raise funds, and attract new members or participants to your voluntary arts group.
Getting charitable status – an update
Becoming a charity is one of a number of options for voluntary arts groups considering how they can most effectively benefit their participants and community. This briefing will outline the process of becoming a charity in each of the four nations of the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Gift Aid and tax effective giving
Gift Aid is an easy way for voluntary arts groups that are registered UK charities to increase the value of their donations by reclaiming the basic rate of tax. This briefing will dispel some of the myths and show how easy it is to make the most of the scheme.
Welcoming speakers of different languages
This briefing offers some practical tips on how to welcome speakers of different languages to your voluntary arts group – as potential arts or crafts participants, volunteers or management committee members.
Putting your arts or crafts group on the map – ten ways to get noticed
This briefing lists ten cost-effective ways to help you increase the impact and reach of your group’s public profile. It will be especially useful to small volunteer-led arts and crafts groups that don’t have paid staff, official premises or even a marketing budget. However, the principles will apply to arts organisations of all sizes.
Child Protection – Garda Vetting and the Arts (Republic of Ireland)
Produced in partnership with CREATE, national development agency for collaborative arts, Rupublic of Ireland. This is a companion briefing to VA Briefing 132 – Child Protection Part IV – Children & Vulnerable Groups.
Child Protection Part IV – Children and vulnerable groups
This briefing brings Child Protection information up-to-date as of March 2010, providing details of the newly established Independent Safeguarding Authority and the steps you need to take under the new Vetting and Barring Scheme for the protection of both children and vulnerable adults.
Community Benefit – measuring the impact of arts and crafts activity
This briefing gives you an overview of the various ways you can measure the quality and impact of your activities, explains who might be interested in hearing about them, and provides guidance on how you can communicate this in ways they will understand.
Developing European links and opportunities
The most successful voluntary arts and crafts groups are those that have the strongest networks, and yet we often find ourselves confined by our national borders. If we turn our attention to the rest of Europe, however, we discover a wealth of voluntary and amateur arts and crafts activity.
Taking the next step from informal group to registered organisation
If a voluntary arts group is successful and members wish to expand its activities or take advantage of a wider range of opportunities, then they often find that they need to formalise the set-up of the group by becoming a registered organisation.
Events checklist – disability and access
Providing opportunities for people with all types of abilities isn’t simply about meeting legal requirements. It is about making decisions on all aspects of your activities that ensure as wide a range of people as possible are involved.
Understanding and creating accessible PDFs
This supplementary briefing is an introduction to the issues faced by disabled users in accessing and using PDF documents. It contains practical information about creating accessible PDFs using two common word processing packages – OpenOffice Writer and Microsoft Word.
Working with groups of other art or craft forms
Many voluntary arts groups are part of well-established ‘communities of interest’ – they have strong links with other groups practising the same art or craft form as they are. However, groups may be less aware of the multitude of other art and craft forms that are out there.
Engaging with freelancers
Whatever your art or craft form, this briefing is designed to help you think through the process of hiring a freelance artist or facilitator. Appointing a freelancer can be a great opportunity to bring a fresh perspective to your group – one that can have lasting positive benefits.
Fostering a long-term relationship with occasional volunteers
This briefing will look at ways to engage with occasional volunteers (those that provide the short-term support) so that they will be more likely to volunteer for you again in future and act as advocates and supporters of your work more generally.
Making your group even more environmentally-friendly
Whatever their budget, size or art form, everyone can make positive changes, big or small, to make their group or organisation more environmentally sustainable. This BriefingXtra (to supplement VA Briefing 124) will provide you with some simple ideas on how to do this.
How to make sure your group is still here in ten years` time
‘Sustainability’ is a buzzword that has come to mean many things – at its simplest it just means ‘continuing to exist’ or ‘sticking around’. This briefing takes a holistic look at some of the things voluntary arts groups might want to think about to help ensure that they are still here in ten years’ time.
Free and low-cost IT tools
This briefing looks at some free and low-cost alternatives to standard software. The final section suggests some ways in which the open source ethos can be applied to your other activities.
Reaching out to new audiences
This briefing explains audience development, the process of getting new people in through the door, and the lasting relationship you have with them once they’re in.
Incorporation and recent changes to company law
This briefing will provide a reminder of what incorporation means and an outline of the main changes brought about by the Companies Act 2006 in the UK. Includes information on company law in the Republic of Ireland.
Voluntary and community sector jargon
This briefing will explain some of the most common voluntary and community sector jargon currently in circulation.
Useful information and contacts
If you are setting up or running a voluntary arts group, this briefing will provide you with a space to record the names and contact details of helpful people and services.
Insurance for voluntary arts groups
This briefing will guide you through the different types of insurance available, and help you find the right balance between low cost and adequate protection.
Social enterprise
This briefing gives a basic introduction to the concept of social enterprise, offers examples of how it can work for you in an arts environment, and lists key considerations if you are thinking of starting your own.
Trustees and fundraising
This briefing aims to give trustees and committee members an overview of their role in relation to fundraising, and how to address the issue strategically.
Attracting business sponsors
This briefing will help you think about potential partnerships from a commercial point of view and make your sponsorship package as attractive as possible to potential business sponsors.
The latest developments in web technology
This briefing is designed to guide you through the maze of new web technologies and suggest some practical ways you might like to take advantage of them to help you further the aims of your voluntary arts or crafts group.
Welcoming people with a learning disability to the voluntary arts
This briefing will consider the ways in which you can make what you do more relevant, fun and inclusive for people with a learning disability.
Why should I become a trustee?
This briefing has been written to help voluntary arts organisations recruit new trustees/committee members. Please feel free to pass it on to potential recruits.
How inclusive are you? A checklist for voluntary arts groups
This briefing is designed to help you to increase the range of people who participate in your group, with a checklist of simple things you can do to achieve this quickly and easily.
Whose Board? Whose Agenda? Including disabled and deaf people in your management committees
This briefing is a short ‘rough’ guide to including disabled and deaf people on your board, management committee or advisory group.
Child Protection Part III – An Update
This briefing explains the ramifications of the changes since 2004 and suggests a range of precautions to help you ensure the safety of every child that comes into contact with you or your organisation.
Health and safety in offices – Assessing the Risk
This briefing looks at the practicalities of making your office a safe place to work, explains how to undertake a simple risk assessment and offers a checklist to help you identify potential hazards.
Annual Reports
Your annual report is a chance to show your best work to the world, to communicate your key messages, thank your supporters, acknowledge the hard work of your volunteers and staff and present your future plans.
Community Interest Companies
This briefing explains the nature of this type of company and considers its advantages and disadvantages in comparison with other organisation types.
Health and safety in offices – Fire Safety
If you run a charity or voluntary organisation, if you are self-employed or if you employ others, you are legally obliged to take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of fire. This briefing will provide an overview of the rules along with some practical instructions on how to do so.
Older People and the Voluntary Arts
This briefing aims to help local volunteer-led arts groups ensure that participation by older people in their activities whether as creators of artwork, set designers or organisers is meaningful and of the highest possible quality.
Health and safety in offices – Electrical Equipment
This briefing explains how, by conducting regular checks and tests, you can control electrical risks and prevent accidents.
Accounting for Worth
Whether you are a volunteer, organisation, community group, freelance worker or policy maker, thos briefing provides a context and a rationale for claiming the true economic value of the voluntary arts.
What’s happening with the Licensing Act 2003?
This briefing provides an update on the Act since its implementation, and helps organisations avoid some of the pitfalls that have arisen in the first twelve months of its operation.
Let’s celebrate! – recognising and rewarding our worth
This briefing takes a look at why we, as individuals, artists, managers, groups and organisations, should take time out to reflect on our activities, projects and work in general, recognise our milestones and successes, and reward all those involved in making these possible.
Lobbying politicians and policy makers – an introduction to influencing
This briefing looks at what it means to lobby and considers ways in which even the smallest group can effect better decision making by politicians and policy makers.
Consultation – making it work for you
This briefing explains what consultation is about, outlines the benefits of both contributing to and organising consultations, and offers tips to help voluntary arts groups to be effective at both.
What do I need to know about Copyright?
This briefing explains your rights as a copyright owner, along with your responsibilities when using the copyright material of others. It also provides contact details of relevant legislative organisations and central licensing bodies.
Networking – not just nattering
This briefing looks at seven keys to successful networking that apply whether you are a small arts group or a major production company.
Cultural diversity and the voluntary arts – an inspirational opportunity
This briefing looks at the importance of cultural diversity to the voluntary arts as a concept extending beyond issues of race and equality.
Displays and exhibitions for voluntary arts organisations
Displays, or exhibits, give the chance to really promote your services and activities, and to show yourselves in your best light, do a demonstration, raise awareness, fundraise or sell your work – all while being with the general public.
Computerised accounting
This briefing looks at whether or not now is the right time for your organisation to consider computerising its accounts and the software options available. It also offers a few handy tips to help ease the change over.
How to write a successful funding application
This briefing covers what you need to do to research and prepare information about your project in order to communicate clearly with your funder. It also shows how to complete an application form and write a letter of application.
  Voluntary Arts Ireland briefing – E-marketing – making the most of your email
E-marketing can make it easier for you to interact with members or subscribers, giving you the ability to pass on the information which will help you meet your marketing objectives, and allows them to feed information back to you which helps you get to know who you are dealing with better.
Young Adults & Voluntary Arts – three models to promote participation
Based on the Young Adults & Voluntary Arts (YAVA) project, managed by Voluntary Arts Ireland, this briefing uses three models to address issues of engaging younger people in the voluntary arts.
Cashflow forecasts
Knowing and managing the flow and movement of cash is something that every organisation should be doing, regardless of size. This briefing looks at the importance of cashflow forecasts, how to make one, and how to use it to your advantage.
A glossary of accounting and finance terms for the voluntary sector
This briefing covers common terms you might across when dealing with finances and accounting. To understand the basics of accounting it is important to first become familiar with the terminology.
Applying to Trust Funds
This briefing looks at the basics of applying to trusts, such as when to apply, how to choose who to apply to, how to impress the trust with your proposal, what are the basic things trusts need to know, and what to do when you have the money.
Making your website for everyone
This briefing takes a look at the different groups of users and technologies you will need to consider, and offers guidelines and tips to help you create an accessible website.
Taking the voluntary arts into education
Artists working in schools can be a highly successful partnership, and one that has great impact. This briefing outlines the main issues surrounding the artist/school partnership and will help guide you through the process of working in a school.
Artists in Hospitals – guidelines for the voluntary arts
This briefing looks at what artists need to consider in order to work in a hospital environment, at no matter what stage – interested, starting a programme, or already working in one.
Child Protection Part II – Putting Child Protection into Practice
Part II of this briefing examines how to put the child protection practices outlined in Part I into action effectively, creating a safe environment for all involved.
  Voluntary Arts Scotland briefing – The Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003
Child Protection Part I – An Introductory Guide
Part I of this briefing looks at the background information on the key issues and legislation that needs to be considered when dealing with Child Protection. It gives a broad overview and outlines the need for a Child Protection Policy and Implementation Procedures.
Effective meetings
When a meeting works well, it can generate great ideas and add enormous value to the work and environment. With a little extra care, thoughtful planning and good management, you can ensure all your meetings are inspiring, efficient and enjoyable.
Monitoring and Evaluation – a general guide
This briefing looks at effective ways to monitor your work, evaluate what you do, and share results with your organisation’s partners, funders and staff.
Licensing Act 2003 – to be read in conjunction with briefing 101
There’s been a lot of concern and confusion about the modernisation of the licensing laws in England and Wales. This briefing aims to demystify the issues, outline the facts and help clarify what organisations need to do to comply with the Act.
Creating a financial risk policy
This briefing focuses on what is meant by financial risk, how to identify risks, estimate their probability and potential consequences, and how to take action against risks. It also looks at how to draw up appropriate financial policies to reduce risks, including the importance of reserves.
How to write a press release
The press release is the most basic and cheapest tool for getting your organisation to the attention of the media. Don’t be daunted by the prospect of writing a press release. Simply convey the essential information in a clear and well presented way, following the guidelines offered in this briefing.
A guide to good design for printed promotional material
This briefing takes you through the main points to consider when producing any kind of leaflet, flyer or poster, to help you to produce good, well-designed material.
Planning a marketing campaign
If you want people to take part in your activities, marketing is an essential and inherent part of what you do. This briefing sheet will explain how to plan such a campaign to get the most out of the money you spend promoting your activities.
Publicity explained
Voluntary arts organisations need to promote themselves and their projects in order to increase their membership, encourage people to participate in their activities and events, increase their audiences, build a good reputation and gain credibility for their work. This briefing offers a step-by-step guide to making the task easier and more manageable no matter what size organisation or group you are.
Writing for the web
A website is a fast and effective way of getting your message across to thousands of people. This briefing looks at ways to make it easier for you to do this and so increase your chances of attracting and keeping your visitors.
Risk management for charities
Risk management is now a legal requirement for charities with a gross income of over £250,000. However, the Charity Commission feels that smaller charities should also establish a risk policy as a matter of good practice to demonstrate the charity’s accountability to its stakeholders.
Charity Trustees – what do they do? Part II – managerial, legal and financial roles and responsibilities
Part I of this briefing looked at who the trustees of voluntary organisations are and what responsibilities and roles they take on in general. This briefings looks in more detail at the managerial, financial and legal aspects of the role.
Charity Trustees – what do they do? Part I – an overview
Trusteeship is a valuable and interesting opportunity for individuals to contribute to a civil and democratic society. However the task is not an easy one. This briefing takes a broad look at the central role trustees play in determining effectiveness and accountability.
Organising a weekend event
Organising a conference can be very hard work. But with a good plan and thinking ahead you can create a really successful event.
Risk assessment for event organisers – a beginners guide
The aim of this briefing is to offer a simple and basic explanation of risk assessments to help you to organise a safe and well run event.
This briefing looks at the social and economic impact of volunteering in the cultural sector and identifies some of the many ways in which volunteering in the arts and crafts has a positive impact at every level. It is one of four briefings on volunteering to celebrate Volunteer’s Week 2002.
This briefing looks at developing positive relationships with volunteers in the cultural sector and ways to reward their participation. It is the third of four briefings on volunteering to celebrate Volunteer’s Week 2002.
This briefing takes a look at how to retain the support of volunteers in the cultural sector and ways to strengthen your relationship with them. It is one of four briefings on volunteering to celebrate Volunteer’s Week 2002.
This briefing takes a look at how you can spread the word and involve others in your activities. It is the first of four briefings on volunteering to celebrate Volunteer’s Week 2002.
Local Strategic Partnerships – improving quality of life
As voluntary artists and artist-run organisations we already know the benefits of participating in the arts, but are the policy and decision makers aware of them?
Just how safe are you? Health and Safety for voluntary arts organisations
This briefing describes how to go about managing health and safety in accordance with the rules and regulations, and how to go about putting a health and safety policy together.
‘Statement of purpose’ – your mission
Having a clear statement that is a summary of your organisation’s purpose will not only help your organisation communicate what it does and why, but will also help it to be consistent in what it does and how it does it.
Value and values in the voluntary arts
In November 2001, VAN and CIRCLE organised a European Round Table Volunteers at the Heart of Culture, the theme of which was ‘culture, civil society and volunteerism in Europe’. This briefing is the text of an uplifting and inspiring speech delivered by François Matarasso, renowned researcher and author of ‘Use or Ornament’.
Participatory planning – involving your stakeholders
This briefing will consider who stakeholders are, how they can be involved in the planning process and how their views can be included in creating plans for future activity.
Effective management committees
This briefing examines what can go wrong and why, and looks at ways to help make management committees more effective.
Telephone conferences – networking made easy!
This briefing describes a business meeting as an example, outlines the advantages and disadvantages of telephone conferences and offers suggestions to help you organise them effectively.
Constitutions Clarified
A short overview of constitutions, different lagal structures for groups, the differences between them and pros and cons of each one.
Gift Aid – making subscriptions go even further
Raising funds can be one of the most daunting tasks that an arts organisation undertakes. One small way to add to your pot is to encourage our subscribers too give their subscription under the Gift Aid scheme.
Creating ‘Clear Print’ – reaching the blind and partially sighted
This briefing gives guidelines on how to create ‘Clear Print’ in order to reach those experiencing sight difficulties. It also helps organisations comply with the DDA.
How do we deal with goods and services? Part II – accounting for goods and services
Once you have your goods and services – your stocks and assets – how do you account for them? This briefing provides a basic guide to developing procedures for accounting purposes, and an explanation of depreciation.
How do we deal with goods and services? Part 1 – acquiring goods and services
What goods and services might an organisation need in order to function effectively? This briefing describes how to decide whether to buy or lease and how to establish a purchasing policy.
‘Action Learning’ – an introduction
A guide to this effective approach to staff and management development.
Make change work for you!
How to make organisational change work for you.
Taking on paid staff – how do we do it? Part II – good practice in selection and induction
Good practice in selection and induction.
Taking on paid staff – how do we do it? Part I – good practice in recruitment
Good practice in recruitment.
Web briefing – Data Protection Act 1998 – to be read in conjuction with briefing 46
Data Protection Act 1998
This briefing gives an introduction to the Act in general and offers advice on how to implement procedures for good practice – essential in order to comply with the law.
How do I create an Equal Opportunities Policy?
This briefing explains how to go about developing your policy and outlines the areas you may need to consider.
Disability Discrimination Act Part III – How will this affect arts organisations?
This briefing gives a brief explanation of the Act in general, and a more comprehensive outline of part III phase II. The information will help you understand your duties within the Act, make your services available to disabled people and ensure that you are acting within the law.
Active Communities – voluntary arts doing it already
This briefing explains the Government’s ‘Active Communities’ initiative and outlines why the voluntary arts fit the agenda.
Culture makes communities
Francois Matarasso, author of ‘Use or Ornament’, speaks about the contribution of the arts to community development.
Putting the voluntary arts on the agenda
What does devolution mean to the voluntary arts, and how can we be sure we are not forgotten?
  Voluntary Arts Ireland briefing – So, what’s so great about the voluntary arts in Ireland?
So, what’s so great about the voluntary arts? 50 points to make to policy makers and funders
The benefits of participating in the arts are so obvious to those who participate that they almost become invisible. However, policy and decision-makers may need clearer evidence! This briefing will give you some ideas about the economic and social benefits of participating in the arts.
Eventful Planning – a practical checklist for arts events
This briefing is designed as a checklist to help you with the organisation of one-off events whether they are little or large, indoors or outside.
Everything you ever needed to know about statistics for arts participation – and were afraid to ask…
Figures from ‘Across the Learning Divide’, a NIACE report giving statistics on those participating in the arts and crafts by age, gender, socio-economic status and region (England, Scotland and Wales).
Who me, a Treasurer? Financial responsibilities and duties
Every voluntary organisation, whatever its size, needs a treasurer. In small organisations the treasurer deals with all aspects of the group’s finances from record keeping and budgets to petty cash and day-to-day running. In larger organisations the day-to-day finances are delegated to paid staff who report back to the treasurer.
Evaluation – How was it for you? – to be read in conjuction with briefing 80
Evaluation, whether formal or informal, is part of any planning process and at its most basic level it can help you avoid making the same mistakes twice.
Increasing and maintaining your membership
Whether you are looking for people to work on committees, perform in plays and concerts, help with sets and make up or write your newsletter the basic principles are the same.
As you would imagine, there are substantial differences in the legal procedures involved in becoming a company depending on which UK nation you are based in, and the situation is different again in Ireland. However, all four legal systems covered in this briefing share an idea of what a company is.
Getting charitable status
Not all voluntary organisations are charities, however worthy their aims. To become a charity an organisation must have purposes which the law sees as exclusively charitable.
Making committees work for you
The management committee is defined by the Charities Act of 1960 as those people who have general control and management of the administration of a charity or organisation.
Designing and producing your newsletter
The production of a newsletter involves a number of disciplines from producing text on a word processor to briefing a print shop.
Strategic Planning
This briefing explains how to involve all your members in planning, what planning involves, how to put together a plan, and how to set goals and achieve them.
Writing Words that Work
Copywriting tips for publicity and promotions.
Voluntary Arts Ireland briefing – Raising funds locally – fundraising for small organisations
Get into print! Working with the press
Press coverage is essential for any group wanting to increase their profile, extend their membership or publicise up and coming events. It is one of the most powerful and useful ways of building a relationship with your community and presenting your organisation to the wider world.
Access – good access makes life easier for everyone!
There are many ways of improving access for disabled people, which do not necessarily have to cost thousands of pounds.
Feasibility studies
This briefing explains what a feasibility study is and how to go about carrying out your own.

Briefings not listed here are either unavailable or discontinued. For more details, please contact

If there is a particular topic you feel is missing, that would benefit you and other voluntary arts organisations, and you don’t have the time or resources to research and write it yourself, why not commission us to do it for you? Commissioning a briefing from Voluntary Arts gives you:

  • an overview of a topic you are interested in, produced to the standards you have come to expect from Voluntary Arts briefings;
  • the right to reproduce the briefing in your newsletter or on your website (subject to terms);
  • full acknowledgements and your logo at the end of the briefing.

To discuss commissioning a briefing on a topic of your choice, contact

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Voluntary Arts is the operating name of The Voluntary Arts Network (VAN) which is registered in Scotland as Company No. 139147 and Charity No. SC020345. Registered Office: 54 Manor Place, Edinburgh EH3 7EH, Scotland, UK.