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Frequently Asked Questions

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Join for free, set-up takes 2 mins and each questionnaire 30 - click Register Now

The CEF puts a free digital mentor on your desktop that provides you with assurance and enables you to maximise impact, improve performance and ensure compliance

It does this be enabling you to ask all the questions you need to, optimising reporting for your priorities and then linking your results to the resources you need. 

'Whilst it has created key focuses for us, the joy of the system is that it also give us guidance, templates and key documents to make this as smooth and as easy as possible for us.  It is really easy to use and isn’t overly onerous (apart from making you think)'.  CEO, Andover & District Mencap

HOW WILL IT HELP MY ORGANISATION?

No one knows a charity, as well as those running it but, equally, no one can have all the expertise needed.  The CEF creates a unique framework that meets the specific needs of your organisation, uses your input to identify opportunities and weaknesses, before these become problems, then links these to relevant resources, so you can respond quickly and effectively.   

And, as everyone is hard pressed, it's very quick and easy to use.  Set-up takes 2 mins and each of the 8 questionnaires 30, reports are exported as action plans, it can be used interactively at meetings and on conference calls, and the quality mark is automated, so there's no additional workload.

‘The questions are phrased brilliantly - challenging how we prioritise our management time’.  CEO, Ecosystems Knowledge Network

CAN ANYONE USE IT?

Yes - statements are in plain English, with support for technical terms.  It works for any UK non-profit, including Scottish, Northern Irish and UK based international charities and CICs. 

HOW DO WE USE THE QUESTIONNAIRES?

There are 8 - strategy, governance, income generation, risk, people, operations, finance & resources and communications.  

How do I score a questionnaire?

Statements are scored using the criteria below.

CriteriaDescription1 star5 star
ImportanceHow important this issue is to your organisationIt is of no, or little importanceIt is critical, or extremely important
AchievementThe extent to which your organisation meets all aspects of the statementWe are not doing this at all, or to only a limited extentWe meet all aspects of the statement

WHAT ARE QUESTIONNAIRE STATEMENTS?

Descriptions of all aspects of performance – the resources available, activities undertaken, what these produce, the outcomes delivered, the impact created, and the overarching management and planning systems. 

How do statements assess critical people factors?

The system is able to assess key issues, such as leadership, culture and decision making, by taking into account not only what is done, but who does it, how well, their capacity and expertise, and how motivated they are in doing so.

How many statements are in each questionnaire?

Usually between 20 and 50, depending on the questionnaire, and your charity’s size, sector, where it operates and the activities it undertakes.  

HOW DOES THE DASHBOARD WORK?

dasboard

The 3 dials are your top-level assessments, which are analysed in the 3 tables - click on any ? symbol for more information about these.  Click on any number for the detailed underpinning reports, and again to display the resources or to export data.  

What do the 3 tables assess?

The Core Functions and Governance tables reflect your 8 questionnaires.  The Performance Analysis table assesses performance from across your organisation, as follows: Charitable Impact, Leadership, Realism & Capability, Legal & Compliance, Resource Efficiency (achieving value for money), Sustainability and Duty of Care (keeping people safe from harm). 

What is the Quality Management Table?

This reminds you when questionnaires will next need to be scored and shows your progress towards achieving the Quality Mark

HOW CAN WE GET THE MOST FROM OUR ASSESSMENTS?

Performance is assessed in a variety of ways, to enable you to decide which you would gain most benefit from focussing on. For example, an organisation facing financial challenges might prioritise Sustainability and Income Generation, whereas an organisation working in a highly regulated sector may focus more on Legal & Compliance and Risk.

How are scores calculated?

The score is based on your assessment of how well you are performing and how important this is to you. 

What do the Must Do, Should Do, Could Do, Don’t Do categories mean?

Category What it means % Score
Must Do Significant scope to improve performance Less than 25%
Should Do Scope to improve performance 25% - 49%
Could Do Some scope to improve performance 50% - 74%
Don’t Do Little, if any scope to improve performance 75% - 100%

WHAT IS THE QUALITY MARK?

A non-profit that holds the Quality Mark will have assessed in detail all areas of organisational performance, within the previous 12 months.  To find out more Click here.

What are the benefits?

It provides demonstrable evidence to stakeholders and funders, of your commitment to maximising charitable impact and delivering value-for-money. It also provides reassurance to trustees that the organisation is well run and recognition to the staff for achieving this.

What evidence will stakeholders and funders have of this?

When you qualify, the logo is automatically displayed on your dashboard and reports.  You may also use it in your own marketing materials, as long as you continue to meet the quality standard. 

HOW DOES THE QUERY SYSTEM WORK?

You can carry out in-depth analysis by clicking to select from nearly 100 criteria.  These range from data protection, diversity and internal financial controls to softer issues, such as culture, decision making and engagement, and stakeholder groups, such as board members, beneficiaries and donors.  

HOW DO WE CREATE AND EXPORT REPORTS?

Click the Export button, to download any detailed report, or query results in action plan format, in Excel.  

HOW EXTENSIVE ARE THE SYSTEM RESOURCES?

There are links to resources produced by 100+ organisations, which are being continually updated, plus downloadable toolkits, guides and templates.  Each statement is individually linked to relevant resources - the system finds what you need for you, so you don't have to.  Some statements have more than a dozen links and there are 3000+ links within the system. 

HOW WILL THE SYSTEM BE DEVELOPED FURTHER?

There are 3 subsequent phases.  Planning is well advanced and development will be low cost, as this was designed in from the outset. The aim is to transfer ownership to partners to scale the system.      

  • Phase 2 - a charity sector data store to enable us to act strategically to identify and resolve issues, before we read about them in the Media. Over 4 years, 1000 organisations would generate 3.5 million pieces of data, which can be analysed using 100+ criteria.
  • Phase 3 - promoting transparency and accountability, by linking online stakeholder questionnaires directly to the core system to create digital shareholders.
  • Phase 4 - developing and recognising professional skills, by using the system structure, content and resources to create a low-cost online qualification, with an associated Fit-to-Practice accreditation for CEOs and those aspiring to the role.    

HOW WILL MY DATA BE PROTECTED?

Your data will not be disclosed to a third party without either your consent, or unless required to do so by law. Full details are in the Privacy Statement and Terms & Conditions, available via the website links. 

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