The FSI (Foundation for Social Improvement) is delighted to have won the Lifelong Learning Centre Award at the SQA Star Awards.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)’s annual Star Awards is a celebration of the outstanding achievements in education and training, not just in Scotland, but throughout the UK and around the world.

The SQA Star Awards recognise the successes of individuals working towards SQA qualifications as well as the centres – the schools, colleges, training providers, and employers – that deliver SQA qualifications and enable learners to achieve their ambitions.

This year’s ceremony was held at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow’s West End and was hosted by TV personality and entrepreneur Carol Smillie.

In 2017, the FSI approached the SQA to develop a fundraising qualification specifically for the Small Charity Sector. Whether a well-established charity or a small grassroots community group, the need for expertise in fundraising has never been greater in the current climate. Funding from local, regional and central government sources has been dramatically cut and there is increasing competition from all sources.  Therefore, a qualification was developed to ensure that charities were ready to meet the increasing demand for skilled and experienced fundraisers in our sector.

The FSI’s fundraising qualifications have provided a great option to help small charities gain a fundraising edge, enabling them to benefit from expertise to maximise their fundraising potential.

Monitoring and evaluation of all FSI members undertaking their fundraising courses in 2018 found: 95% felt their knowledge had improved, 96% felt their confidence had improved and 89% felt their skills had improved.

Over the past two years, the FSI has worked with the small charity sector and moved over 60 learners onto their qualifications.

“I am studying for the Diploma in Fundraising to gain a qualification that will arm me with the tools to help sustain our charity for the future and provide new and innovative ways of working…. The trainers are engaging and inclusive and you get out what you put into the training. I am really excited about working with the FSI!” said Pam Aubert, Head of Fundraising and Communications, Macmillan Cancer Support Jersey.

With funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 2017 – 2019, matched by a donation from the FSI themselves, the FSI was able to jointly invest in 30 small charities with an income under £100,000 (who would not ordinarily undertake a qualification due to funding) and offered bursaries to the introduction to Fundraising Practice.

Over the two years, the FSI also introduced new technology such as webinar software and a Learning Management System to improve the experience and delivery of the qualification, from delivering ad-hoc out of hour webinars through to developing two E-learning modules including Developing Your Fundraising Strategy, which is one of the main modules for the qualification.

With new e-modules continuing to be developed, webinars and e-learning help make delivery accessible, especially for rural charities. The e-learning development also enables the FSI to expand the audience for qualifications beyond their core small charity audience, to larger charity fundraisers and fundraising teams, in a resource-effective way.

Based on feedback from learners, the FSI continues to explore new innovations and ways of improving the learner experience and are, for example, now looking to develop an online community using Facebook or similar for learners to connect online, chat and share experiences.

CEO of the FSI, Pauline Broomhead CBE, said: “We are thrilled to have been named a Lifelong Learning Centre winner at the SQA Star Awards. We founded the FSI because we are passionate about enabling small charities and community groups to fulfil their potential and increase the grass roots support they give to millions of individuals in the UK and across the globe. The FSI’s Fundraising Qualifications enable many small charities to gain fundraising expertise at a heavily subsidised cost, and to enhance and develop their vital support to beneficiaries.”

To celebrate winning the award the FSI are providing the following offer to charities for a limited period:

  • An exclusive 20% charity discount to any sized organisation booking the Certificate or Diploma level Fundraising Qualification quoting ‘Star Awards Discount’ (previously only available to FSI members)
  • 30 x free trial places on a first come first served basis on the FSI’s E-learning courses to charities of any size who are interested in signing up to the qualification.

To take up either offer, contact

Aviva announced as headline sponsor for Small Charity Week 2019

Today the Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI) announced that the 10th Small Charity Week will be headline sponsored by Aviva. The Week takes place 17th – 22nd June 2019 and will see popular initiatives such as Big Advice Day, Policy Day, the Fundraising Conference, and the Small Charity Big Impact Awards return to champion and support the small charity sector.

Aviva are already significant supporters of small charities through their Aviva Community Fund, volunteering commitments and in-kind support, and this headline partnership will see them increase their work to enable community causes to be stronger, self-sustaining and secure in their future.

It’s a challenging time for charities of all sizes, and small charities in particular have been hit by growing demand for their services alongside cuts to public funding, with 15% of Trustees reporting that they feel closure of their charity is likely, according to our Small Charity Index report.

Small Charity Week is therefore a vital opportunity to support and celebrate the thousands of small charities in the UK, bringing together staff, volunteers, the public, policymakers, funders and infrastructure bodies. Small charities will have the chance to win prizes, raise awareness of their work, influence decision-makers, and build their skills and sustainability over six days of activities:

The week kicks off with three social media competitions to celebrate why people love small charities, and three charities will win cash donations!

Up to 100 charities will access free bespoke advice from expert volunteers at the Big Advice Day event at City Hall, and local groups will be running their own across the country.

Small charities will have the chance to chat with ministers and policy makers at our international development roundtable and Westminster reception. We’ll also be releasing a report looking at the trends from our Small Charity Index research over the past 5 years.

Online competitions, free fundraising resources, and our popular Fundraising Conference share expert inspiration to help charities raise funds.

We’ll be announcing the winners of our Small Charity Big Impact Awards and sharing their prize videos online.

Small charities across the country will put on their own events to showcase their work and raise awareness in their community.

Pauline Broomhead, CEO of the FSI says: “I’m incredibly excited to be celebrating the 10th Small Charity Week this year, and to be partnering with Aviva to make this the biggest Week yet. Since 2010, where 300 charities took part in the Week, it’s been amazing to see it grow over the last decade and to have over 1,700 charities involved last year. We know it’s a challenging time for small charities and the FSI, Aviva and Small Charity Week partners are committed to doing everything we can to ensure they have the skills, knowledge and confidence to achieve their vision.”

Jude Brooks, Head of Aviva UK Corporate Responsibility says: “The support the FSI gives to small charities is invaluable and very much aligned to our own ambition of creating stronger communities. For over 300 years, Aviva has been defying uncertainty for its customers. We want to do the same for small charities and grassroots community groups, who are working tirelessly to make a real difference for so many people. We are proud to support them with skills, knowledge and connections, so that we can build stronger communities together and face the future with confidence.”

Find out more at / @SCWeek2019 /



For more information contact Lindsay Harrod | 020 7324 4777

More details on the Week available on the Small Charity Week website

Organisations and companies interested in partnering on or sponsoring the Week can contact

The Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI) is a registered charity (no. 1123384) established in 2007 with a vision of a world filled with independent, effective and accountable charities with the belief, passion and capacity to achieve their vision.

Aviva provides life insurance, general insurance, health insurance and asset management to 33 million customers.