This is where we’ll post third sector news and important updates that are useful for your organisation.

Join our Steering Group!

This is an exciting time for us, as we look to publicly launch The Essex Map and review how we work with charities, social enterprises, and community and voluntary organisations across the county.

To help us maximise our effectiveness, we are currently looking for people with a passion for connecting communities in Essex to join our Steering Group.

If you’d like to join us, and help shape how we build our community of communities, please complete the form below. Once completed, this will be reviewed by our existing Steering Group members at our next meeting on 6th August 2019.

Application Form

Author: Steering Member
Categories: News

Add Your Listing to The Essex Map

The Essex Alliance are proud to announce that we have launched The Essex Map – a community asset map of our county.

The Essex Map is designed to give our local residents a better understanding of the services available across our county, and help them to connect with these services. Users can search by location, category, and keyword tag to discover the wide variety of charities, social enterprises, community groups, and venues available to them.

As a member organisation of The Essex Alliance, we would like to invite you to add your listing(s) and showcase the work you are doing in Essex. You can add as many listings you like, and manage them from a single login – meaning it’s easy to keep all of your details up-to-date.

To add your listing, please visit The Essex Map website and follow the steps below:

Add Your Listing

  1. Go to
  2. Enter the details of your service, including up to 15 keyword tags that people might use to search for your service (e.g. ADHD support)
  3. Click “Save and Preview” to see how your listing will look
  4. If you would like to alter any details, click “Edit Listing” to go back to the previous screen
  5. If you are happy with your listing, click “Submit Listing”
  6. Your listing will then be reviewed by one of our team, and you will receive an email once your listing is live on the website

If you have any questions regarding The Essex Map, including advice on how to make the most of your listing, please do not hesitate to email us.

We hope that you will find The Essex Map to be a useful promotional tool for your organisation, but if you have any suggestions on how we can further improve this service please email us.


Author: Steering Member
Categories: News

Buy Social Corporate Challenge

Content from Social Enterprise East of England (SEEE).

The Buy Social Corporate Challenge is a simple initiative with a bold ambition to collectively spend £1 billion with social enterprises as part of the Challenge.

Read their most recent Impact Report here.  The report shows that £65.2 million has been spent with social enterprises by corporate partners and the Challenge has created 637 jobs at social enterprises.


Author: Steering Member
Categories: News

Social innovators – the hidden revolutionaries

By Jennifer Davis, The Essex Alliance

When we think of social enterprise, The Big Issue, fair trade chocolate, or even our reliable Co-op might spring to mind. But in recent years there has been a “hidden revolution” in the way business is being done in the UK and we have seen an impressive growth surge in the third sector. The third sector encompasses charities, social enterprises, community interest companies (CICs), and any other organisations with a social soul. According to Social Enterprise UK (2017), there are now over 80,000 social enterprises contributing £24 billion to the UK economy, employing around a million people. “The UK is viewed by many other countries as a pioneer of social enterprise” says the report.

Social enterprises can be defined as organisations that have at their heart a social mission. They make products or provide services that benefit their local communities, provide employment for disadvantaged or disaffected groups, or have as their main purpose the goal of investing their profits into good causes. In turn, customers of social enterprises are also on the increase ­­– those who actively seek to buy local, sustainable and fairly traded are adding ‘socially aware’ to their portfolio.

Possibly the most exciting thing about this growing sector is that social enterprises are run by a far more diverse range of people than mainstream businesses – often by those disaffected by or disinterested in getting involved with the rat-race. They are set up by young, dynamic, forward-thinking entrepreneurs with an inventive take on the business world, and who as a necessity think creatively to make their ventures work.

Often the inspiration for a social enterprise comes from a requirement to meet a specific need, often in and for the communities in which they operate. Over one-third of social enterprises has a director with a disability, nearly all have a female director (over 40 percent are entirely female-led), and over a third has black Asian minority ethnic (BAME) representation. Two-thirds of social enterprises support people from disadvantaged groups, with 44 percent employing them. “A large proportion are also supporting and creating opportunities for groups that most other businesses ignore; often, in places where other businesses do not operate” (Social Enterprise UK, 2018).

Make no mistake – this is not a sector purely for hippie do-gooders. There are significant successes and actual profits to be made here. Social enterprise has proved itself to be commercially resilient, outperforming mainstream small and medium enterprises (SMEs) against a range of business metrics: turnover, innovation, start-up rates, diversity in leadership and more. Over 70 percent made a profit or broke even in the last year – the bottom line is that social innovation makes business sense. “Social enterprises have put reality to the rhetoric of the late 90s and mid-2000s: financially sustainable, commercially competitive, profitable (and reinvesting to achieve their social goals), and creating jobs and opportunities, often for those who need it most” (Social Enterprise UK, 2018).

Most (around three-quarters) of social enterprises earn the majority of their income from selling products to an increasingly socially aware general public, open to shifting their buying habits. And in this sense they are more innovative – 50 percent of social enterprises introduced a new product or service in the last twelve months compared with just 33 percent (and falling) by SMEs. For big ticket items, the public sector is the main source of income for the 20 percent of social enterprises with high (over £5m) turnover.

Despite all this, and however promising the statistics look, social enterprises remain “finance-hungry”, and access to finance remains a struggle for social enterprises. As Social Enterprise UK says, “The social enterprise sector is a powerful part of the UK economy and has been significantly underestimated”. With no signs of the sector letting up in the near future, and with growth continuing to prove resilient, canny investors would be wise to look in their direction.



Social Enterprise UK, The Future of Business – State of Social Enterprise Survey 2017. Available at

Social Enterprise UK, Hidden Revolution – Size and Scale of Social Enterprise in 2018. Available at



Author: Steering Member
Categories: News

Top tips for killer email comms

Content originally from Directory of Social Change.

From conversational greetings to trackable campaigns, improve your email communication and maximise your digital footprint with these top tips.

Since the birth of the World Wide Web, technology has become increasingly fundamental in the development of personal relationships and businesses alike. Globally, billions of emails are sent daily. So, what can you do to make yours stand out? Here are just a handful of knacks to get you started.

Be economical with your words

This has stuck with me since my first marketing job, and with luck it will forever. Whenever I write anything, I hear my old boss in my head asking if I really need that in there. Ask yourself “Does this still make sense without that?” and if it does, get rid of it. Less is more, and you won’t have your reader’s attention for long so best to make the most of the time you do.

Get personal

Who doesn’t like feeling special? Or has time to digest the messages of over 500 ads we’re exposed to daily? Personalisation isn’t skin deep (it’ll take more than addressing an email to someone personally to receive their full attention) but complemented by additional methods, could form the beginning of a beautiful (e-)friendship. There are plenty of ways organisations can entice their audience.

The simplest way is to address your audience by their first name; talk to your audience directly. A personal “good morning” goes a long way.

Second, establish a connection based on mutual interests. Do you have similar responsibilities? Are you emotionally invested in the same cause? Are you familiar with the same area, work or play?

There is no such thing as the perfect pool of data; while we – as humans – adapt, behavioural data changes. Historical data in the form of a previous transaction could be enough to make a connection. Have they recently attended an event or purchased something similar?

Embrace your inner-scientist

Another proclamation from my first marketing job – “Data is oil.” This means that good data to an organisation, is what oil is to a bike chain. It’s a vital element of keeping it going.

We’ve all heard quality over quantity, but with great data comes great responsibility. Whilst communicating with your audiences, it’s crucial to test subject lines, content and more, based on opens, clicks and so on. We – as receivers – change in behaviour, so why wouldn’t our communication?

With testing, comes tracking. Google Analytics and Campaign URL Builder are the only couple you’ll want to spend eight hours a day with. Google Analytics is another kettle of fish and deserves its own show (as well as holds enough information to keep you looking at a screen until the end of time) but until you explore it, my fellow marketeer touches on it along with other digital tools to maximise your website traffic.

Be relevant

Many like using personalisation; being relevant makes your message fresh and more attractive. What’s happening that’s topical? Is it a trivial “day of the year”? What will your reader already have on their mind when they see your email drop into their inbox? Be empathetic to your reader and make a connection.

Write for the web

Be mindful of how your message will be received. It’s the 21st century and a higher percentage of emails are opened on mobile devices than desktops. Unfortunately for you, a smaller screen – which is also likely to be read on-the-go – means less time for your message to be digested.

As well as being conscious about word count, layout and optimisation is key to a friendly user experience. Know how your email (and landing pages) will appear on different devices, and how much scrolling is required from top to bottom. Check your platform – I’ve yet to come across a system that doesn’t let you check.

Pssst… Don’t shout

It’s easy for exclamation marks to be overused. If you wouldn’t shout something at someone in real life, then it shouldn’t be followed by an exclamation mark in writing. If a message (literally and figuratively) is strong enough, an exclamation mark isn’t required. Regarding emails specifically, sometimes filters identify emails containing exclamation marks in the subject line as spam. Beware! And yes, I’d shout that.

Present a clear call-to-action

Keep the purpose of your message in the forefront of your mind from start to finish. Keep the call-to-action short, snappy and most importantly – obvious. Something to keep in mind which comes in handy (in and out of the workplace) – NEVER assume. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Just a hunch, but maybe you know where the button is because you put it there?

Proof – not once, not twice, but three times (at least)

There’s a reason this piece of advice will find its way into almost any top tip article. Not only specific to design and marketing, proofing content – from daily emails to monthly reports – is a good habit to have whilst being the perfect defence against wasted time. As well as proofing something more than once, it’s important to do so after having stepped away from it. Even ask a colleague.

Author: Steering Member
Categories: News