Happy Christmas and Goodbye from The Tool Factory!

23 12 2009

We have had an amazing and fun 4 years but the time has come for us to move on and do something new.

The Tool Factory will be closing its doors on 31st December 2009.

We have made this decision based on a number of factors.

E-News Writer
Firstly, one of our suppliers – the social enterprise that provides our E-News Writer is shutting down due to the recession. This means as of Christmas Day we have lost one of our key products.

Business Plan Writer
We have also in the last year been involved in a long, drawn and expensive legal battle with an ex-partner of The Tool Factory who suddenly announced that he was claiming ownership of the copyright of our Business Plan Writer tool.

Our intention, this time last year was as the Partner left, just to hand over the copyright of the tool from The Tool Factory to this individual so that they could continue to develop it, which we believed they would do a good job of. All they were required to do was arrange for us to be able to buy licences which would enable us to sell the product.

The individual concerned was unhappy with this proposal and instead brought in their legal term claiming they owned the copyright themselves.

We do not agree with this and no evidence has been produced to show this to be the case. However, as this situation has been dragged out for over a year, despite our attempts to resolve it quickly, we are having to walk away.

We would rather spend our money on supporting social entrepreneurs than wasting it on a seemingly never-ending legal battle. It means losing our Business Plan Writer tool but we’ll just go on an build something better anyway.

Bev is Moving On
In the new year Bev Meldrum will be moving to South Africa as her husband takes up a job there.

Bev will be working with social enterpreneurs in Cape Town and will continue to develop new tools and resources. They will all be available, along with Bev’s blog – For More Than Profit – on the new website from the 1st January 2010.

The Future
All of our free tools and resources will continue to be available online. They’ll all be moving to a new website www.formorethanprofit.com from 1st January 2009. We will all be continuing to work with social entrepreneurs and developing new tools and resources – these will also be available on the For More Than Profit site from January.

Social Impact Tracker will continue to be available from Cunamh ICT – contact Peter for more information.

You can also keep up to date by following us on Twitter. Currently our username is The Tool Factory although this will automatically change to For More Than Profit in January. Bev is also on Twitter.

Thanks for all your support and do keep in touch – we’d love to hear how you are getting on.

All the best.

The Tool Factory Team

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Fancy a semester in Cape Town, South Africa studying Social Entrepreneurship?

21 09 2009

indexPhotoWe certainly wouldn’t say no!

Unfortunately we’re not undergraduates so we can’t, but if you would like to there are still places left.

Connect 1-2-3 and the University of Cape Town are offering a semester of credited study on a Social Entrepreneurship programme.

You will get to learn from Social Enterprise experts at UCT, work alongside local social entrepreneurs and get to experience living in one of the most beautiful and fantastic cities on the planet … and get transfer credits you can put towards your programme at your home university.

South Africa is a country of extreme beauty yet struggling with extreme  levels of poverty and deprivation. So where better to learn about the role Social Enterprise can play in addressing social needs than in Cape Town.

You’ll be staying all together in central Cape Town with free transport to and from the University. There may also be the opportunity to take the course as part of your own professional development rather than a credited course. Contact Eimear Costigan to discuss it.

You can find out more about the programme here and download the application form.





Booking open for ‘Community Anchors: Fit For Purpose’ – 4th June 2009

7 05 2009

communityanchors1

Booking is now open for the ‘Community Anchors: Fit For Purpose‘ conference on Thursday 4th June where we will be discussing whether in these uncertain financial times will Community Anchors really be ‘fit for purpose’?

This one day conference is aimed at practitioners, researchers and policy makers passionate about the role of Community Anchors in bringing change to their communities.

Throughout the day there will be the opportunity to discuss and debate the current issues surrounding the sustainability and future of Community Anchors, as well as hearing from a range of key practitioners and researchers in the sector.

This event is hosted by the Bromley-by-Bow Centre, Community Links, Toynbee Hall and the Centre For Institutional Studies at the University of East London.

Speakers

Graham Fisher – Chief Executive, Toynbee Hall
Milla Gregor – Evaluation and Research Manager, Toynbee Hall
Stephen Thake – London Metropolitan University
Rob Trimble – Chief Executive, Bromley by Bow Centre
Alice Wallace – Centre for Institutional Studies, University of East London
Max Weaver – Chief Executive, Community Links

Conference Themes

How do we know that Community Anchors are viable institutions? This workshop will look at the theme of how we measure our social impact. Milla Gregor from Toynbee Hall will be discussing how they have developed their social impact measurement.

How can Community Anchors become sustainable institutions? Stephen Thake, London Metropolitan University, will be presenting this workshop and discussing the financial sustainability of Community Anchors in light of the current financial crisis.

How can Community Anchors contribute to the overall social improvement and well-being of a locality? This workshop will look at how the issues of partnership, competition and local relationships with community groups can ensure Community Anchors have a greater impact than they might otherwise have had.

… other speakers to be confirmed soon.

Choose ‘Other Payment Options‘ on the booking page to pay by invoice.





Introduction to Social Impact Measurement – Free E-Book

29 04 2009

simWe are spending a lot of our time talking about measuring social impact at the moment and although most organisations agree that the current monitoring that they are doing doesn’t tell the full story of the impact they are having there is still a lot of confusion about what Social Impact actually is.

To help answer some of these questions and help organisations get started measuring their own social impact we have launched a new FREE e-book called Measuring Your Social Impact: A Practical Approach.

As part of the download process we are asking people to help us measure our own social impact – and in particular the impact our free e-book has on their understanding of social impact.

You can download your copy here.

Bev has also written a post on her blog – For More Than Profit – on Our Approach to Social Impact Measurement and how we believe that any organisation, whatever their size, can and should be measuring their social impact – so head over there and have a read of what we think about Social Impact Measurement.





Measuring Your Social Impact – A Practical Guide

7 04 2009

globe-people-city-globeHere at The Tool Factory we have been thinking a lot about measuring social impact in Third Sector organisations.

If we can provide proof of how we are changing people’s lives then funders will love it.

We are running half-day training courses on an Introduction to Social Impact for organisations who are interested in learning how to start measuring their social impact.

As part of that course we have also put together a free e-book that will introduce you to a practical approach to measuring your social impact in your organisation, without having to spend lots of money. There are plenty of practical examples and all of the terms are explained in detail.

We are just making the final finishing touches to the e-book which will be available from next week. If you would like us to send you a copy just drop us an email at freeresources@thetoolfactory.com

If you would be interested in the half-day training course – an Introduction to Social Impact Measurement – please contact bev@thetoolfactory.com





The Tool Factor blog is back up and running again

28 01 2009

After a long break we are back up and blogging.

We’ll be announcing all our latest course, products and offers here on the blog so come join us and make sure you are up-to-date on what is going on.

Our first announcement is our new phone number – (0845) 273 3834. They’ll be news later this week





Social Impact Tracker Launched

11 06 2008

How long do you spend writing your funder’s reports each quarter and at the end of each year? Wouldn’t you rather spend more time actually delivering your services to your clients?

What about measuring the impact you have on your clients? How easy do you find it to measure and report on your social impact?

As you know, here at The Tool Factory our aim is to make your lives easier. We spend our time developing tools and resources that help you do a great job in achieving your vision – and saving you time and money in the process.

That’s why we are really excited about our Social Impact Tracker tool – which we launched yesterday at Charity Fair.

Social Impact Tracker is the first monitoring database that measures your social impact. So not only does it keep track of everything your clients do and are involved in but it also creates funders report and reports on how well you’ve done at achieving your social aims – all at the touch of a button.

You enter your vision, mission, aims and objectives, decide on what you will monitor and what questions you will ask. Then over the year you enter your data as you would normally.

That’s when it gets interesting. Rather than spending time going through files trying to find all the relevant spreadsheets and reports to pull together for the funders … you just press the reporting button and the software does it all for you.

We think that’s worth a look. Check out our website at the end of the week for more information on how you can get a look.