The minister for civil society, Rob Wilson, announced that the first Local Charities Day will take place on 16 December, at Civil Society Media's Charity Finance Summit today.
Local Charities Day was first announced in July. Today Wilson said it will "make sure that local charities get the recognition and praise they deserve and hopefully more in the way of donations on that day".
Wilson declined to give any further details about plans for the day, but an announcement has since been posted on the government's website which said the Office for Civil Society will contribute £5,000 in match-funding for the #GiveMe5 campaign which will run on Local Charities Day.
Inclusive Economy Unit
The minister also said this morning that 10 Downing Street has specifically asked the new Inclusive Economy Unit within the Office for Civil Society to help deliver the Prime Minister's vision for an "economy that works for all".
Wilson began his 10-minute keynote by acknowledging it is a "very tough environment for charities right now, just as it is for many parts of the economy". Demand on charities is growing, yet the public are becoming "increasingly sceptical" about them, he said.
Given this context, he said he understood that some charity representatives might be feeling "a little anxious" about the future. But while it is right to recognise the size of the challenges, he said, there are also "huge opportunities".
"The work you do is at the heart of the Prime Minister's ambition for a country that works for everyone," Wilson told the more than 300 assembled charity finance experts. "In fact you are more important than you've ever been for bringing communities together and supporting the most vulnerable in society. Which is why we want the public to support the sector and really believe in the good it can do."
'Charities must reform'
However, he insisted that charities must use this time of change to "reform, to innovate, and where possible self-regulate to increase public trust".
He said the government had already helped the sector to start this process, with the new Fundraising Regulator, the Charities Act, the raising of the audit threshold, improvements to the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme and new models of social investment.
He said: "I'll continue to put the right structures in place to build a strong, sustainable and supported sector, one that is transparent and willing to learn from its mistakes, one that the public trusts and has confidence in and one that can create positive impact at scale."
Wilson also pledged that the government too is committed to modernising and innovating. "The Prime Minister has been clear about our ambitions to create an economy that works for all, which is why we announced last week the creation of a new government Inclusive Economy Unit within the Office for Civil Society.
"The unit will take forward specific initiatives to support an economy that works for everyone - in particular expanding opportunities for those who are struggling to cope. Number Ten has specifically asked the new unit to help deliver the Prime Minister's agenda and will be working in partnership with the private and social sectors to achieve this. The unit builds on the work of our existing social investments team, and the focus on strengthening the social investment market, innovating public service delivery to offer better value for money and increased social impact.
"It's about mobilising the power of businesses, social enterprises and charities to achieve social good. This is a real opportunity for the sector and I've no doubt charities will play a big role in helping us build a more inclusive economy. In fact I know this can't be achieved without your help and support."
The minister concluded his speech by urging the sector to modernise and explore new financial models.
"Now is the time to show how versatile you are as a sector and prove that charities are not just nice to have but absolutely crucial to our society. Now is the time for us together to build an inclusive economy and country that works for everyone."