Our Mission | Levelling Up the Third Sector

AskingBristol is a generator of 'asks' that streamlines third sector giving. We make things happen for charities by ensuring they can meet their needs for their communities via 'MultiVarious Giving'. Our ambitions are large, but we believe our goals are possible.

Inclusivity and Equalizing Opportunities

With thousands of registered charities and a plethora of identity groups and cultures, Bristol is a diverse, edgy, and unique city full of history. However, there exist deep inequalities across the region, affecting the opportunities available to those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Many voluntary groups are working continuously to minimise the effects of those inequalities.

Democratizing the Third Sector Through MultiVarious Giving

Three years of social and academic research has provided us with a clear understanding of the voluntary sector. Charities can benefit from four types of 'ask' - Things, Expertise, Time, and Services.
We believe passionately in the 'bottom-up' approach, and that the best way to achieving this is 'MultiVarious Giving'. 'Asks' are directed through the SuperConnectivity of Bristol to find their best fulfillment. This creates long-lasting connections across the region.

Charities As the Keystones of Our Communities

A little can go a long way.

We are focused on generating significant social impacts through our model. These social impacts are felt by charities of all types and sizes throughout Greater Bristol. 'Levelling Up' for charities is more important than ever giving the challenges the third sector faces today.

AskingBristol Insights:

Thoughts, snapshots, plans for change; a regular look into some of our key ideas and principles.

Lasting Connections that Make a Difference – 04/08/2023

Lasting Connections that Make a Difference

We’re proud of the connections we’ve managed to help create, many of which have continued for the benefit of Bristol’s Third Sector community. Our latest post features the story of AskAuthor Joshua Mudie – now a Senior Associate at Ernst & Young – who began his involvement with AskingBristol volunteering for an excellent charity, C.H.E.E.S.E. – it is another example of how the Third Sector can evolve to become more efficient and more effective by employing a more inclusive and democratized strategy that can truly reach the people in our various communities.
Read some of his thoughts below on what he gained from his time with AskingBristol, and the lasting effect it has had on his life and voluntary commitments…

The journey from helping C.H.E.E.S.E. as an AskAuthor to becoming a Treasurer on its board has been remarkable. As I’m also a trained accountant, what started off as something transactional has now led to me being involved in shaping the financial strategy of C.H.E.E.S.E., leveraging both my financial and engineering skills for the betterment of the organisation’s mission.”
– Joshua Mudie, Treasurer, C.H.E.E.S.E

Pushing the Expert Boundaries – 05/07/2023

Pushing the Expert Boundaries

What do charities/voluntary groups actually need? The obvious answer is funding, money, income streams.
But smaller voluntary groups can also benefit hugely from Expertise. Bristol is home to a variety of professional organisations capable of advising charities on finding financial solutions, recruitment strategies, insurance, liability, marketing, fundraising tactics, business management, team-building, and so on… By doing so, we can also create lasting connections between such organisations and voluntary groups.
A common issue that charities face are that of infrastructural technical challenges—for example, drafting legal documents, insurance and liability policies, accounting, and/or digital hurdles.
Where nationally established charities are well-equipped with the departmental manpower and resources to navigate their duties, the majority of community-based organisations are often run by individuals operating simultaneously alongside full-time employment.
Most pro bono work is traditionally restricted to the legal sector; however, we are seeking to challenge this notion by expanding the breadth of pro bono Expertise to other specialities. Experts and professionals are always needed in any situation, particularly in the Third Sector.

Levelling Up the Third Sector – 26/07/2023

Levelling Up the Third Sector

AskingBristol’s ambition is to show how to level-up the Third Sector in a city or region. Greater Bristol has over 4000 registered charities, but it also has thousands of smaller community and voluntary groups that are a backbone of the city providing help and support in every way imaginable.
AskingBristol works with four types of ask: Things, Time, Expertise and Services. The approach to Things is “MultiVarious Giving” – the idea that if an individual, business, organization or foundation has annual charitable giving, that a portion of the annual giving can be divided into smaller amounts and given, generally with a chosen theme each year, to buy specific Things for any charity or voluntary/community group. This approach has been pioneered with the High Sheriff of Bristol’s Fund (BYCA – Bristol Youth and Community Action) and Bristol Curry Club (see previous posts).
Progress is being made, with organizations and businesses seeing the power of this approach to level up across the region and support every charity and voluntary/community group according to their needs – Burges Salmon being pioneers in this regard. And of course the smaller the group, generally the smaller the ask they are making. The High Sheriff of Bristol’s Fund showed how £200 or £300 could make all the difference.

The Heart of MultiVarious Giving – 28/06/2023

The Heart of MultiVarious Giving

The core motivation of AskingBristol is to level up the Third Sector for all charities and voluntary/community groups within a region. One group might be run by two part-time volunteers while another might be an established charity. To AskingBristol, all are equal.
Instead of benefiting one charity, the donor is able to support 5, 10, 20 groups in the city where they live and work. Often when the donor becomes aware of the group and its work they start a longer and more varied relationship with them – for example offering Expertise or Time.
AskingBristol believes that in a year 10,000s of such targeted gifts could be made and completely transform the community landscape in the City. MultiVarious Giving is a powerful mechanism that enables this with AskingBristol acting in its primary role as an Ask Service Provider – we generate the asks from all the 1000s of groups in Bristol allowing donors to find and select those that resonate most strongly with their chosen themes.

The Need for Now – 17/06/2023

The Need for Now

The readiness of Bristol businesses to engage with their communities is resoundingly warming. The region is one of significant wealth disparity between its postcodes, but also one of togetherness and a potential connectivity. This togetherness remains, at this point, fractured. The relations between communities such as Lawrence Weston and Clifton are tenuous at best. However, Manley, in experimenting with his learnings as High Sheriff, discovered a genuine desire of businesses to re-engage with its localities, re-administer a sense of collective identity, and support those in need – possibly a lasting and resonating after-effect of the pandemic and its tribulations.

Certainty in Instability – 03/06/2023

Certainty in Instability

The aim is to create a replicable model for connectivity in the Third Sector which can be applied to other major cities as a form of social infrastructure. AskingBristol goes some way to better understanding the government’s concept of ‘Levelling Up’ – that is to say, that small, under-resourced charities deserve support that resembles their larger counterparts. With funding from central and local government subsiding as time goes on, the increasing burden to uphold and help communities invariably falls upon the shoulders of these smaller voluntary groups. In times of great instability, there is the certainty that AskingBristol will play an important role in helping the region, be it from a voluntary, academic, or economic perspective.

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Our Stories are the Essence of Our Work.

Real NeedsReal Impacts. See Our ‘Stories and Documents’ Section for In-Depth Publications, Articles, and Academic Work.

Our Blog

A comprehensive space of our recollections and thoughts. From eco-spaces and women's football to at-risk youths - come and see the social impact we've helped facilitate in your city.

Asking a City.

A short piece by Professor Martin Parker discussing Bristol's suitability for a project centered around networking and connectivity. Also available as a downloadable PDF file.

'Social Infrastructure Platforms' - Professor Martin Parker's (University of Bristol) Academic Publication on AskingBristol is Live.