WHAT SHOULD YOU BE DOING NEXT TO RAISE FUNDS?
There are many types of fundraising activity, but only a few come without reputational risk or offer reasonable returns on investment. The seven levels below indicate the main activities a charity will engage in as it grows to its full potential.
If you are not sure what you should be doing next, work out which level you are currently operating at and then aim to build in one activity at a time until you can move up. And if any area looks too difficult or too much effort, you can always call us in to do it for you - we'll almost certainly be cheaper and more effective than if you tried to do it in-house.
LEVEL 1 ACTIVITIES
Registering a charity is notoriously slow, so make sure you have all the bases covered. We advise on the best structure and register your new organisation.
CHARITABLE OBJECTS FORMULATION
Your charitable objects should not be too narrow when creating a new entity. Most charities grow and see opportunities to branch out into unexpected areas. Having broad charitable objects allows you to take advantage of these.
LEVEL 2 ACTIVITIES
Any funder making a sizeable donation to your charity is likely to look at your website. So make sure it is stylish, up-to-date and presents you in the right light.
EMAIL WITH CHARITY DOMAIN
We sometimes see new organisations and even those more than a year old using generic email addresses, such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org; they smack of amateurism and nobody will give sizeable sums to organisations that represent themselves in this way. You can buy a domain name for between £50 and £100 per annum.
LEVEL 3 ACTIVITIES
Having a proposal that covers all the critical bases is one you can repeatedly use, confident that you are maximising your chances of success. In contrast, a weak document will lead to many rejections, underperformance and frustration.
Suppose you are running out of funders to approach or are unsure whether you’re reaching all possibilities (most charities vastly underestimate the number of prospects). In that case, this option will be helpful. We provide contact details on how to apply or approach identified funders and rate their attractiveness to your organisation.
TEMPLATE PROPOSAL & PROSPECT LIST
Gain a top-quality application and a year's worth of funders to approach at a discounted rate.
LEVEL 4 ACTIVITIES
Beginning to bring in sizeable support
If you're running at least two of the following activities profitably and have a solid annual report, move to Level 5.
TRUST & STATUTORY BID WRITING
Success in this area is based on the quality and quantity of bids you generate. We run three-person teams per account, which leads to high numbers of first-class applications. Yet our model keeps costs to that of an in-house fundraising assistant.
RAISING FUNDS FROM COMPANIES
To attract support from companies, it is essential that the language of business is used and, for more significant sums, something is offered in return. We provide the expertise needed to run this area profitably.
RAISING FUNDS FROM HIGH-NET-WORTH INDIVIDUALS
Wealthy individuals can transform a charity overnight, whereas those that lose a ‘major’ donor can find themselves in trouble. So we help you find those supporters in your network who have the capacity to give you substantial sums and develop and execute the strategies needed to secure that support.
So many charities wish that they had started a strategic legacy programme but found the time was never quite right to do so. While it typically takes 3-5 years to see the benefits, an investment of less than £5k will likely bring the best returns of any income-generation activity. So don’t be one of the charities that rue not doing this!
There are a variety of techniques that raise the amount of money a fundraising appeal generates. If you have a lot of members or supporters, then this is an area you need to get right.
CHALLENGES (VIA PLATFORMS, SUCH AS JUSTGIVING)
Many people consider a fundraising challenge to be a marathon or long cycle ride. But how many people want to undertake such activities? Creating a challenge that is relevant to your charity is the best way to raise funds and educate your audience.
Events are excellent ways to introduce potential new supporters to your charity and can generate reasonable returns if you have the upfront investment needed to run them. We create fundraising event strategies and plans and can help with their running too.
EVENT PLANNING, MANAGEMENT & SUPPORT
If you're running an event and you need help organising everything or simply want an extra pair of hands, we can help.
ANNUAL REPORT REVIEW
Apart from not submitting your accounts late, there are certain common mistakes that you want to avoid if you don’t want funders questioning your worthiness of support. We have undertaken significant rewrites of clients’ annual reports, but usually, all that is needed is a quick review, and sometimes not even that.
LEVEL 5 ACTIVITIES
Strength and Stability
If you are running at least four of the Level 4 activities profitably and all the Level 5 ones, move to Level 6.
Once your income-generation function has reached a certain size, it makes sense to formulate a detailed fundraising strategy. Ensuring approaches are coordinated and leveraging cross-discipline opportunities are just two reasons this is worth doing, though don’t undertake this step too early in your growth journey when the document quickly becomes outdated and consequently offers a poor return on investment.
BOARD INVOLVEMENT IN FUNDRAISING
Without engaged trustees, your income generation will be limited. Yet many charities complain that their trustees don’t have impressive address books (most are better than they think) or are unwilling to open them up (most are willing if their fears are addressed). Having an outsider explain how fundraising works, the benefits of becoming involved and how easy it is done invariably encourages one person to step forward. From there, contacts and approaches can be built up.
Keeping your supporters warm with formal and informal communications is the best way to raise large sums. Ideally, you want funders to feel as if they are part of your charitable ‘family’, which means spending time and effort on keeping them engaged.
LEVEL 6 ACTIVITIES
Making real impact
If you are running at least six of the Level 4 activities profitably and the Level 6 one, move to Level 7.
FUNDRAISING / DEVELOPMENT BOARD
Many charities' first thoughts when they have connections to an affluent, influential or well-connected person is to offer a trustee position. Such oversight and governance work rarely appeals to such individuals whereas opening doors or helping to raise funds would be much more stimulating. Building a fundraising or development board can bring many benefits to your organisation and not just financial ones.
LEVEL 7 ACTIVITIES
An established important and influential organisation
Those operating at Level 7 will be undertaking every Level 4 activity profitably. It is likely that you are a sizeable organisation now with national reach, which means you should almost certainly be guiding and helping to formulate government policy.
The very largest sums invariably come from Government. If you have hit upon a solution to a societal problem and one that has a national scale, tens and even hundreds of millions of pounds can be gained if politicians can be persuaded by your case.