Fundraising is incredibly tough, so here are 20+ ideas to find new charity grant funders and donors.
Health check your fundraising effectiveness in 30 mins, to find ways to secure more income, and access the 50 funder lists and COVID funder database by Registering Now; everything is free.
Run searches for suitable trusts and foundations. You can pay for access to online databases. However, the CEF includes a list of 100+ free funding finders, many of which will allow you to sort by specialist area.
Everybody is really busy and funding research can be a bit of a black art, so the Charity Excellence Framework makes it easier for you, by including more than 2 dozen funder lists, some with 200+ funders, including - core costs, corporate foundations, buildings & equipment, disability, education, health, IT and tech, individuals & families, social enterprises, social welfare, start-ups, older people, small charities, unregistered charities, and young people. Simply download the one you want from the income questionnaire, job done.
Download the annual accounts of sister charities, from the Charity Comission website, and look to see who has funded them, as these are funders who are already engaged with your kind of work.
Use the advanced search function. Select ‘How the charity operates’ from the drop down menu and then click on ‘Grants to individuals’ or ‘Grants to Charities’. For newly registered trusts and foundations, use the registration date to find those that have been recently registered. And don’t forget that OSCR (Scotland) and CCNI (Northern Ireland) have register search tools too. Alternatively, Charity Excellence has funder research lists, including newly registered trusts in each of the UK countries, in the income questionnaire, that have already been downloaded and formatted for you.
Or ask Mr Google to help you find people and companies who may potentially be willing to help. As all things Internet, this can become time consuming if you let it, but could be a great role for a home working volunteer. You can also use GrantNav to search, explore and download UK grant data.
There are a whole range of platforms that match charities to potential supporters, businesses and donors. The CEF has a list of 70+ fundraising platforms, including a number that can match you to potential donors.
Doing more of what you’re good at makes sense, but so does trying something new and it also helps to diversify your income. Each fundraising technique has its own benefits, albeit it almost always takes time and at least some investment. There are lots of options to choose from. The CEF has an entire fundraising strategy toolkit in the Maximising Income questionnaire, but you can find some guidance I’ve published here.
Are you making maximum use of these? Options include leasing land or property, hosting events, room hire or hot desking, or using your expertise to deliver training, or other paid for services. If it’s primary purpose trading (part of your charitable objectives) or below the threshold, there’s no corporation tax liability. If there is, create a trading company.
Try the Good Finance online social investment tool or Big Society Capital. Here are 13 things you ought to know, before considering social investment. Here’s a Social Impact Bond toolkit and another to find investors, funds and advisers. For peer learning, mentoring and resources, try this.
They already believe in what you do, so might they be able to give more, more often, or in new ways?
Check with your trustees, high level supporters and anyone else relevant, to see if any of them have a relationship with trusts, companies, or people with money, networks, influence or status who may be willing to help you.
Do a 'proper job', by copying the names of the key people in your target trusts, companies and other funders, and paste them into a list to circulate. You might even create a fundraising/development committee to actively grow and develop your networks and influence, to find new funders. There are ready made Terms of Reference for such a committee, in the CEF online toolkit.
Our volunteers and one-off or small amount donors have already shown they are engaged with your work. Some of these will almost certainly have useful contacts/networks, or be interested in becoming a regular donor, or potentially have the capacity to donate more. In your communications, are you making them aware of how they could do more, if they wish to? And are there any you might specifically wish to cultivate?
They already love what you’re doing and an endorsement from them carries real weight. Consider if some of them may be prepared to recommend you to their contacts who may themselves be interested in your work.
Check your CRM or fundraising files, to identify who supported you in the past. These may be a long-time ago, but they liked you enough to fund you and there may still be someone around who has/had a relationship with them.
Check your old annual statutory accounts, in which you thanked your funders.
Think about trying new ways to find and engage funders.
How do I get face-to-face meetings and engage people more? Invite them to your events. When event planning, think about whom you could invite from any of your networks or activity above, with a view to engaging them more and finding out how they might be interested in helping.
When you know who’s coming, identify those you wish to engage, what you might realistically achieve from the event (usually not an ask!) and whom amongst your team should seek them out and talk to them.
If you don’t have events, or getting people to come along is difficult, go to them. Think about local business groups, company events, or other activities where the people you meet do to, then send your CEO, chair or someone else to these. If you can get a speaking slot (Rotary, Lions, community group, whatever), better still.
Sign up for bulletins and newsletters. The CEF Help area includes a range of these and new funding sources are included in the CEF Newsletter each month. You can also join charity social media groups - the CEF has a list of over 30 in the communications questionnaire. You'll learn just by following the conversations and group members are usually only too willing to help others.
There are more than 10,000 trust in the UK, distributing more than £2bn each year, so there is merit in considering engaging a professional to help you find the most suitable. The CEF runs a fundraising freelancer register, as a charitable activity, that is both free to join and use. Contact me at email@example.com if you wish to know more.
There isn't enough funding and there isn't going to be, so we need to change our mindset and think about other ways in which we can make the numbers add up.
Each year, we fail to claim £600m in Gift Aid. There are several types and it might appear a bit complicated, so here’s everything you need to know and how to do it.
Ever heard of Employment Allowance, did you know that there are more than a dozen VAT reliefs alone or that you can claim back tax relief, up to 4 years retrospectively? The CEF helps you find out what you're not claiming, but should be, and then links you to the resources you need; run 'Tax Reliefs' in the query system. If you haven’t joined us yet, here’s everything you need to know to make sure you’re getting yours.
Managing the limited resources we have better, is more controllable, often quicker, gives funders greater value for money and delivers increased impact for beneficiaries. Moreover, this is something we're not all very good at, so there can be real opportunities. You know the story by now – the system does it all for you but, if you really don’t want to join our community, use the COVID19 How To Save Money, Without Cutting Costs Toolkit.