How To Get Started With Fundraising For Charities - Free Help And Resources

Help to get started with fundraising for charities - ideas, resources, videos, people who will help you for free and how to find fundraising volunteers.

Getting Started With Fundraising: What Do I Need To Think About?

What will work best for a charity, depends on the skills and resources you have, or can access, and what fundraising opportunities may be available. Matching your strengths to those opportunities will get you the results you want. 

Listed below are some things to think about.   That’s a lot to take in, so don’t worry if you don’t know the answers.  Listed in this article are a whole series of resources and people who will be able to help you.    

  • What fundraising skills, capabilities and resources do we have?
    • Do we have people with relevant specialist skills, lots of enthusiastic volunteers who will get involved, lots of followers and engagement on social media or do we know any influential individuals who might help us?
    • If not, what will we do to access useful skills and resources to help us?
  • Who are our potential donors?
    • Are we clear on who they might be, how many there are, how much might they be willing to donate and how inclined might they be to do so?
  • How will we engage them?
    • It’s not about what we want – it’s about what they want.
    • What’s important to them?
    • What language/messages might we use that will encourage them to donate?
    • How will we get those messages to them – posters, events, social media……..
  • How much funding are we trying to raise?
    • And when do we need it by?
    • How much will we need on an ongoing basis?

Here are 34 things every fundraiser should know. 

Getting Started In Fundraising - Most Popular Techniques

Trusts - Good for projects, but can be used to fund running costs, albeit that’s more difficult.  Huge number of trusts with amounts from low hundreds to millions.  Some bid writing skills needed.  Relies on having a good case for support. Ensure that your bid is compliant with trust eligibility criteria.    

Community - Can be implemented quickly, no real specialist skills required, low financial cost, and usually unrestricted, but needs significant numbers of volunteers and management time, and usually not large amounts.  Works best for popular causes.

Online - Can be mounted quickly and usually at limited/no cost.  There are lots of options.  Usually unrestricted, but unlikely to bring in large amounts in the near-term and you’ll need to build a good online presence to work well. This CEF resource is a guide to social media fundraising

However, there are lots of ways to fundraise.  This guide gives you a quick introduction to the different typpes of fundraising, with the advantages and disadvantages of each. 

If you need a fundraising platform, here are the best free and cheap ones, with details on each.  

New To Trust Fundraising

Many small charities aim to get up and running with trust fundraising.  There are about 10,000 charitable foundations, each with its own eligibility, priorities and criteria.  Using a funder database such as Charity Excellence can make finding the right funders for you much easier.  Here are 5 tips on setting up trust fundraising.

The key is to find the right funders for you and to submit good quality bids. Investing some time and effort in this will always pay you back.  Just sending out lots of standard bids to lots of funders doesn’t work.

  • Volunteers.  Find a volunteer who is reasonably IT literate and comfortable writing and use the resources and support in this guide to help him or her develop the skills and experience to create  a list of good potential grant makers and draft a case for support.
  • Bid Writers. A professional would obviously be better able to do this, but is likely to cost £200 to £300 a day.  Here’s the Charity Excellence guide on how to do this will.  If you wish, I can give you access to the Fundraising Freelancers Register, which would make finding one easier. Access is free.

The National Lottery Awards For all England is a good one to start with, offering £300 to £10,000. The other UK countries have their own versions.  And here’s a tool that you can drop your postcode into, to find local community based grants.

But, almost all funders will require you to have a bank account in your charity’s name.  Here’s a Charity Excellence resource on how to open a charity bank account.

Charity Excellence

Within Charity Excellence, there are 50+ funder lists available  and its Funding Finder database has a lot more and you can search by location, education etc.  

The income questionnaire will lead you through the fundraising process and connect you to a wide range of resources and people who will help you. Everything is free. 

Here are some Charity Excellence resources that might be helpful:

Organisations Who Will Help You

  • The 46 community foundations support charities in their local area by making grants. However, many also offer advice and support with fundraising.  
  • NAVCA supports around 200,000 local voluntary and community organisations every year.  

Here are some organisations that support specific communities.  

  • For small charities:
    • The FSI Advice Hub will connect you with an expert, who would  be able to support you with fundraising advice. They also have low cost fundraising courses.
    • The Small Charities Coalition has a help desk, mentoring, events and training. 
  • The Always Network supports small UK Muslim charities, including fundraising.
  • Money4You is a black led charity, that supports the BAME community, including low cost fundraising courses.
  • Ubele is an African Diaspora led social enterprise, which helps build more sustainable communities across the UK.
  • For Somali led organisations, the Council Of Somali Organisations.
  • For Christian Faith groups, the Cinnamon Network supports local churches to set up sustainable social action projects, find funding and get the right support and training. They also offer their own micro grants.
  • For veterans, or serving members of the Armed Forces and their dependents, aiming to start a new business (or charity), Heropreneurs are brilliant.
  • For Social Enterprises, there’s:

Introductory Fundraising Toolkits, Guides, Videos & E Learning

A simple online introduction to fundraising e learning course.  It was created for museums, but works for everyone. 

Help & Support Online

There are a lot of fundraising groups on social media that you can join to connect with others and find help and advice.

Try the Small Charities Networking & Advice group and, if you work overseas, the Small International Development Charities Network.

There are also more general groups, as well as groups for different types of fundraising and also regional and county level groups.  Here’s the Charity Excellence list of 50+ charity social media groups

You can also connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn or Face Book for daily posts on funders and fundraising, and/or join my Funding & Fundraising Twitter list. 

Finding Fundraising Volunteers

Most small charities recruit locally, so posters in your local shops, post offices and church/mosque can work well, or short articles in their newsletter.  You might also advertising your volunteer roles in local village/town Face Book groups, which are also useful for promoting your work.

There are also a number of organisation who will advertise your volunteering roles for you. Scroll down to the bottom of the Free Goods & Services page for links to these.

Micro volunteering can also work well.  

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