Making the numbers add up: a strategic approach to fundraising - Five things to think about

Helplines Partnership | Charities Aid Foundation | Making the numbers add up: a strategic approach to fundraising

Heather McLoughlin, Charity Advisor, from Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) hosted a seminar at the 2019 Helplines Partnership Conference that explored fundraising in the UK, finding funding and the importance of evidencing your impact.

CAF is charity that aims to motivate society to give more effectively. The Charity Advisory team work with charity leaders and trustees to help their organisations become sustainable and resilient.

1. How the UK gives to charity

CAF’s 2019 UK Giving report shows that for the third year running significantly fewer people say they are giving. If your fundraising relies heavily on individual donors, it’s important that you look at how to diversify your income streams.

Heather explored six main sources of fundraising:

  • Trusts and foundations
  • Major donors
  • Individual giving
  • Corporate giving
  • Legacy giving
  • Trading income

2. Finding funds

Thinking about the six sources of funding and how can you make them work for your organisation? Heather explained that they ‘won’t all work for every organisation, and that’s ok, but it’s about finding what will work for you and then sticking with it.

Don’t just dip your toe in the water, to get a proper return on your investment you need to be thinking longer term.’

CAF Sources of Fundraising

3. Making your case for funding

“When you approach funders, whether they are foundations, individuals or corporate organisations you need to set out your case for support” Heather explained.

Make sure you talk about:

-  The problem you are trying to address with your helpline.
Why your organisation’s helpline is best placed to tackle this problem? Explain exactly what it is your organisation does that places you as the organisation best placed to tackle this problem.
-  The amount of donations your helpline needs to tackle this problem. You can either set out the full amount or break it down.
-  Timeframe – how urgent is this donation to allow you to tackle this problem?
What impact will the donation have on your helpline? Quantify the number of calls it will allow you to answer, the additional support you’ll be able to provide or the amount of time it will fund.

Having your case for support in place early will help inform your other fundraising materials, such as brochures, newsletters, press releases and even events. It makes the writing and preparation so much easier no matter which form your fundraising takes.

4. Link your impact with your ask

People and organisations want to understand the difference that their donation will make. It’s important for you to demonstrate the impact your helpline has had on your beneficiaries.

Three ways you can demonstrate impact is through case studies, data gathered from surveys, interviews and focus groups.

Heather stressed the importance of making sure that you are GDPR complaint when conducting monitoring and evaluation and when you use your findings in fundraising communications.

5. Fundraising cannot exist in isolation

Fundraising needs to be viewed as an integral part of your organisation. It should be supported by a set of organisational values and practices that nurture fundraising development.

Internally the senior leadership team and trustees can demonstrate their support by:

Setting realistic strategies, goals and expectations.
-  Championing and supporting fundraising as part of the organisation.
Encouraging and bridging partnerships between different teams.
Focusing on cultivation and relationship building.

Then it’s about working collaboratively as an organisation, Heather sets out why:

Fundraising does not exist in isolation to the rest of the organisation.
Fundraising is not just one person’s responsibility but having one leader is useful.
Fundraising has an impact on current staff roles and tasks.
-  Fundraising is likely to require training and support.
-  It is not just about everyone doing more fundraising – think carefully about how people’s skills and time can be best used to maximise collaboration.

Feedback from Helplines Partnership members

‘As a charity that is just starting to fundraise outside of our usual channels, I found Heather’s talk very useful and it gave me lots of ideas to take back to the team as we develop our fundraising strategy.’
Gemma Matthews - LawCare


Thank you to Heather for hosting a seminar session at the 2019 Helplines Partnership Conference. CAF has written a blog post, sources of funding every charity should consider, which looks at sources of income generation. If you would like to know more about Charities Aid Foundation and its services for charities, you can visit their website.

If you would like to learn more about helpline impact and outcomes our CPD accredited Masterclass provides an opportunity to explore how to evaluate and measure outcomes in different ways within the context of a helpline service.

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