two kids in wetsuits cheering

A family affair: kids and charitable giving

I mentioned in a newsletter a few weeks ago that as part of their monthly pocket money, we give our kids a budget for charitable giving.  We received so much positivity around this (including readers who started to do the same for their tiny babies!) that we wanted to talk a bit more about it.   Where it all began   Our kids are aware of both the importance of giving, of helping other people and of the huge blessings which abound in their own […]

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hand writing in a journal

Fundraising ROI’s, benchmarking and me

This piece was originally published on UK Fundraising.  Thank you Howard Lake and team for continuing to support our #FundraisingROI project!    Since releasing our Fundraising ROI report, The Calm Before the Storm, in September 2020, all the talk has been about organisations (and pandemics and stuff obviously). There are pros and cons to using return on investment figures to make decisions and to set targets and there are banana skins which organisations must be mindful of if they want to use the data in […]

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stressed out lego man sat at computer

Missed opportunities in fundraising

The publication of The Calm Before The Storm in September 2020 gave us food for thought around the missed opportunities in fundraising.  Read on for our interpretation of events and for our thoughts on where charities could be doing more.   2020 was brutal for fundraisers and for the charities we serve.  Streams of income disappeared overnight.  Stock market panic.  Trusts and foundations quickly reassigning their priorities to help communities affected by coronavirus (great for some, not so much for others). The data gathered and […]

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wooden question mark set against a white background

Trust Fundraising in 2021, your questions answered  

We’ve been reflecting on our May workshop, ‘Trust Fundraising in 2021, What You Need to Know’. Those of you who made it to the live session were so brilliantly active in the chat.  We loved how engaged you all were throughout the session – thank you for your company and your commitment! Below are your questions from Trust Fundraising in 2021.  I’ve done my best to give brief answers to them all, and I reckon some of them will make excellent longer form articles in […]

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Fix the Form

This is a guest post by Laura Solomons, a non profit professional, grant giver, grant seeker and part of the team behind #FixTheForm     “I just filled out a 6 figure request where I had 4x the real- estate to describe the structure of my board of directors and board governance than I had to describe the program, outcomes and impacts”.   “It makes me wonder if the funder is more concerned about board governance than they are program delivery?  It’s fine to give […]

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online application form

Trusts, foundations and online application forms

The increased competition in recent years has seen funders take steps to manage their workloads and the expectations of applicants. Application forms submitted through online portals are becoming more familiar, as are eligibility quizzes, informative websites and the presence of funders on social media platforms, enabling more direct engagement between them and those who apply to them. I can understand why. In an increasingly competitive environment, an application form is a good way of standardising the approach and enabling assessors to make comparisons more easily. […]

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a fountain pen and writing

Trust fundraising and attention to detail

I’ve been thinking recently about trust fundraising and attention to detail.   Have you ever applied to the Headley Foundation? What about the Hedley Foundation? Or the Headley Charitable Trust? Or is it the Headley Trust?   ARGH! I think you can see where I’m going with this. In a world where 1 in 12 cold applications are successful (if you’re doing well) and where a small, local foundation receives up to SIXTY applications in a day, trustees are, through sheer necessity, looking for ANY […]

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Scholarships for online fundraising training

Like many, we are continually recognising the privilege we inherited. From parents who expected us to have a full education, to what it means to be a white person, where you are a part of the dominant culture and all the benefits that brings. We know that so much of our lives are governed not by how hard we work, but by the place we were born, the colour of our skin, the marginalised identities we happen to inhabit, the expectations of our parents and […]

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Introducing the LarkOwl Community

The LarkOwl Community is live!  This post describes its developmemt, what it is and why we think its important. I don’t know about you  but (at the time of writing (April 2021) I’m missing real, actual people in my life. I can’t wait to see my friends, go out for dinner (in a warm, indoors place as opposed to sat outside in a freezing easterly gale), watch the ballet / opera in London and chomp down a bucket of popcorn in the cinema (though Tony […]

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What an ambitious income generation strategy ACTUALLY looks like

Hands up if you’ve ever heard charities talking about having:   “an ambitious income generation strategy” “an innovative and diverse fundraising portfolio” “forward thinking, donor focused supporter journeys”   And then continuing to do everything exactly the same?   Short term Organisation centric copy Same old, same old…   Modern fundraising is problematic because it is vulnerable to (amongst other things):   economic events, (which impact people’s ability to give) competition government decisions around support for core services.   Budgets tend to be decided once […]

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