Less is more: building the best audience, not the biggest

Guest post by Clair Wellsbury-Nye   We travel now to a time beyond pandemics and lockdowns, when a busy town centre was normal, not a nightmare…   You’re in a busy shopping centre, handing out flyers for a show your band is playing at a nearby bar that evening. To encourage people to come along, the flyers offer free beer. Showtime arrives, and the house is packed – awesome, the flyers worked! You start playing, and people at the front are dancing, clapping, singing along. […]

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fire fighters tackling a blaze

How to respond when you’ve been given a ridiculous fundraising target

Ridiculous fundraising targets seem to be a bit of a theme for 2021.  In our annual community survey, we asked you all:   What is your biggest challenge at the moment? and What topics would you like us to cover in the Nest Egg in 2021?   We’re grateful for the detail and honesty with which you answered. There were a wide variety of problems / challenges described and topics you asked us to cover. Here were the most common themes across the two questions: […]

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people holding hands sunshine

How are you doing?

Last week I spent an afternoon delving into responses from our annual community survey.  We’ve done the survey a couple of times now.  It’s important to check that we’re on the right path with our weekly content and that our articles are a source of inspiration and practical help. As well as asking you all about your work, your roles and your interest in buying LarkOwl products and services, we also wanted to know how you are. How are you? Really, how are you? Fortunately, […]

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rainy day

The rainy day fund -the right level of charity reserves

The right level of charity reserves is an important debate and pertinent for the beginning of 2021 for obvious reasons. Our 2020 Benchmarking study asked respondents how many months’ running costs they had in reserve*.  The average number of months was 5.5. I wonder what the figure will be for the end of 2020 and again at the end of 2021? *please note, these were pre-pandemic figures and that most respondents were charities with an annual turnover of £1m plus   Best practice It is […]

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coffee laptop desk

Stewardship checklist for trusts and foundations

At the time of writing (January 2021), so much of our daily lives feel like an uphill struggle.  It’s really hard to feel good and to find the motivation to do the basics, including the stewardship for trusts and foundations which we know to be so vital in this climate. Many of our fundraising activities have changed.  If they haven’t changed, then our expectation of the outcomes have. We can send out the same number of trust applications.  But unless we’re working on the frontline […]

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chocolate brownies

Asking a major donor for a gift without fear

Asking a major donor for a gift can be a nerve wracking experience.  In this post, I want to show you why you don’t need to be scared (and promise to whet your appetite along the way…) I’m part of a book club.  It’s called the Totally Awesome Women’s Network book club and mostly we read personal development / non fiction stuff. Last month’s tome was ‘Chillpreneur’ by Denise Duffield-Thomas, also author of ‘Lucky Bitch’ and ‘Get Rich Lucky Bitch’. Errr…. My judgy pants were […]

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black notebook

I am not your black book

The little black book. Treasure trove of ‘names’: connections, friends, neighbours, acquaintances, business contacts and family members. Being interviewed for both permanent roles and consultancy contracts, I’ve been asked (on more than a few occasions now) about the personal connections and contacts that I would be willing to bring to the role. Below is an example of a genuine interview question (to which I responded ‘absolutely not’):   “Please gives us the names of ten contacts you would introduce us to if you were appointed […]

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images spectacles notebook

Major donors and the charity image problem

My Uncle John and his wife, my Aunty Judy are two of my favourite relatives.  They have worked hard all their lives, endured challenges, taken some big risks and are now (mostly) retired and in a position where many would start to think about philanthropy and / or taking on a trustee role. Except Uncle John is not keen on charities. He is a very generous man, supports numerous causes through donating / participating in events (plus my aunty volunteers at their local hospice shop) […]

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thorn in my side

How to identify a major donor prospect

When considering how to identify a major donor for your charity, don’t allow yourself to become distracted by the house / car / appearance.  It may be only skin deep… Allow me to elaborate.  Chris Dawson, founder of The Range (home / DIY / garden centres) is Devon’s first billionaire. Therefore, every major donor fundraiser working in the locality will have him suggested to them as a possible prospect.  He is our local Richard Branson and quite frankly, a thorn in our sides (sorry Mr […]

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coffee and chat

Major gifts fundraising and informal, agenda free conversation

Last week’s article pondered how ‘simple’ major gifts fundraising really is and wrestled with the idea that the title of our new Major Gift training course is perhaps at risk of dumbing down or minimising what is a highly sophisticated profession.   It is my dream to make Major Gifts fundraising accessible to as many charities as possible and to help those new to it to distill it, as far as possible, into some easy starting principles.   The importance of informal, agenda free conversation […]

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