Charity and profit – is there a dirtier word?

In the charity sector, is there a dirtier word than profit? Most of us are experiencing a shift in fundraising; funders are less interested in throwing cash into an organisational black hole.  They want to know what you’re doing to make yourself financially sustainable.  They want to fund the stepping-stones to your financial success. From my experience the biggest hurdle to making a charity commercially profitable or financially sustainable is not the funds for initial set-up, space, restrictions within a heritage building or a suitable […]

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women on benches in conversation to demonstrate intimacy in trust fundraising

Cultivating intimacy in trust fundraising

I know that some of you might read the title of this blog then feel a degree of nervousness – intimacy in trust fundraising…   WHAT???   It’s true. It’s a thing.  Moreover, I’d like to suggest that the formalities you’re so keen to nurture as part of the ‘professional persona’ you feel you should be cultivating might actually be doing you a disservice. In fact, I dare you to be human, be brave, be fully yourself and where you can, in meetings with donors, […]

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Red, amber, green, your guide to approaching a charitable trust for the first time

I’m delighted to share a simple trust fundraising traffic light system with you which is designed to show you when to go for it and when to hold back when it comes to approaching a charitable trust for the first time. This checklist is especially helpful for charitable trusts who do not have their own website and who publish only limited information about their application process and giving criteria. In my most recent employment, my personal hit rate was pretty good.  Quite frankly, after nearly […]

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How to set a fundraising target

It has come to my attention that some fundraisers don’t know how to set a fundraising target.  Or maybe they do, but for whatever reason, they prefer the ‘back of a fag packet / finger in the wind’ approach. I don’t know why people do this.  It’s certainly the quicker option.   Maybe they feel that time spent reflecting on the year past and planning for the year ahead could be better spent with donors (or sat in internal meetings?)   Maybe these people are […]

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Rejection in fundraising, why hearing ‘no’ is a blessing…

Rejection in fundraising is common across all types of fundraising and is something even the very best, most experienced fundraisers deal with regularly.  There are many reasons though why hearing ‘no’ is actually a blessing. Following my recent post on fundraising KPI’s, many of you got in touch to say how much you enjoyed my theory on being rejection in fundraising and in particular, in the wild world of trusts and foundations. I believe that volume* matters in trust fundraising and that if you’re not […]

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juggling all the things including trust fundraising

Trust fundraising while spinning a thousand plates

Many of my clients are small and medium sized charities and non-profits.  The smallest of these have no staff and trustees / directors who are doing the operational work alongside strategic governance.  The juggle is real.  The struggle is real.  Many feel like they’re trust fundraising while spinning a thousand plates. For charities with one to a handful of employees, trust fundraising is something which often falls to someone with multiple other roles.  They might also for example be the CEO, the finance officer and […]

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Managing a trust fundraiser

Trust fundraising targets, KPI’s and expectations

It can be argued that fundraisers are the easiest people to performance manage because the metrics  (or metric) you use to measure them are black and white.   How much money have they raised?   Having been a fundraiser for many years, I would argue that using this metric alone can be misleading and was keen to express the danger of citing the ‘money raised’ stat in isolation when we published our benchmarking report on return on investment in fundraising back in May. So for […]

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Trust fundraising to ease cash flow

In trust fundraising circles, I can see why many professionals would deem the idea of using trust fundraising to ease cash flow as misleading / unhelpful clickbait.  The truth is, there are no quick wins out there.  Low hanging fruit (a phrase I hate because it makes me think of testicles) is not a thing.   Successful fundraising (not just trust fundraising) never happens in the zone of panic or timescale-related desperation.       That said, there are times when charities and non-profits need […]

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How to improve your writing for charitable trusts

Early on in my career, I had the most incredible boss and mentor.  Amongst her many positive qualities, she was a stickler for jargon.  Being quite new into our charity. she noticed that we were guilty of more than our fair share of unnecessary ‘management speak’ and made it her mission to improve our writing for charitable trusts. As well as sending the fundraising team on a Plain English Campaign training course (BEST training I’ve ever done as a fundraiser and would hands down recommend), […]

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Keeping the spark alive – fundraising when you’re uninspired

Never mind the seven-year itch, apparently the average UK trust fundraiser stays in their post for only 18 months before moving on. I find this really sad (but I have been there myself and I do get it). Fundraising is a long game which needs consistent application over many years.  But how do you keep the spark alive  and what can you do about your fundraising when you’re uninspired? I only stayed in my first two fundraising jobs for this length of time before moving […]

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