Five common trust fundraising fails (and how to avoid them)

Here are five common trust fundraising fails I recommend you DON’T incorporate into your trust fundraising practice.  Ever!   Spraying and praying   Spraying and praying is the practice of sending out a huge volume of applications to all and sundry. Those who do it (I guess) believe that it is cost effective in the same way that a friend of mine used to play the lottery.  He bought twelve tickets a week, believing that purchasing such a high volume would mean that sooner or […]

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weddings boots bouquet

Trust fundraising, weddings and wet weather

I was in need of some motivation the other day (and by motivation I mean ‘a kick up the arse’). A long walk and a couple of episodes of Rachel Hollis’ RISE podcast did the trick, and so far it’s been a super productive week. Amongst other topics, Rachel was talking about preparing for your worst-case scenario when planning ahead.  She told the story of her time working as a wedding planner and how it was company policy to ALWAYS ORDER A TENT in case […]

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coffee with friends

Quality not quantity

Trust fundraising and donor allocations   Back in February I presented at Fundraising Everywhere as part of their monthly webinar series for members. After the training, I hung around in the chatbox with a couple of participants.  Huge thanks to Rebecca and Helen for such an interesting conversation and for inspiring this post about donor allocations.   How many prospects make the perfect portfolio?   Trust (and major gifts) fundraisers (what I define as ‘high value’) typically manage an ‘allocation’ or portfolio of supporters to […]

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11 year old Caroline

Eleven year old Caroline

Has anyone noticed that there are certain words and phrases being used in exceptionally high volume right now?   Innovation New ways of working Shift Change Pivoting (yep, I’m also picturing THAT scene from Friends right now)   This all makes me feel super uncomfortable   Why I hear you ask? It’s because I have spent many, many years honing a fundraising craft which is not particularly innovative. There are tried and tested ways of doing trusts and major gifts fundraising which work.  Whilst I […]

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The popularity contest, how to fundraise for an unpopular cause

Last summer, we sent a survey to our lovely newseltter subscribers and asked if there were any topics you’d like us to cover.  One reader asked, ‘How do I fundraise for an unpopular cause’.   Several months on, I’m now getting around to writing a response.  I hope it’s still relevant and useful.   There is a narrative which persists across most non-profits I have worked in.  I’m going to hazard a guess it is heard in every single charity.  It goes something like this: […]

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Four productive things trust fundraisers can do right now…

This week’s article is a guest piece by Clare Chillingworth who is Trusts and Foundations Manager at the Bone Cancer Research Trust. It is the full, unedited reply she sent in response to our recent piece entitled Covid-19 and trust fundraising.   As well as being very kind about our article (thanks Clare!), I thought that her methodical and measured response to our current situation could be helpful to others.  Clare agreed that I could share it with you all.   I don’t know about […]

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Covid-19 and trust fundraising

Despite the world having gone to hell in a hand cart, trust fundraisers are still able to continue their work in a way which vaguely resembles ‘business as usual’. The arrival of Covid-19 has brought several of our fundraising colleagues to a standstill. It is therefore our job as trust fundraisers to continue our work to as high a standard as possible (difficult I know, focus and concentration is certainly not something I’m personally nailing at the moment). Here are five things to consider in […]

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creative writing

Productive creative writing for trust fundraisers

Productive creative writing is part of a trust fundraiser’s day to day. Some days we feel more productive than others.  All trust fundraisers at some point in their careers will seek a creativity boost to enhance their writing, their knowledge, their understanding, their enthusiasm or a mixture of all / some of these. I had a wonderful experience working for a new client recently. After visiting them, meeting the team and learning about who they are and what they do, I took a blank notebook […]

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owl in flight

Starting out in trust fundraising, three tools to help you fly

Starting out in trust fundraising 16 years ago, I’m not sure I really knew what it was and whether I’d be any good at it. My mum was a trust fundraiser (one of the first to achieve the Institute of Fundraising’s Certificate in Fundraising Management) and had always suggested that the combination of creative writing and working with people would be something I’d enjoy. Fast forward to now and I have to remind myself regularly how grateful I am that she suggested the idea to […]

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What are grant making trusts?

With so much of our content focusing on trusts and foundations (including our online training for people who are new to trust fundraising), I thought it might be wise to go back to basics and to give an introduction to grant making trusts. I don’t want to assume that our readers have the fundamentals at their fingertips (although I know that so many do) so here’s a quick LarkOwl style beginners guide*: *If you’re not a beginner, feel free to send this onto a colleague […]

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