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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The popularity contest, how to fundraise for an unpopular cause

Last summer, we sent a survey to our audience 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.   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:   (Person working for homelessness charity) “Fundraising is so […]

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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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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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