How can a fundraising plan make your organisation more sustainable?

How can a fundraising plan make your organisation more sustainable?
By
Victor Momodu

It's Day 4 of Small Charities Week and so it's 'Fundraising Day!' Victor Momodu writes here about structuring your funding needs.

On the fourth day of the Small Charities Week, Fundraising Day, we will consider the relevance of a fundraising plan / strategy and how it can contribute to making your organisation sustainable.

We know, more planning!? We hear you say. For small organisations a fundraising strategy sometimes sounds like more work to do without the resources to do it. We get it but there are some very good reasons why even the smallest organisation needs to plan out how it is going to bring money in.

I am sure you have heard how it is important to plan to ensure your organisation has a clear direction and stronger chance of delivering on its aims and objectives. And how it is not recommended that you constantly rely on just one source of income either, so read on for even more reasons why to have a funding strategy and how to create one:

Why do we need one?

With the uncertain economic climate and challenging funding environment there is a strong argument for organisations to constantly assess their income generation position and to develop plans and strategies to identify and build new income streams.  Wonderful projects and ideas are no good if there is no money to run them with!

How?

Fundamental to all fundraising is a powerful Case for Support – a persuasive argument which says why a funder should support your work. It should cover:

  • What the problem is you have identified;
  • what is your planned solution to the problem;
  • What is the difference you will make;
  • what you will do if it doesn’t go well (as can sometimes happen and ensures you are covering all angles);
  • why your organisation is uniquely placed to tackle the problem.

Analysing and planning

What sources of funding are you planning to focus on? It is always advisable to consider a mix of funding as opposed to dependence on a single funding source. Some key sources will include:

  • Trusts and foundations - mostly award grant funding;
  • Statutory / central government – contracts / commissioning (as a smaller organisation you may want to look at possible partnerships to bid for bigger contracts that you couldn’t deliver on your own)
  • Businesses / Companies / CSRs - offer a variety of support including cash, goods and services;
  • Individuals - from one-off to regular personal contributions;
  • Crowdfunding – large numbers of individuals making an online donation to mainly new projects or start-ups. You set a target and only receive the money if the target is reached;
  • Local - range of organisations in the local community including small local businesses, churches, schools and groups, using tailored approaches to raise money, sometimes in a partnership format.
  • Fundraising  through events, raffles, bake sales, sponsored runs etc.

Structure

Now, you have identified your sources of funding - who will be responsible for taking things forward? Will you set up a fundraising committee or have named individuals responsible? Do you need to involve your trustees and volunteers?

Other key elements for this process is to research the sources of funding that you have identified. What approach is required to establish contact, ensure fit with your aims and objectives and funders’ interests, why they should fund your organisation (think of how you can help them achieve their own objectives and the difference their support will make for your beneficiaries), timescales etc. How will you maintain an ongoing / long-term relationship (i.e. continuing to involve them in your organisation and reporting back on the difference their support has achieved). 

Review / monitoring

To get the most out of your fundraising effort it is important that the plan is regularly updated: were you successful in the funding application? If not, did you bring in extra through a fundraising event that could cover the shortfall and so on.

Further help and support from Community Southwark

In addition to running series of fundraising workshops through the year, we provide 1:1 support to help you develop and draft your fundraising strategy (and other areas of your organisation. We can also provide an expert review of a funding application providing comments and tips on how to improve it before sending it to the funder.

Do get in touch with the Development Team if you need any such support – development@communitysouthwark.org       

Join the campaign!

Small Charities Week is running three competitions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to help raise the profile of small charities with cash prizes for the winners.

Getting involved is easy, take a photo of yourself holding up a poster that reads: “I love (your charities name) because (why you love them)”.

Or take a video of yourself with your poster and shout out loud about why you love your charity. Then simply post it to either Twitter, Instagram or the Small Charity Week Facebook page, take a look here.

Please do include us in your ‘’I love my charity because…’’ tweets to @cosouthwark and use the hash tag: #ILoveSmallCharities. Let’s all shout about our wonderful charities! Keep us posted too about your events and activities and we’ll add them to our Community Southwark website through the week.