I was delighted to deliver a session at the 2019 North East Fundraising Conference, with Mat Cottle-Shaw from the Bone Cancer Research Trust, to help fundraisers in my home region to develop their trust fundraising skills. For those of you who were unable to attend, I have written this article to share some of our key tips.
Sometimes, we need to take our trust fundraising back to basics. Whether you are new to trust fundraising or have to regularly write funding applications as part of a wider role, it can be helpful to refresh your approach and so that your applications are best representing your charity.
The key to writing great trust applications, is in ensuring that you have a great case for support. A case for support is a detailed document containing all the information you will need to write trust and grants applications. You can use the case for support as a template for free-form proposals and just tailor it to the funder you are applying to. Or, for applications that require you to complete a form, you can use the pre-prepared narrative in the case for support to complete thorough answers.
Ideally, you should have a case for support for your core work and one for each of your funding priorities and key projects.
Initially, preparing a case for support can seem overwhelming, especially when you are starting with a blank page. Whilst it may take a while to prepare, it can help you save significant time on future applications. Once you have all the information you need and your case for support has been approved by your charity, you can respond quickly to tight application deadlines; submit consistent, quality applications and avoid as much to-and-fro with operational colleagues on every application.
Writing a case for support doesn’t need to be overwhelming, in fact, by taking it back to basics, you can use just six building blocks to build your case for support and improve your trust fundraising. I like to call this brick by brick method, ‘The Lego Approach’.
Within these six key building blocks to a case for support, you should be able to create a document that answers any questions a funder may have. Plus, we all know that breaking tasks down into chunks make them so much more achievable!
So, what are the six key blocks to building a case for support?
1. Need for Support – the problem/s you are working to address with your application. What are the implications of this problem on your beneficiaries? Who identified this problem and is there anyone trying to fix it?
2. Solution/The Proposal – your project detail. What is the aim of your project? What will be the three to five outcomes of your project (the difference you will make)? How will you achieve this impact – what are the actual activities you will undertake?
3. Monitoring and Evaluation – what measures are you putting in place to collect evidence and demonstrate your impact? How will you involve beneficiaries in your project evaluation?
4. Sustainability – what will happen after the funding period ends? Will the project be able to generate its own income or secure contract funding? Will you use the funding period to diversify the organisation's income?
5. Organisational Info – why is your organisation best placed to deliver this work? What is your experience? Who leads your organisation? How do you work in partnership? What is your financial position (including income, expenditure and reserves)?
6. Budget & Funding Need – what is the total cost? Provide a budget breakdown by line and set the time frame of the budget. How much money have you secured? Where will the remainder come from?
I have created a simple toolkit to help you to being to inject the ‘Lego Approach’ into your own trust fundraising which you can download for free here.
I thoroughly enjoyed delivering this approach as a conference session and helping fundraisers with their trust and grants fundraising throughout the two days of the North East Fundraising Conference. In fact, I am now extra inspired for the fundraising training programme that KEDA Consulting will be launching early in 2020. If you are keen to improve your trust fundraising further; develop a fundraising strategy or learn more about another element of the fundraising mix, register your interest here.
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