One of the findings from Charities Aid Foundation’s (CAF) Resilience programme providing grant funding and non-financial support to 10 small charities – is that none of the supported charities have been able to appoint a skilled fundraiser in-house. The charities had been unable to find people with the required skills and experience to deliver their fundraising programme, so the Resilience programme allowed some of them to try out different approaches. This included devolving responsibility to multiple staff or outsourcing to an agency.
These findings resonate with conversations we have had with many small charities over the last few years and we have found that, in the North East, it is something that others have been hearing too. This is why we are working with VONNE, Institute of Fundraising North East and Charity People to bring an event on recruiting fundraisers to Newcastle in November. The aim of which is to gather further insights from small charities in the region and to provide resources to help those charities looking to recruit fundraisers.
In our role as fundraising consultants, we are also able to offer a range of support options to small charities to help resource their fundraising programmes. The starting point for which needs to be a fundraising strategy. Without this, how can an organisation know what resource is needed?
If you don’t have a fundraising strategy, the process you need to go through is broadly as follows:
• Internal review – undertake a diagnostic of your current fundraising programme, your organisation’s strengths and weaknesses and its existing relationships.
• External review – look at what comparable charities are doing. What does this tell you about your own fundraising performance and potential? What opportunities and threats can you identify?
• Prospect research – what funding opportunities can you identify? Is your charity attractive to grantmakers or corporates? Which prospects should you prioritise?
• Fundraising income streams – having undertaken your internal and external review, explore the following areas of fundraising in terms of potential income, resource requirements and recommended actions:
o Grant funders
o Community groups and organisations
o Individuals – major philanthropists, one-off and regular supporters, volunteer fundraisers and influencers.
When we work with small charities on developing their fundraising strategy, the process results in the following output documents:
• Narrative fundraising strategy with summary of findings and recommendations
• Forecast income and fundraising expenditure for three to five years
• Gantt chart fundraising action plan for one year
• Appendices to include prospect list and peer review.
The above process enables you to set informed income forecasts, detailed action plans and therefore what the resource requirement is for each element of the fundraising programme.
As the CAF Resilience report says, ‘for small charities there is no one way of managing the challenge of staffing their income generation function’.
Resources might include:
• Fundraising staff
• Senior or operational staff who have fundraising as a part of their role
• External support such as a fundraising consultancy, copywriters, designers etc.
We have worked with small to medium size charities to achieve fundraising success in a number of ways:
• We help charities through the process of developing their fundraising strategy.
• We provide advisory support to CEOs and Fundraising Directors who are responsible for delivering fundraising programmes.
• We lead the delivery of fundraising programmes for small charities, working closely with their senior management team.
• We work alongside senior managers and fundraisers to deliver specific aspects of the fundraising programme, for example delivering the trust fundraising programme or developing major bids.
• We support with recruiting fundraising staff, from creating the role through to appointing, inducting and supporting a new fundraiser.
What we have learned from our experience of working with small to medium size charities is that they may need different types of support as their fundraising programme develops. Some of our most impactful projects have been those that have evolved in line with the charity’s development.
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