Fundraising pearls of wisdom – and all for free

I’m an avid follower of the Institute of Fundraising’s LinkedIn discussion pages. If you have even a passing interest in how fundraising works, and the issues that challenge people trying to raise money for good causes, then I recommend taking a  look. It’s worth joining the Institute of Fundraising just to get access to this resource.

One particularly impressive feature is the fabulous, free advice given by the titans of the fundraising profession to anyone who asks. Just this morning someone asked for help, clearly struggling to bring in the money her cause needs. Her question was: ‘How big does a fundraising team need to be to make it effective?’ Giles Pegram (of NSPPC Full Stop campaign fame, which raised £250m), immediately gave this frank and comprehensive reply, which is worth quoting in full:

I said at the beginning of this topic (How big does a fundraising team need to be to make it effective) that my answer is ‘one’, and I still believe it. I presume your finances are in a bad way, or you would appoint a full time fundraiser. Take your Trustees and donors with you.

First, concentrate on researching and then crafting applications to 20 Trusts and Foundations. That will give you some quick money. Which you can use to appoint a full-time fundraiser. 

Secondly, write to all your donors, and lay out your position clearly. Ask them to become regular givers at £2 a month. ( I assume there is someone in finance who could help with this ), or give a cah gift, and at the same time invite them to an open day, in your offices to hear from the CEO. Less than 10% will come, but the others will appreciate being asked. Be totally honest with them. 

Thirdly, set up a stewardship scheme for all your supporters. Write to them regularly about your work. From time to time ask if they would like to upgrade their regular gift ? become a regular giver, or give a cash gift. Connect them with the cause 

Fourthly, ask your Trustees for help. Get them, at least to invite their conacts to the open day. They are responsible for the financial stability of the Charity. And, get them to form a fundraising sub-committee to help. 

By now, you must have raised enough to appoint a full time, experienced fundraiser, who can do a proper audit, and create a longer term plan. I said at the beginning, my answer was ‘ one ‘ and I still believe it.

People normally have to pay a lot of money to get advice from people with a fraction of the experience of someone like Giles. The Institute should be congratulated for facilitating this excellent mentoring, and the more people who take advantage of this opportunity, the better our asking culture will become.

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