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Fund raising.


Success in fund raising depends upon a subtle balance of negotiation skills, planning resources and budgets, PR and marketing. Above all it is about building positive relationships with potential donors and convincing them that your cause is the best investment. To be successful, a fund raising appeal must stand out from the crowd and make sound business sense.

Fund raising often provides the requesting organisation with the opportunity to do something they otherwise may not be able to and can boost staff morale through team fund raising or incentive schemes. It is also important to understand the benefits to the donor, which can be in the areas of PR, by providing a positive public image, marketing and taxation (talk to your accountant or finance department).

Ensure conformity with the Charities Act. You can get advice on this complex law from the Charity Commission (See Additional Resources).

This checklist is a guide for managers handling corporate fund raising for the first time. The economic recession, cuts in government grants and, arguably, the National Lottery have placed enormous demands on corporate charitable funds.

National Occupational Standards for Management and Leadership

This checklist has relevance to the following standards: E: Using resources, unit 3


Fund raising consists of persuading another party to support a requesting organisation by giving money, gifts in kind or other resources which enable the project to happen. The project could be an activity (e.g. supporting a hospice or a research programme), an item (e.g. funding equipment for a school or publication of a book) or an event (e.g. a fun run or a theatre performance).

There are three main types of fund raising:

* Appeals for gifts--support is given freely and the donor receives no benefit (such as membership, tickets to events or advertising). A charity can often claim back tax on these gifts.

* Commercial support--such as sponsorship (e.g. major sporting events) or endorsements/promotions, where the requesting organisation receives a percentage or royalties from the sale of goods or services (e.g. RSPCA Freedom Foods), or is happy to "badge" the sponsor's name principally for advertising purposes (e.g. television programmes).

* The National Lottery--a wide range of funding is available for leisure, recreation, charitable and other activities. Responsibility for distribution of lottery funds is made through some 14 independent bodies, such as the four national Arts Councils and four national Sports Councils. Details of those bodies, how to apply for funding and a wide range of related links are on the Department for Culture, Media and Sports' website (See Additional Resources). The DCMS itself does not distribute any funds.

Tax rules vary so it is advisable to obtain advice from an accountant or other financial authority.

Action checklist

1. Define the need

Before doing anything it is important to consider whether fund raising is the best course of action. Is it imperative that the project requiring funds goes ahead? Is it the most important priority for funding? If the answer to these questions is "no", then fund raising may not be the best option.

2. What is the case for funding?

Gather together the most important information about the appeal subject to prove the case for funding. This includes:

* facts--summary explaining what the project is, why it is important and when it needs support

* figures--outline budget explaining funds required and (where possible) those already secured

* the USP (Unique Selling Point)--the factor which is likely to make this project uniquely important to those affected by it, including the potential donor.

3. Examine the funding options

What sort of corporate support will suit your needs? If you are looking to arrange sponsorships and events these often require a mix of skills and resources. For example:

* an event needs a venue, ticket administration and insurance

* an item needs specialist skills and equipment--publishing a book involves an author, editor, designer, printer, publisher etc

* an activity needs target objectives, a plan, programme and costs.

No matter how you intend to raise funds, think carefully about everything you want to do and what and whom you need to do it.

* make a detailed plan--with a proposed programme, costs and objectives

* think about the resources you will need--people, space and equipment as well as cash. Will you need outside help?

4. Find the right source

Fund raisers should take time to draw up a "hit list" of companies (or where appropriate) individuals who:

* might support the appeal

* should support the appeal--they have an interest in the project.

The corporate fund raising pot is not bottomless. Establish right at the start if your project fits the company's funding criteria (and vice versa). If it is company policy to support medical projects, an appeal for arts funding is unlikely to succeed.

Fund raisers and corporate donors will take time to decide who they are happy to link up with. Fund raising involves partnerships so both sides must be comfortable (even if they do sometimes disagree about things!)--for example, environmental charities might choose to avoid companies linked to pollution, and organisations sponsoring rural conservation may well be averse to funding claims from organisations related to genetic engineering.

5. Getting advice

Always ask for advice. This saves a great deal of time sending ill-conceived or unsuitable appeals. Many companies have corporate giving guides or a section in the annual report and accounts which explains company policy and areas of interest. Alternatively, speak to whoever administers the charitable budget, often the Company Secretary. Companies with separate charitable trusts may have a dedicated administrator. Keep your enquiries brief--some administrators deal with hundreds of enquiries a week. Make a quick call to find out:

* areas of current interest (some companies always support specific causes, others support a charity for a set period and then move on)

* the date and basic details required to send the request in time for the relevant committee meeting

* whether funds may be available; some companies assign donation budgets 12 months or more in advance.

Speak to any relevant personal contacts--directors or senior managers at the company you are investigating who can be approached for friendly, informal advice--before submitting an appeal.

Company websites often give details of the company's charitable or sponsorship activities.

6. Putting together a proposal

By following steps 1 to 5 the correct information to include in the appeal proposal should be available. Keep it short and to the point--unless the company requests specific additional information.

A basic proposal should include a one-side executive summary, a brief budget, objectives and benefits, and elements such as equipment/facilities costs, running costs, salaries and administrative costs. Some companies don't fund salaries or administrative costs--check out the funding policy and make it clear how the project will cover these costs if the corporate donor won't.

7. Meeting the prospective donor

Invite prospective donors to visit; this provides the opportunity for refining, even improving the proposal. Any donor thinking of giving a significant sum would want to visit the requesting organisation first to make sure the project is viable.

This is a great chance for the requesting organisation to showcase its work. Then both parties can build up a picture to aid decision-making on the project.

A note of warning--charities should be very wary of agreeing to take on a new project simply because it fits in with the donor's wishes. Be flexible, tailor the project to the donor's interests, but fund the work you need to do.

8. Getting a decision

This is usually a case of waiting. Many companies state that if the requesting organisation hears nothing within a specified time they should assume no support will be given. Deciding whether to follow up the appeal with a single well timed call is up to you.

9. Review what happened and plan the future

See what did and didn't work this time and put a plan in place to make things more effective next time. For example:

* Was the project clear--does the summary or budget need developing?

* What is the next step with the prospective donor? Can you approach them again later or are they clearly not interested?

* Can the prospective donor lead you to other possible donors?

10. Make the most of the fund raising relationship

It is sensible to build on the relationship established with the donor organisation--in the future they may again be in a position to help. Simple ways to maintain the relationship include:

* keeping the donor informed of how the project is going

* involving them in other projects where possible

* promoting the support given by the donor organisation to other potential donors.

How not to manage Fund Raising


* just take the money and run

* be dishonest about your campaign or you could end up in court

* use the funding for something other than the stated purpose--it is a criminal offence

* rush into accepting funding--it takes time to resource and find the right funding option. If the cause and funder are mismatched it can create bad PR

* forget to say 'Thank you'.

Additional resources


Marketing management for nonprofit organizations, 2nd ed Adrian Sargeant

Oxford: OUP, 2005

Relationship fundraising: a donor based approach to the business of raising money, 2nd ed, Ken Burnett

San Francisco Calif: Jossey Bass, 2002

Fundraising fundamentals: a guide to annual giving for professionals and volunteers, 2nd ed, James M Greenfield

New York NY: John Wiley, 2002

Five strategies for fundraising success: a mission based guide to achieving your goals, Mal Warwick

San Francisco Calif: Jossey Bass, 2000

This is a selection of books available for loan to members from the Management Information Centre. More information at:

Internet resources

Company Giving A database set up by the Directory of Social Change (see Organisations) providing details of company support available to voluntary and community organisations.

Government Funding Online portal to grants for the voluntary and community sector.

Trust Funding Has information from over 4,000 grant-making trusts, included within the DSC.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport Provides details of how to apply for a National Lottery Grant from its 14 independent distributing bodies.


Charity Commission, Harmsworth House, 13-15 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8DP

Tel: 0845 300 0218

Directory of Social Change, 24 Stephenson Way, London, NW1 2DP

Tel: 020 7391 4800

National Council for Voluntary Organisations, Regent's Wharf, 8 All Saints Street, London, N1 9RL

Tel: 0800 2798 798
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Title Annotation:Checklist 045
Publication:Chartered Management Institute: Checklists: Marketing Strategy
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 1, 2006
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