Earlier in the year, I worked with marketing consultant David Wallace on a survey to establish the key challenges for small charities, in particular, with regard to fundraising and marketing.
Unsurprisingly, the top challenge was time and resources available. In organisations where there may only be one person dealing with both activities, the activities and sustained effort that’s required for both – often with little or no result in the short term – can be a huge drain on resources.
You can take a look at the survey results here: Marketing and Fundraising Challenges for Charities
Obviously, I’ve written a lot about managing fundraising with few resources – in fact, you could say that it’s my pet subject:
1. You Need a Plan – it takes time to write, I know. And that time means you’re not doing the fundraising or the marketing. I know. But without a fundraising plan, you’re fire fighting, constantly jumping at opportunities as they come along (not always necessarily a bad thing but hardly strategic) and you’re not taking a longer term, proactive approach. A little time spent planning will give you a clear focus of what you want to achieve, how you’re going to achieve it, with what resources and by when.
2. Think Creatively About Your Resources – having worked almost exclusively with small charities and non-profits since becoming a consultant, I know that small organisations take the most creative approaches when it comes to managing resources – they have to. Try to think about how you can use resources – such as asking your board to fundraise – or leverage existing resources – can you send your newsletter to donors and if not, can you ‘recycle’ some of the material in it to send to them?
3. Ask 3 Simple Questions – before you start to fundraise for a project ask yourself:
a) Are you playing to your strengths? Does your organisation have experience in this field? Are you using resources effectively to achieve this? If you’re focusing on a particular avenue for funding, ask yourself why it’s the best one to go for.
b) Will this contribute to your overall goals? If you’re simply fundraising for a project because it has no income but not because it will appeal to donors or plays to your strengths or has a genuine need, it’s unlikely anyone will fund it.
c) Does this fit with your vision? And if not, why are you doing it? If it doesn’t, a potential donor is likely to see right through it and you will have wasted considerable time and effort trying to raise funds for this programme or appeal.
If you need help figuring out how to plan and manage your fundraising more effectively, I can help with everything from carrying out a fundraising healthcheck to get you on the right track, to reviewing your funding bids or providing specialist tailored small charity consultancy advice. Please get in touch to find out more.