Fundraising for small charities: or fundraising without a budget

fundraising without a budget

If you’re a regular visitor to this website, you’ll know that I specialise in fundraising for small charities – and one of the main questions I’m asked is:

How do we fundraise without a budget?

While you do need to make an investment in fundraising in order for it to be successful, there are 3 key aspects to remember:


  1. investment can be time, staff or volunteers – it doesn’t necessarily have to equate to a specific financial sum of money that you need to find
  2. staff investment in fundraising can be for a salary you are already paying – and you just attribute a certain amount of that to fundraising costs, depending on how much time or what proportion of staff time is taken up by fundraising
  3. investment can be costs that you already incur – such as newsletters that you produce that can be used for fundraising purposes or events that you run that you could adapt to steward donors or raise money.


So how do you go about using limited resources to raise money?


Use what you already have – often called leverage, there will be certain aspects that you can either adapt to fit your fundraising needs or which can be used to support your fundraising. So, in the example above, you might use newsletters to communicate with donors or events to raise money and recruit new donors. You may use social media to communicate with the wider public – can you put these to use in terms of fundraising? Think of what you are already doing in terms of marketing and communications and ask yourself whether any of these could be adapted to support fundraising.


Break tasks into manageable chunks – planning out your fundraising is key to the success of your programme. Take your fundraising goals and break each of these down into actions that will help you to reach your goals. Then break each action into a set of tasks. Make sure they are action-focused (use verbs) and time-bound and this will help you to approach your fundraising with a clear set of priorities that ensure your fundraising is strategic, proactive and focused – rather than being reactive and scatter gun with you having your limited resources pulled in all sorts of directions.


Create a fundraising ethos – when fundraising for small charities one of the key success factors is the understanding throughout the entire organisation of what the fundraising aims are. Not only does this mean that everyone is ‘singing from the same song sheet’ but it also means that other members of staff can identify relevant opportunities and introduce their own contacts that might be potential supporters.


Fundraising for small charities can be challenging – and having limited resources is one of the main challenges that small charities face in general. However, with good planning, creativity and a team approach to fundraising, it is possible to succeed – and even exceed – with your fundraising goals.


Great things can be done by a series of small things brought together.

Vincent van Gogh


[frame]What have you found successful when fundraising for small charities? Is there anything in particular that has worked for your charity? Share your tips in the comments below – or ask any questions you have about using your own limited resources to achieve fundraising success.[/frame]

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