Fundraising is never easy in a recession but figures suggest that, even before the crash in 2008, trust and foundation funding had already started to decline. That said, it was only likely to get worse from that point onwards as share prices plummeted, affecting the investments of a number of trust and foundations. NCVO published an article on fundraising in a cold climate that tells of the difficulties in current times that gives more background.
However, while it might be harder to get trust funding, does that necessarily mean that it’s impossible – what are the secrets to fundraising success in difficult times?
Research Your Market– now more than ever, it’s important to recognise who are the trusts most likely to support your cause and tailor your approaches towards them. You need to take into consideration what they fund, what they look for in a project, how much they’re likely to give versus what you need, and what they’ve previously funded.
Communicate with trusts – don’t just write out of the blue but engage them in a conversation to establish whether it really your project is of interest or fits with their criteria. This helps to put you on their radar, may get them to look out for your proposal coming in, and gives you an opportunity to give them more background about you and answer their specific questions. It can also help you to write a better, more targeted bid as they will often provide guidance on what you need to include – and what you don’t.
Read their Guidelines – Do they need three copies of your proposal and an annual report? Do they only want 2 sides of A4 and your annual accounts? Read what it is that they ask for and provide it. In difficult times, you don’t want to make it even easier for them to cull your bid because of a formatting error.
Write Compelling Bids – in an environment when trusts are receiving even more funding applications but may potentially have less to give out, you want to make your application stand out from the crowd. So write copy that tells a story, details the precise outcomes of the project and demonstrates how their support will help you to achieve those outcomes and make a real difference.
For more information on writing successful trust fundraising proposals, why not sign up for your free Fundraising Toolkit, which includes a Successful Trust Fundraising guide packed with ideas about developing your projects, finding trust & foundation funding and writing your bids?