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3 steps to sustainable funding

Achieving a sustainable inflow of funds is a constant challenge for charities of all sizes and unfortunately there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution.

If we consider all the potential sources of charity funds, there clearly needs to be a joined-up approach across:-

1. Donations

2. Legacies

3. Grants

4. Corporate Sponsorships

5. Membership Fees

6. Selling goods and services

7. Income from other sources (e.g. events or publications)


At In The Round Advisors, we believe there are three key activities to maximise the chances of a successful income strategy:-

1. Seek out the professionals.

Raising funds is a complicated, challenging business.

So for example, in the case of donations, legacies, grants and corporate sponsorship, if your charity doesn’t have a designated, proven FundRaising lead, then look for specialists who are either members of the Institute Of Fundraising, have a proven track record in successful grant bids. 

If you are worried about the costs of these, maybe you can share the support of a local expert by joining forces with some of your charity contacts. 

These individuals are skilled at ensuring compliance to the Fundraising Code Of Practice and meeting the detailed requirements of funding bodies.

Whilst these professionals do not have a magic wand, they likely have a better success outcome rate, and will save you time (and money) in the long run. 

They can also help to ensure the reputational, compliance and operational risks are reduced, as they know what they need to know. 

Consider how you are using their services, as well as your own efforts, to create a portfolio of income generation across all areas of your charity.

2. Consider your communications. 

As a minimum, you will need a communications strategy and plan for any fundraising campaigns, especially if you are asking for public donations. It is so important to understand what message you are communicating to whom, when and by what means.

Taking care to avoid any clashes of competing campaigns while understanding your operations and infrastructure requirements (for example extra demand on phones) will provide a sense check that will minimise anything that could undermine your funding efforts. At the same time, you will overlay this plan with the timescales involved for any additional bid submissions to help with financial forecasting scenarios.

3. Set and monitor realistic targets.

We are not fans of endless, often pointless measures just for the sake of them, but a focus on critical measures linked to strategy do ensure the right activities take place at the right time in the right way.

If you do not know what success will look like, how can you monitor activities to make sure it's progressing and celebrate it when it happens?

Connecting those targets to the financial plans for the charity, while managing the accountabilities and performance of those entrusted with the targets, makes sure there is a golden thread linking all activity from the front-line to the charity strategy, owned by the board of trustees.

These three things do require some investment of time and money, but if effectively delivered they can provide a sustainable financial platform to take your charity forward.

If you’d like help bringing this to life, we are always ready to respond.

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