2) Fundraising Strategy

Fundraising Strategy

To be successful at fundraising we need a fundable charity or social enterprise that meets the requirements in respect of good Governance. Then we require a fundraising plan following discussion on projects, campaigns, seeking advice and obtaining admin or technical support.What constitutes good Governance is available from (www.charitiescommision.org.uk) ). Many funders will require these as basics before considering any organisation. Cara Community Services can assist your organisation achieve these standards ( see also our Governance tab).

1) We can provide you with the research necessary to support any bids for funding.

Research is vital, helps profile and target resources. Public opinion research is more expensive with `yes or no` answers cheapest. Interviews are expensive but findings are invaluable as you can find out how you are perceived, how compared, who are prospective supporters, and how well you are doing. A focus group is useful for responses to material or attitudes etc. Other sources of data are available  via our extensive knowledge-bank and research a post graduate students working on a relevant dissertation etc. ( see also our Research tab)

2) We can provide you with the necessary organisational `health checks`.

Our analysis of your future needs is also critical to ensure you are sustainable. Your budget cycle projections for 1-5 years will reveal how much is required just to keeping going. To  expand  your services or establish new ones the further questions are market analysis and projection of need, who else is responding and how do you fit into responses effectively, are you providing solutions rather than just meting the consequences, could combined efforts maximise resources? The need has to be significant and your role clear. You must be led by the work you want to do rather than the money.

Our approach to establishing the best strategy for you  can have various `spin-offs`. Our experience in developing and maintaining Capital items such as IT or buildings can reduce costs. We can assist in developing a supporter base which may open doors but diversified income streams and requires fundraising energy. The other considerations include cost consciousness, risk aversion, accurate costing and recovery, and the realistic timeframes. Fundraising is a ratio/return activity e.g. legacies have high short term costs but long term value; a sponsored run can create long term donors; and sustainable activities such as repeatable events, partnerships, volunteer’s etc lead to long term viability.

3) We ensure there is a return on your investment.

One major consideration is just how much will you get back for your investment. The rough estimates are:-

20:1 Donor Mailings & appeals to trusts 10:1 House to House Collections, payroll giving & raffles 2:5   Shops & Stalls, fundraising events, & radio

The timeframe between developing a fundraising approach and results are:-

1 Month                                        Postal Appeals, House to House, Gift Aid claims 2-6 Months                                  Lotteries, Events, Appeals to companies, National Lottery 6-12 Months                                Govt Grants, Payroll Giving, Christmas Cards

12 Months plus                            Big gifts, Legacies, & Capital sums

Measuring the performance

The cost ratio takes the direct income generated divided by full costs expressed as ratio or percentage (£1000 raised for £100 cost equates to 10:1 or 100%)

The yield ratio takes the income received by the number of people approached (thus £1000 from 20 people less costing £ 100 equates to £45 per donor).

Lifetime value takes prediction that above donations will be repeated twice or even 3 times (thus £1000 becomes £2000 from 20 people costing £100 equates to £95 per donor or if 3 times £145)

4) We can assist you launch campaigns for a specific project, buildings or your work as a whole.

Substantial  pre-launch work includes planning& budget, case documentation including research, feasibility study with plan and timescales, recruitment of committee and staffing resources, seeking private gifts, the launch, public giving and means, and closure of appeal with reports. Both networking with potential donors setting out the number and size of donations needed or `levers` who approach others is vital. Also the strategic plan covering the charity background, description and justification, costs broken down into components, the plan on sources of funds in detail  such as % from identified trusts and % from companies/individuals etc. Critical is getting the `good and the great` on the fundraising committee to contribute. In private committee members can use social gatherings, personal letters, invitations to see the work etc. People need time to consider and this networking activity can stretch over many years. In the public phase and official invited launch & press conference, using events, sponsorship, direct mailings and all other methods of fundraising.  The final phase is ensuring all pledges received, thanking people, and revisit non-donors for late gifts etc.

5) We focus upon effective Marketing

All fundraising is about marketing. We start with understanding the organisation, market position and rivals, and most of all research on potential donors. As we compete for peoples disposable income we need to make our `offer ` attractive and `refreshed`. We need to present the `price`  either on list, range or frequency  accepting that the first gift value may be swallowed up in administration costs but several become profitable. Identify how people get the money to you with ease via donation form, envelope, collection bucket, credit card or website etc. We can lead on active promotion via media, correspondence or meetings etc. with the `on message`. The above is summarised in marketing jargon as the 5 P`s planning, product, price, place and promotion.

Marketing techniques

We can lead on Postal appeals which take time and money to build base of supporters who give at certain times such as Christmas /bereavement etc. Effective direct mailing entails a clear personalised message (handwritten names, feedback on previous gifts, reply envelop with donors name on it etc) and selection of people (mailing pack, targets `cold` or `warm`). The external envelope is important to prevent going straight to bin. The letter must have a central proposition both visual and verbal; the request should be clear. Tips include use emotional appeal;  success stories; ask for specific sums; use simple language and make material attractive; make beneficiaries `strivers` ;use snappy headlines; and ask.

The difference between `cold` and `warm` mailings is the cost and message alongside the response rate. Each group require different approaches. `Cold`  mailings rarely pay for themselves but may add names to your supporters lists becoming `warm` with high response rates or legacies. Any direct mailing campaign may not generate any surplus for 3-5 years. Postage is expensive so utilise email and the power of social media. An essential part of the Direct Mailing Strategy is maintaining the database of supporters and having a donor pyramid.

The telephone is an expensive way of contacting people but can be effective when cultivating monthly donations, legacies, or major gifts etc. It can be effective if trained callers and if using an Agency (www.mpsonline.org.uk) then must conform to 2006 Charities Act (written agreement between charity and Agency; written statement to donor on arrangement and sum %;  7 days cooling off for £50 plus)but does not apply if charity own staff or volunteers. An example would be cold calling a book of people with specific interests.  A growing area is the texting messaging which needs further research. (www.tpsonline.org.uk)

There is a whole range of personal solicitation.

a)  On `door to door` there are local authority license requirements under the House to House Collection Act 1939 but none if simply leaving information. The same applies to local churches or social venues. The above methods are very successful if people see the need and local benefit. On street collections cash should not be collected and license requirement differ. The Public Fundraising Regulatory Authority can provide advice on both methods (www.pfra.org.uk).

b) Events can be an excellent way of raising funds for recruiting donors via visits, study tours, open days, receptions, or presentations at meetings or conferences etc.  Advertisement is expensive but can be used in `target` group press. Many organisations see it as cost effective to spend £50 per new supporter. Loose inserts are a cost effective alternative to adverts as are mini-posters and handbills. Advertising on radio costs but can be regionalised and used to support fundraising events. Better still if you can get the event publicised freely via talking issues e.g. .BBC`s Lifeline Appeal monthly on a Sunday or Radio 4 Appeal.(www.bbc.co.uk/info/policies/charities or email charityappeals@bbc.co.uk )

c) Editorial Appeals for local papers especially at Christmas are effective. Finally the internet provides opportunities with donor research, recruitment, trading, events, information and communication etc. Sponsored events work well with Bmycharity and Justgiving  create own fundraising page requesting sponsorship from family and friends etc. Companies will also put appeals on their website.

For further information please contact John Brennan on 01803852270 or email john@caracommunity.co.uk for a free and confidential discussion.