Funding news

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Cause Awareness Days 2020

You may be suffering from fundraising fatigue after Christmas but now is the time to set yourself up for 2020 fundraising success by planning ahead and making sure you’re communicating properly with your donors.

Make your donation asks at the right time. Coincide campaigns with national and international awareness days that capture your supporters’ attention, and avoid events that could overshadow your campaigns.

Online awareness days are a great opportunity for you to be seen on social media and to inspire a new audience. You can build momentum towards the day and plan content in advance. National days often have ready made resources – hashtags, videos, images and themes for you to use in your messages.

If the awareness event covers a number of days, plan social media content with a different focus for each day. Decide what your key messages are and stick to them eg. attracting more volunteers or raising funds.

Last year we successfully used national Befriending Day to kickstart a volunteer recruitment and awareness campaign for our own befriending project Time to Talk. Our week-long campaign highlighted different aspects of loneliness and isolation in our community. The call to action asked local people to get involved in the project and to share our information and stories on different social platforms to target different audiences. If you can’t find a day that fits your mission – why not partner with other local charities and create your own?

Download the cause awareness wall planner from Blackbaud and get cracking!

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Digital Donation Boxes for Charity Fundraising

The UK is becoming a cashless society. Britons spent £6.9billion a month on contactless cards in August.

Barclaycard found that on-street giving is in decline and 39% of charities see strong signs of this. Almost three-quarters of charities say this type of collection is waning because people carry less cash and Barclaycard also report that 54% of the the public agree that contactless technology makes donating easier.

For those of you relying on voluntary donations – where cash is the way to give – this is cause for concern. Contactless card and mobile payments are becoming the norm so it’s clear that we need to be prepared to offer our supporters a cashless payment option.

There are a number of options available to buy or rent – here are a selection for you to investigate:

https://www.goodbox.com/contactless-payment-technology/

https://thyngs.net/solutions/charity

https://www.nationalfundingscheme.org/tap-donate/

https://www.tapforchange.org.uk/

https://www.payacharity.com/

https://www.libertypay.co.uk/donation-boxes.html

 

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Telling Hard Stories

Donors don’t always have allegiance to a specific charity which means you must compete for their attention and money in an information overloaded society.

This is where storytelling comes in. Stories are a great way to inspire action and spread your message. They can help you attract new supporters, donors and increase your reach. 

But what do you do if your story is not a soft sell – about children, the elderly or animals? Not every cause is created equal and some issues don’t get the attention because they don’t have appeal. Cute causes attract donors but often appeals for mental health, addiction, domestic violence, asylum seekers and ex-offenders face challenges.

Charities have an ability to create change and fight on behalf of people who don’t otherwise have a voice. Make your story about impact. It may not be a photogenic cause but tell your audience about the life and community changes that your work helps to bring about. If you are helping offenders, tell your story about the positive outcomes of your support for the offender’s children and families. Storybook Dads is a great example – the charity enables parents in prison to record a bedtime story for their children. The website images and stories concentrate on the children and the positive outcomes from staying connected to their incarcerated parent.

‘For many families, these story discs are a lifeline, helping to heal rifts and build vital family relationships.  It shows the children they are loved and missed. It helps prisoners to feel valued as parents and gives them the opportunity to have a positive impact on their children’s lives.

Talking about a sensitive subject can help to normalise it and dispel myths. The more you talk about what your charity does and the impact of your work, the more solvable the problem seems. What would happened to your community if your charity didn’t tackle the unpopular cause? Encourage your supporters and volunteers to promote your organisation and give them the information to be able to do it with confidence. Give talks locally wherever possible – by giving your beneficiaries a voice it will make your charity more mainstream and acceptable. 

We shy away from telling stories about the hard truth and social stigmas make those vulnerable less likely to receive donations but aren’t these the groups that need it most?

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Match Funding and In-Kind Funding

Match funding is a straightforward concept. It involves a funder agreeing to match, or partially match an amount of funding already pledged to a charity project. It’s an attractive option for funders because it gives assurance of the nonprofit applicant’s capacity to raise adequate funds.

There are two types of match funding: “actual” and “in-kind”.

Actual match funding is hard cash.

In-kind match funding is non-cash funding of free goods or services, such as volunteer hours, that can be given a value and be included in the project budget. If you have a shortfall to reach the neccessary match funding amount and you can offset some of your project costs with volunteer contributions this could be an option.

If your funder will accept in-kind match funding, you can claim the value of volunteer hours providing you outline how you will keep accurate records and provide evidence of the costs and include in the breakdown of expenditure on the application form.

Your funder may have their own rules of how to measure the economic value of volunteer hours and services. If not, make your own calculation by multiplying the total volunteer hours by an hourly wage rate, either using the national minimum wage or median hourly wage. The minimum wage probably underestimates the value, while the median wage may overestimate it. Calculate both and decide on a reasonable figure between the two.

Create a plan showing volunteer activities e.g. role description, hourly rate and work schedule detailing timescales and volunteer hours. Use your volunteer cost and plan to make an accurate and realistic in-kind contribution for your applications.

Often for larger capital projects, funders will only grant funding when other applications have been successful and the project looks likely to reach completion. Using goods and services in-kind contributions will reduce the project balance and make the finish line seem more achievable and therefore more attractive to other funders. In-kind contribution/match funding also shows your commitment to the project by documenting community and volunteer involvement and and your ability and potential for hard work to make the project a reality.

Even if match funding is not a requirement, document pledged volunteer hours and free products and services and include them in your application – every little helps!

https://www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/library/fundraising-focus-match-funding/

https://funraise.org/blog/all-your-nonprofit-needs-to-know-in-kind-donations/

 

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Your Christmas Donor Journey

We know that December is the biggest month of the whole year for donations. 30% of annual giving occurs in December and 10% of annual giving occurs on the last 3 days of the year. Hopefully your campaign will be ready for the 1st which is now only a month away – no pressure!

Since 54% of donors prefer to donate online, your Christmas campaign planning should include work on your website and smoothing your donor journey.

Your website

When was the last time your website was updated? A Christmas campaign will bring new and old visitors and your site must look fresh and current so that new visitors are engaged and old friends are reading something new.

Hopefully you understand the importance of storytelling for your organisation. It’s kind of the defining element of your online work. The most basic and usually most effective approach is the story of one individual and how your organisation helped them. Make your site all about human stories – especially at Christmas – it’s a great time to tug heartstrings and gives urgency to your fundraising.

Smooth your donor journey

Let’s hope all your planning has been rewarded with lots of people visiting the donation page on your website. How easy is it for them to make a donation? Have you tested it? What about donating using mobile or tablet? These are really important considerations since 24% of all online donations in 2018 were made using a mobile device.

Make it easy. Don’t distract visitors from the action of donating. Reduce the number of steps involved, the less clicks, the less chance your donor will bounce. Make your donation page only about donating and the key information needed to complete the transaction. Remove any other calls to action like newsletter sign-up forms or volunteering information and ask for as little personal information as possible with the minimum number of fields to complete.

Check the speed of your website – slow speeds kill conversions. 47% of visitors expect websites to load in two seconds or less — and 40% will abandon a page that takes three or more seconds. This means that if your site takes more than three seconds to load, you lose almost half of your visitors before they even arrive on your site.

In November, December and January there’s typically a 19% increase in online donations compared to other quarters of the year so make the most of your end of year fundraising by getting ready and getting it right!

Some reading for inspiration:

https://www.lightful.com/blog/social-media/charity-christmas-campaigns-2018/

https://www.charitydigitalnews.co.uk/2018/10/24/7-tips-for-planning-your-charity-christmas-email-campaigns/

https://www.charitydigitalnews.co.uk/2019/10/28/christmas-in-october-the-most-memorable-charity-christmas-campaigns/

https://my.virginmoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Knowledge-Takeaway-12-days-of-social-v0.3.pdf

 

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Giving to Local Charities – Community Foundation for Surrey

Many of our local charities rely on funding from the Community Foundation for Surrey. In order to give, the Foundation needs to attract local donors whose funding can help causes in our community.
 
The success of the Community Foundation is that it understands our local area, what the priority needs are and how best to address these needs. This knowledge allows them to manage and direct the donor funds to causes that donors are passionate about and will make the most difference.
 
Many CFS donors have said that they would never have come across the local groups they have helped fund without the Foundation connecting them. By setting up a fund with the Foundation, you can target your giving to make a difference to the causes that you care about and provide support to those who need it across Surrey.
 
In the past 14 years, CFS have generated a total of £25 million to support Surrey communities and have awarded over 3,400 grants to support groups tackling identified needs in health, education, exclusion, the environment, sport and the arts, and also training, education and employment.
 
Find out more about how you can set up a donor fund and give back to Surrey with help from CFS
 
https://www.cfsurrey.org.uk/giving/
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Legacy Fundraising for Small Charities in 2019

Legacy income increased to £3bn last year. Charities are now focusing their efforts on legacies because of the UK’s ageing population. According to the Office for National Statistics, 11.8 million people in the UK were 65 and over in 2016, representing 18 per cent of the population. That figure is projected to grow to 20.4 million by 2066.

However, 60% of adults don’t have a will and although 35% of over 40s in the UK ‘would be happy to’ leave gifts to charity, but only about 6 per cent actually do so. This is a huge opportunity for local charities to explain what the work they do and inspire people to leave them a gift for a community cause they care about.

Writing about legacies on and offline can be daunting. Knowing what to say, getting the tone right and knowing where to put the messages on your website or in your literature is challenging. This is where Google is your friend! Look online at how the big charities tackle legacy fundraising – legacy visions, language used, stories, how legacies are spent, information on will writing and the downloads they offer to supporters.

Another important consideration is making sure everyone in your organisation (staff, trustees and volunteers) know about your legacy giving program and are confident to talk about making legacy gifts as a way to support you. Presentations (internal and external) should include a slide about how you would spend a gift from a will. Repeat the message little and often by telling stories to help normalise the idea of legacies as a way to support your organisation. The more people who are confident talking about legacies and including them in their wider work, the greater reach you can achieve with your message.

Finally, know the law. Approach a local solicitor to talk through the legalities of accepting legacies and put together the information a potential legacy donor and their will writer might need. Helpful information is likely to include your official name, address and registered charity number.

For many larger charities, legacies are a major source of income but being a small organisation shouldn’t stop you adding legacy to your fundraising strategy and seeking funds through gifts in wills from your supporters.

Before getting started I strongly recommend you read:

Institute of Fundraising https://www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/guidance/fundraising-with-individuals/legacies/#introduction

Code of Fundraising Practice https://www.fundraisingregulator.org.uk/code/specific-fundraising-methods/legacies

Charity Commission https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wills-and-charitable-legacies

Remember a Charity https://www.rememberacharity.org.uk/making-a-will/

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What a No-Deal Brexit Means for the Charity Sector

We’re a little fed up of the deal or no-deal Brexit scenarios being discussed ad nauseam in the press. With 31 October looming and no resolution in sight what should charities do to prepare for a no-deal?

An important Brexit consideration for many charities is their staff. Employment laws will be affected but there’s unlikely to be an overnight change in employment rights in the event of no deal. Take steps to familiarise yourselves with Home Office Guidance to allow you to support and advise your EU employees.

In times of economic difficulty, need increases, and the work of voluntary organisations becomes more important. Currently a no-deal Brexit UK economy is predicted to go into recession which will affect charity funding available at local and national level and lead to a rise in demand on charitable services, especially for those working in poorer communities. The press is predicting food and medicine shortages due to customs-check chaos and a fall in Sterling by 10%, which would increase the cost of imported goods and services. It would also further reduce the purchasing power of charities operating abroad. Charity boards should be reviewing risk, existing financial position and funding streams in advance of the departure date.

A recent report states that a third of charities are over-reliant on one source of funding and those charities said losing their major source of funding would lead to the charity’s demise. Brexit aside, voluntary organisations must remain financially robust to cope with the needs of beneficiaries and their communities. Considerations of current and future funding sources should already be part of your fundraising strategy but a no-deal Brexit will mean further diversification and new ideas to compensate for a shortfall. It takes at least 6 months for most grant applications to be fruitful and your fundraising should take advantage of all your physical, human and digital assets – it should be creative and imaginative  – check out different ideas on the internet and try adapting other charities fundraising successes to what your organisation could achieve.

Being aware, discussing and planning for Brexit related issues at trustee and board level is a good way to avoid unwelcome surprises – download and read the full guidance from NCVO or watch the webinar on what a no-deal means to the UK charity sector.

If you need help writing or updating your fundraising strategy please contact suzie@voluntarysupport.org.uk

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Digital Fundraising

Digital fundraising is simply fundraising online using digital technology. Alongside traditional fundraising, digital techniques should now be part of your fundraising strategy.

90% of adults in the UK are internet users and 80% have a smartphone which they use to browse the internet. We spend an average of 24 hours per week online, using a mobile for phone calls is only considered important by 75% of smartphone users, compared to 92% who consider web browsing to be more important. This is an audience of 48 million people to whom you can tell the story of your organisation and ask for support.

These statistics should convince even the most sceptical and techno-phobic trustees that your organisation need a digital fundraising option. There a number of online channels you can use to fundraise:

  • Website – your website is a window to your organisation and should set out your cause and impact. The site should have a clear donate button and allow donors to easily and securely make donations.
  • Giving Platforms – depending on your website traffic and finances you can choose from a number of different options – have a look the options
  • Social Media – use your social media platforms to promote your organisation, tell stories of your beneficiaries and ask for donations. Facebook and Instagram now allow donations to be made directly to UK charities without fees.
  • Donate As You Spend – There are a number of different schemes – Amazon Smile and Give As You Live are just 2 ways for your supporters to raise funds for your charity through everyday online shopping

On Monday 21st October, I’ll be running a free Digital Fundraising workshop in Camberley – open to voluntary organisations, covering the subject in greater detail and offering ideas and information on adding digital to your fundraising strategy.

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Training for Charities and Voluntary Organisations in Surrey

Learn new skills to improve your charity knowledge this autumn at training and workshop events covering a wide range of subjects:

  • Working with your Trustees – As a chair a big responsibility is finding and managing good trustees. It is not made easier by the fact most trustees are typically volunteers and have limited time and varied backgrounds. So why not come along to the launch of the working with trustees series where you can meet other chairs and learn good tips and tricks – Tuesday 24/9/19, 6pm-8pm, EC4V, London, £40 or free to AoC members, contact events@associationofchairs.org.uk
  • Trustees Duties and Responsibilities – Do you think your trustees understand their responsibilities or if you are a trustee are you confident with what is expected of you? During the seminar there will be a practical look at what it takes to be an effective trustee – 8/10/19, 4:30pm-6:30pm, Guildford Harbour Terrace GU1 3DA, Free, contact gordonreid@barlowrobbins.com, 01483464224
  • Recruiting Trustees – The focus of this trustee event is Recruiting Trustees. It will be an opportunity for the trustees of local nonprofits to share issues and successes and to hear about best practice in recruiting trustees https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/event/recruiting-trustees-event/
  • Grant and Trust Application Writing – One day free fundraising course for non profit organisations in Surrey concentrates on structuring and composing applications for grants and trusts (national and local) https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/event/application-writing-for-grants-and-trusts/
  • Social Media and Website Training – One day free social media and web training workshop for not for profit organisations in Surrey led by colleagues at Surrey County Council https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/event/website-and-social-media-workshop/
  • Volunteering and the Law – This workshop will provide an opportunity to learn about or refresh your knowledge on volunteering and the law. It is designed as an overview of the current legislation relating to volunteers https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/event/volunteering-and-the-law/
  • Digital Fundraising – One day free fundraising course for non profit organisations concentrates on the increasing importance of using digital in all it’s forms to raise funds for your charity https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/event/digital-fundraising-training/
  • Successful Volunteer Management – One day free course covering the basics for developing a successful volunteer programme, including interaction and practical activities to allow participants to practice the skills needed to manage volunteers https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/event/successful-volunteer-management/

Sign up using the hyperlinks or contact details and we look forward to seeing you there!

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