Libby Mahoney

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What Should Feature in a Fundraising Strategy?

If you are thinking about putting together a fundraising strategy for the first time, or you’re in the process of doing so, there are some things you will need to think about.

Successful fundraising starts with a fundraising strategy which, in short, should serve to identify what resources will be required in order to reach a fundraising goal; although a fundraising strategy does not necessarily have to focus on just raising money, but could also help you to meet your other charitable aims.

The Institute of Fundraising has found that a lot of charities do not actually have clear fundraising plans, and are not clear what a fundraising strategy looks like – so if you are thinking about putting together a strategy for the first time, or you’re in the process of doing so, there are some things you will need to think about.

The three main elements of a fundraising strategy, like many other strategies, are:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to get to?
  • How are we going to get there?

So, firstly, you’ll need to outline the main aims and objectives of your project – or your project’s mission statement. This might include details on why you are raising the money, as well as the kinds of work your organisation has been doing. Think about what is happening in the wider world outside your organisation – factors like the current economic situation may have a direct effect on how much you can raise!

A useful tool for this is called a STEEPLE Analysis. Once you have looked at the external factors, you should then looks at what the ‘market is doing, for example, if local companies aren’t making profits, then basing your fundraising on generating income from business may be a challenge.  What resources do you have available internally – if you have your office staffed by one volunteers, then perhaps it is unrealistic to plan a fundraising appeal to lots and lots of individual donors – who would deal with the donations, bank and thank?  Pulling this all together, A SWOT analysis is useful in identifying possible Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to your project.

Then you need to think of where do you want to be?  So, for example, would raising £15,000 to fund an office move solve your problems, or do you need revenue funding which will enable you to cover your core costs for the next few years? Once you have decided where you want to be, and what you want to achieve, then you can start to build the strategy for how to get there…

It is vital therefore to spend time to research possible sources for funding, whether it’s through approaching corporates for support, or targeting major donors, for example.

Another area to consider are the extra resources you will need in order to fulfil your plan, such as extra volunteers, or training.

As you work at fulfilling your strategy, it is important to constantly monitor your progression so that you can measure your success, and put into place further steps, if necessary, if the plan does not quite turn out as predicted.

Source: Institute of Fundraising


Leeds Building Society Charitable Foundation Grant

UK registered charities, or those affiliated with a registered charity working to help those at disadvantage in society can apply to the Leeds Building Society Charitable Foundation for support.

Grants of between £250 – £1,000 are available to cover the costs involved in directly supporting those in need including those with disabilities, affected by homelessness, or with serious health issues.

Who can apply:

The Foundation accepts applications from UK registered charities, or those affiliated with a registered charity.
Donations usually fund items of “capital expenditure”. That means items must directly help those in need, rather than contributing to the charity’s running costs.

The Foundation is unable to support:

  • Religious, military or political projects
  • Overseas charities
  • Individuals (including sponsorship)
  • Animal welfare projects
  • Medical research
  • General running costs, such as salaries, rent or utility bills
  • General fundraising appeals

You don’t need to have an account or mortgage with Leeds Building Society to apply for funding.

Previous grants have gone to organisations supporting young people in applying for jobs and towards the purchase of a portable multi-sensory environment, that will turn any room into a sensory room.

The deadline is the 7th October 2019.

Click here to access the online application form.

Click here for more information.


Friends of Central Library Need Your Help – Volunteer Opportunity

Friends of Central Library, West Bromwich (FoCL) is the most recent “Friends” group, dedicated to promoting, improving and sustaining the services available in Sandwell Libraries. Unlike many of the other Libraries in the Borough, which are part of their own local communities, West Bromwich Central Library, the “flagship” of Sandwell Library Service, is set in the High Street Business area.

FoCL was formed by a group of volunteers already assisting in the Library, aiming to represent the views of users, and to contribute to the management and development of the service. Members offer ideas and enthusiasm in promoting both the normal functions of the Library and also a wide range of special events. They are also active in fund raising, to support the programme of special events aiming to encourage the public to see for themselves the facilities of this beautiful historic building.

Why not get in touch with us on 0121 569 4904 to find out how you can become a volunteer and help us to continue to provide activities for our community.

Since FoCL was formed in 2018 members have been able to assist with the funding of activities in the Children’s Section, as well as events featuring local personalities and performers, including well known bands during the Annual Jazz Festival.

West Bromwich Central Library is undergoing a period of considerable change and improvement, and volunteers are needed to assist in many of its activities. FoCL is engaged in developing the Library Cafe in order to offer a daily mid-day facility to act as a meeting place for individuals and groups, to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, to meet new friends, as well as using the Library facilities. Daily newspapers and magazines are always available, and it is hoped that lunchtime programmes of music will be introduced, though there are still dedicated “quiet” areas for study and contemplation.

The Cafe will be run entirely by volunteers, and there are many other opportunities to become involved in the work of one of the most prestigious buildings in Sandwell, helping a dedicated team of staff to develop services for the future.

If you are interested in helping in the Cafe for just 4 hours a week, or any other of the many opportunities in West Bromwich Central Library contact 0121 569 4904 or simply visit the Library and talk to a member of staff or one of the volunteers.


The Marsh Charitable Trust – Running Costs for Small Charities

The Marsh Christian Trust was founded in 1981 with the sum of £75,000 by its current Chairman, Mr Brian Marsh OBE.  His aim was to create a sustainable way to give something back to society by supporting organisations and people who are making a difference.

The Trust supports around 300 charities every year and focuses on providing funding which could help small organisations pay for various running costs, such as volunteer expenses, training days, equipment maintenance and other core outgoings. The Trust aims to build long-standing relationships with successful applicants and, subject to an annual review, continue its support over time.

Applicants must be a registered charity with the Charity Commission for England and Wales or the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. This does not include Community Interest Companies (CICs). Charities will be working in the areas of:

  • Arts and heritage
  • Social welfare
  • Environmental causes and animal welfare
  • Education and training
  • Healthcare

Charities must have been established for more than one financial year and able to provide a full set of their most recent Annual Report and Accounts, or the equivalent financial information if their annual income is under £25,000.

Grants are unrestricted and range from £300 to £2,000 with new applications at the lower end of this scale.

Applications are considered on the basis of the organisation’s financial position, performance against charitable aims and objectives and the ratio of voluntary income against fundraising expenses.
Applications can be submitted at any time.

For more information click here.


£100 Million National Lottery Climate Action Fund Launched (UK)

The National Lottery Community Fund has launched a new £100 million Climate Action Fund that will enable people and communities to take the lead in tackling the climate emergency.

The new fund will build a network of people and communities, well-placed to drive change within, between and beyond their community.

Whilst the types of activities will differ from place to place it is expected that all funded projects will have one thing in common: the ability to deliver high impact community-led climate action. This includes in areas such as sustainable energy, sustainable transport, consumption, food and protecting and regenerating spaces and habitats.

The National Lottery Community Fund is also exploring ways to support the wider sector and its grantees to help them mitigate their impact on the climate, for example via its Climate Action Top-up scheme – which will soon be piloted in Wales.

For more information about this fund click here.


Meaningful Engagement: Developing Strong Content

In parts 1 and 2 of this series we explored why you need a social engagement strategy, and how to look at your historical data to understand what your audience is responding to. This part will delve a bit deeper into thinking about content development for your social channels as well as what should be included in your strategy.

It’s easy to fall into the habit of creating social posts that all feel quite samey. It’s safe, you know what you’re doing – and you’re keeping on top of everyone’s requests (or perhaps demands!) on how the channels should be used. But a broader range of content will be more engaging for your audience. Plus, posts that look different from one another will stand out in their feed, especially if people have grown used to your posts all looking very similar to each other.

Content creation

If the idea of coming up with more varied content sounds daunting – don’t despair. This isn’t about creating lots of brand new images and graphics for use on social. Your strategy will only succeed if it’s simple enough to keep up. You want your social channels to work in harmony with other online content, and a good chunk of your social posts can be based on sharing key website pages, links to YouTube videos, sharing blog posts – or even news stories you might have been featured in. What’s key is how you frame snippets from those stories, so that the post is interesting enough in its own right, as well as likely to draw people to want to follow the link and see more.

This post from Plan International UK stood out to me because it told a story that we don’t hear so often from international development charities. It brings to life what phrases like “poverty alleviation” mean in practice.

To read the full CharityComms article click here.

Source: CharityComms


Meaningful Engagement: Finding What Works

Hopefully you’ve read the first post in this series and are ready to start thinking about how to pull your social engagement strategy together. Here’s the method that I have drawn up based on my experience. You might choose to use it wholesale, or adapt certain elements. Remember with this sort of thing that ‘done’ is generally more important than ‘perfect’!

This post will focus on data – what you need to look into and pull together in order to start writing a document up. You can broadly use this approach for any of your social channels, though I am focusing here more on Twitter and Facebook, as they are widely used and have fantastic built-in analytics.

Let’s get analytical

Firstly you need to answer the question: what are our audiences responding to? You will need to do this separately for each channel – the nuts and bolts might be slightly different but the process will be the same.
1.Choose a timeframe. I would recommend six months as a solid starting point. Shorter periods might be less useful, particularly if you have had a specific campaign running that might have skewed your content output over that time.
2.Export the post data. I do this within the platform, as sometimes third party platforms cause variations in the data that I don’t quite understand. That said – if you prefer to use a third party platform, that’s fine too – just so long as you continue to use it when reviewing ongoing performance, so you are comparing like-for-like. Note that you might also need to do multiple exports, as some platforms have a limit (eg three months) for the date range you can export.
3.Determine what to measure. I tend to look at visibility and engagement.

Twitter: Exporting the data from Twitter gives you “impressions” and “engagement rate”. Reach is generally a more useful measure for engagement, as it tells you how many people have seen your content in their feed; impressions can be misleading because you can’t break down how often the same people have seen your content. That said, for the purposes of this work, impressions is fine so long as you continue to use the same measure when evaluating ongoing results.

To read the full CharityComms article click here.

Source: CharityComms


Meaningful Engagement: Do You Need a Social Strategy?

If CharityComms had a pound for every time a potential client included in their initial contact the sentence: “We want to grow our fundraising from social channels” They’d be rich.

Digital is – rightly – a cornerstone of many charities’ strategies now, and over the last few years growth in digital income has been a key tool in staving off the flat-lining or decline of previously solid channels. And, of course, organic social offers the opportunity to raise awareness, create PR opportunities and engage directly with followers – and you can “make it go viral”…!

The thing is, though, it’s not quite that straightforward. Many charities see little by way of discernible results, but feel they should be on social channels because everyone else is / their audience is / there’s a line in the broader organisational strategies about growing social. Your followers – even for those of you blessed with a comparatively large audience – aren’t sitting there, waiting for you to post something. In fact, many of them might not even be seeing your posts at all, depending on what’s going on with the algorithms / your engagement / other things happening on social this week.

So helping someone drive value from social starts with helping them build their social community online. I want to run you through a basic guide to how you can do this for yourself.

Why should we have a social engagement strategy?
•To give focus to what you share on your social channels – and how you share it
•To build in a test and learn approach to your content delivery
•To build an audience who will help you achieve your organisational goals

Making an impact on social media

Often, charities use social channels to broadcast. Sharing “our” news. Updating you on “our” latest achievement. Telling you what “we” are doing. It’s not all that, well, social. So, typically, engagement with posts is pretty low, audience growth is slow and many of your posts are essentially you screaming into the void.

The good news is you can take huge strides to improve this situation. Creating a social engagement strategy will require a little investment of time, but you can keep this fairly streamlined. And it doesn’t need to be aligned with a digital strategy (if your charity even has one) or a broader comms strategy – indeed, for my money it should absolutely be kept separate to some degree, because it needs to be a living, breathing strategy with room for flex and change.

To read the full CharityComms article click here.

Source: CharityComms


Help Creative Black Country Find Our Funny Roots

Did you ever see Black Country comedy legends Tommy Mundon, Aynuk and Ayli or Dolly Allen on the famous Black Country Night Out?

Did you get the giggles watching Lenny Henry or Frank Skinner?

As part of Creative Black Country’s National Lottery Heritage Funded project ‘Finding Our Funny Roots’, they’re looking for people to share their stories and memorabilia of seeing comedians in an effort to find out just what is so unique about Black Country humour.

With your help they’ll unearth stories of comedians and comedy from 1950 to 2000 and produce a new set of performances.

They’re open to ideas; from collections of old ticket stubs; to photos from events or people at comedy clubs; people’s favourite jokes from the comedians; or stories of meeting them. All of the stories will go towards a new piece of work written, produced and performed by Dave Pitt, Steve Pottinger and Emma Purshouse – Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists.

This month we’re holding drop-in sessions in libraries across the Black Country:

  • Tuesday 20 August, 1.30pm–3.30pm at Dudley Library, DY1 1HR
  • Wednesday 21 August, 2pm–4pm at Wolverhampton Central Library, WV1 3AX
  • Thursday 22 August, 10.30am–12.30pm at Central Library West Bromwich, B70 8DZ
  • Friday 23 August, 12.30pm–2.30pm at Lichfield Street Hub, Walsall, WS1 1TR

For more information either call Creative Black Country on 0121 525 1127 or visit their website at https://www.creativeblackcountry.co.uk/blog/2019/8/10/come-and-share-your-stories-of-comedy-in-the-black-country-with-us

 


The Woodward Charitable Trust

Charities, social enterprises and community interest companies have until the 31st December 2019 to apply to the Woodward Charitable Trust to have their project considered at the next Trustees meeting.

Grants from £100 upwards are awarded for projects covering:

  • Children and young people who are isolated, at risk of exclusion or involved in anti-social behaviour
  • Prisoners and ex-offenders. Projects that help the rehabilitation and resettlement of prisoners and/or ex-offenders are supported as well as requests to help prisoners’ families
  • Disadvantaged women, covering refuges, domestic violence and parenting.
  • Disability projects, which can include rehabilitation and training for people who are either physically disabled or learning disabled.
  • Arts outreach work by local groups involving disadvantaged people.
  • Projects that promote integration and community cohesion amongst minority groups, including refugees and travellers.

Preference is given to small to medium-sized charities with an income of less than £300,000 where small grants can have more impact. Priority is given to projects that make good use of volunteers, encourage past and current users to participate and ensure that funds awarded are being well used.

For more information and the application form click here.


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