Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

I didn’t know you did that @howardlake

I didn’t know you did that @howardlake

I passed this print shop window sign in London recently, just after I’d finished running a course on how to build your personal brand in the charity sector. It made me think: is my personal brand still clear? Do existing and potential clients know what I do, and the different ways in which I might help them?

Having worked in fundraising for 30+ years, from pre-digital days (yes, I can remember sending my first email on an Oxfam Volkswriter Deluxe) to today when ‘digital’ is a superfluous term, my services have changed and developed considerably.

My main focus remains on publishing UK Fundraising, this site, but there are quite a range of services I also provide, and which I get asked to provide. Some of these have the same title (consulting and , for instance) but their nature is altered. Others are entirely new areas for me.


14 ways I might help your organisation

So here, partially for my own sense of rationalising what I now do but also for those of you who might benefit from them, is my current list of services.


1. Social reporting from conferences

If you run a major event or conference, how good are you at pulling together all the content that gets shared before, during or after the event? Wouldn’t all that content, managed well, offer a useful resource to demonstrate what you do? And be useful in promoting future events? And is there content that you didn’t manage to capture yourself because you were too busy running the event?


Blackbaud's bbcon pumpkin

Coverage of a conference doesn’t just involve pictures of speakers or Powerpoints


That is what I do for organisations like Blackbaud and their bbcon uk event and the Resource Alliance where I’ll be covering the International Fundraising Congress again in October.

It’s a set of skills I’ve honed over 20+ years, reporting on fundraising conferences for UK Fundraising. Back in 1997 I reported ‘live’ via email updates to the FundUK email list I ran then from my first International Fundraising Congress in Holland. Now I combine images, video, sound, and content from delegates and event organisers, and package them to share or amplify via social channels.


Sketch note by Howard Lake of a session at IoF Convention 2018

Sketch notes of a session Personal Brand from IoF Convention 2018, just one content type I use to cover conferences


Having extensive reach myself among fundraisers means that this content reaches some of the intended audience, perhaps more than the event organiser could on its own.

I also provide training in social reporting too so that you or your colleagues can make the most of your own conferences and events (see below).

Ask me about social reporting from your event or about training in this skill.


2. Chairing events

I get asked to chair discussion panels at events from time to time, and enjoy combining learning from other practitioners and helping them share their experience and knowledge with an audience keen to learn from them.



I’m signed up to the pledge not to take part in all-male panels, so shall decline invitations to do so. To go further, I can always encourage conference organisers to choose someone else to chair or take part in a panel, and would direct you to the valuable ‘Great charity speakers‘ resource.

Ask me about chairing an event.


3. Helping companies with their charity clients

As well as working with charities and social enterprises I sometimes get asked to train or advise a company’s charity clients.

These courses have included for example:

• an introduction to fundraising and the role of fundraisers. One tech company wanted to ensure their new staff had an up-to-date overview of what fundraising involved, who becomes a fundraiser, and current issues affecting the sector.

I usually invite guest speakers to these to illustrate a diversity of experiences.


BRC - Romanian bank logo

BCR – Romanian bank with charity clients

• the current state of using digital tools for fundraising. A Romanian bank, for example, sponsored a day of this to help all its charity clients grasp some of the opportunities available to them.

• I also helped a funder by training its charity grant recipients in how to expand their fundraising from the public, and how to demonstrate impact.

Ask me about helping your charity clients.


4. Helping companies with their digital presence

Fundraising companies ask for advice on how their website and social media presence and use can be improved. What are they doing wrong? What could they do better?

I help by looking at their strategy and what they currently do with digital channels and messages. I help map out the fundraising sector, or the particular niches they hope to target, and suggest ways in which they might craft their message and content and deliver it to their intended audience.

Sometimes this work is across all their digital channels. Sometimes it is just advice on how they can make more of their social media channels.

On other occasions it is helping senior staff or trustees develop an online personal presence or make more of their social media account(s). Indeed, I’ve been asked to run a course like this for a few senior fundraising consultants, but haven’t got round to doing so yet.

Ask me about help with your company’s digital presence.


5. Helping companies, especially startups, enter the charity sector effectively

If your company has a product or service to benefit the charity sector, and that is fundraising-related in particular, I should be able to assist you to reach your audience.

Sometimes it is simply through editorial on UK Fundraising, but other clients have benefited from advice on where to get noticed, awareness of competitors, how charities make decisions, the scale of the market they are focusing on, and other issues. 

Ask me about help for startups.


6. Fundraising Camp


Fundraising Camp

I introduced Fundraising Camp in 2013, intending it to be a more useful and engaging alternative to traditional fundraising conferences. Based on the unconference model, we get 40-60 fundraisers together for the day and ensure that they learn and share their experiences with each other on the topics, challenges and questions that matter to them most.

We’ve run over 25 of these events, in particular in towns that don’t get their fair share of fundraising conferences and workshops, like Peterborough, Chichester, Llandudno, Chatham, York, Stirling and Canterbury.

We run these publicly, but always look for a donated venue from a partner. Equally, we can run them in-house for your organisation or, even better, a group of related organisations. Our Fundraising Camp for hospice fundraisers, for example, went down well. So too did our Fundraising Camp for the Institute of Fundraising Yorkshire and North East groups in 2018.
We also offer this as an event that can be part of another conference. We’ve run a version of Fundraising Camp twice at the International Fundraising Conference in Holland, in the first year of which it was rated the most popular session.

Ask me about Fundraising Camp.


7. Guest hosting your online community

Some of you run online communities for fundraisers, whether staff, volunteers or supporters who get involved with fundraising.

Sometimes it can be useful to freshen up your content or introduce another angle. I’ve contributed to fundraising forums since 1992, and run my own since 1996 – remember FundUK anyone? It was the first listserv for all UK Fundraisers – beaten to it only by admin-develop, which was established for higher education development staff.

FundUK morphed from an email-only listserv through various formats, before moving to a web-based group on this site, and thereafter moving to a LinkedIn group.


Photo of Howard Lake and details of Fundraising Month on Aviva Community Forum

I guest moderated the Aviva Community Group for a month in 2019.

This year Aviva asked me to serve as a guest contributor to its Aviva Community Group on Facebook, to share fundraising advice, ideas and inspiration, to encourage questions and to interact with the members. This ran throughout March.

Ask me about guesting on your online forum.



I run a range of training courses, and have been training charity staff and charity sector agency staff in aspects of digital fundraising since 1996. I do this in various formats.


8. My current courses

I run my own public courses, which are also available in-house. You can find these on Eventbrite. Having run dozens of different topics over the years (Fundraising using Twitter, How to curate your charity’s content online, How to run a charity email newsletter, How to use Mailchimp as a charity, How to get started with WordPress for your charity’s website, How to fundraise online on a shoestring, and more) I currently tend to focus on offering:

How to make the most of digital fundraising (one day)

Graphic Traffic: how to create and use fundraising images and video on social media (half-day)

How to build your personal brand in the charity sector (half-day)

I also run these as in-house courses. They work well as for a staff team-building day, and several charities have booked them for that purpose.

Ask me about running an in-house course.


9. Online courses


RSS (really simply syndication) icon

I’m also working on offering my training courses online. Currently there is just one, on How to make the most of RSS feeds in your digital marketing. But I’m working on adding several more.


10. Training for other training providers

I also provide or have provided training on elements of digital fundraising for other organisations over many years e.g.

11. Other courses by other trainers

For the past 12 or so years I have been offering training by other trainers. I tend to spot a topic that deserves a wider audience amongst fundraisers and an expert trainer and then offer that.

Current events, many of them kindly hosted in London by Blackbaud/JustGiving, include:

Bereavement training for fundraisers: how to engage with bereaved donors

An introduction to Gift Aid (plus lots of specific courses on elements of Gift Aid e.g. retail Gift Aid, how to prepare for a HMRC Gift Aid audit, and Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme)

How to fundraise using Facebook’s advertising and fundraising tools

Available course dates are also published on Eventbrite.

Most of these are available in-house too.

Ask me about an in-house course from one of these expert trainers for your team and colleagues.

12. with partners

As well as my own consultancy services, I also work with larger teams including Charity Consultants Ltd, Wootton George Consulting and Win That Pitch.


13. Speaking at events

Howard Lake inspiration

Howard Lake’s source of fundraising inspiration – at International Fundraising Congress, Holland

I have been speaking at events about digital fundraising since 1995, in the UK and further afield. There aren’t many people who have a 30 year perspective and understanding of how digital has been harnessed by the charity and social good sector.
Ask me about speaking at your conference or event.


14. Last-minute services

Working for myself I have more flexibility, with the result that I have been asked to stand in at very short notice to run a training course, present at a conference and provide some other type of emergency support. 

I’ve helped run a SEO for charities course, presented keynote speeches, run some training for companies on content development, and helped out organisations facing public reputation challenges.

Ask me about urgent support.



I suspect there are other ways in which I might be able to help your organisation. I do relish doing something new and challenging, doubly so if it involves working in new ways and with talented people. If any of the above strikes a chord and makes you think that I might be a source of help, do ask!


Am I any good at this though?

Fortunately plenty of people and organisations have responded publicly with praise for how I’ve helped them so don’t just accept what I say: see what others say about me and my services.


Some responses to this post






Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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