I’m a new solo fundraiser for a growing charity and I’m looking for any advice or tips.
For the past year I’ve worked for the charity as kind of like a fundraising assistant. I mainly did research and bid writing for trusts and foundations. Now however I’ve been given the full fundraising reins and a large target of money to raise in a year. In truth getting my head around how I’m going to do this is a bit overwhelming at the moment.
The charity I work for provides a link between businesses with spare surplus goods and charities in need of items. By doing this we stop businesses landfilling good usable items, and help vulnerable people in society by providing them with gifts in kind (for example toys and educational materials to children in under-privileged families, toiletries to homeless people, warm clothing to elderly people etc). Basically bridging the gap between businesses with too much and people with nothing.
The charity is based in Leicester, however I work part time (3 days a week) from home in Leeds. I get the feeling this might make things a bit more difficult. The charity does operate nationally (mainly East Midlands based, but we do help some charities and have businesses registered with us in the north, south and London). Can anyone give me an insight on how much of a difficulty this might be?
To start off I’ve been told I need to develop a fundraising strategy for the next year. I have knowledge of how to write bids to trusts and foundations, but that’s about all. I think I will need to be looking at corporate sponsorship, high net worth donors and anything else that’s out there that I could raise money from. I don’t have any networking experience but I get the feeling networking will be crucial if I want to raise any money. I don’t have any knowledge about how to write a fundraising strategy either…basically a deer in headlights.
My directors are working on getting me some mentoring and advice. But is there anything anyone reading this can advise, or any pointers that might help me get my head around this.
Having spent three years as a sole fundraiser myself some years ago I can testify to the value of attending training courses and meetings of other fundraisers. The Institute of Fundraising has a range of regional volunteer-run groups that put on events. Do find your local one and go along to see if they can help:
In addition, there are some good books on all kinds of fundraising, and courses – from the likes of the Institute, Directory of Social Change (www.dsc.org.uk), and other providers.
Thanks Howard. I’m looking into going on some courses by the FSI. I’ve been on a few before and I’ve found them very helpful. I’ll look into the institute of fundraising as well. I’ve got a base knowledge and awareness of things like corporate fundraising and networking, but I’ve just go no experience in it.
Thanks for the advice
It might be worth speaking to the Small Charities Coalition http://www.smallcharities.org.uk/ They run a mentoring scheme and may have someone in your area who would be willing to mentor you to get you started.
I started as a solo fundraiser many years ago and it really helped me to get out there and meet as many other fundraisers as possible. It’s good to know that you aren’t alone!
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