Fundraisers have rarely faced so big a challenge. In the current, difficult economic climate, many fundraisers and charities are struggling to find the cash that they need – and every pound is fiercely fought over. Yet despite the country’s financial difficulties, there is still a genuine desire among Brits to give to good causes.
Whether you are fundraising for the first time, or thinking of ways to expand your activities, RaisingFunding is here to help. From the very first steps through to setting up your own charity, via new media and third-party fundraising, we aim to offer comprehensive advice and practical tips.
1. How can I kick-start my fundraising?
Often, just getting started can be the most difficult step. You know you have a great cause, but you just need the first spark to get you going.
Street collections can be a hugely useful tool for raising money. They are also potentially a great way in which you can raise awareness of your cause.
We have compiled a list of tips to help you get the most out of your street collections. But it is important to understand that street collections are not a suitable tactic for everyone. So, we have put together a questionnaire to help to decide whether or not they are for you.
The use of third parties has become increasingly prevalent in the fundraising sector. You need only look at your local High Street to see the number of so-called ‘chuggers’ out and about.
Third-party fundraisers can help you to increase donations and raise awareness of your organisation. But it is important to understand that their use can also have drawbacks – not least in terms of cost. Before entering into any arrangement with third-party fundraisers you should make sure that you understand the terms, and that you are happy the cost is reasonable.
4. Are there any laws I need to know about?
Definitely! There is a range of laws and regulations by which you and your fundraising activities might be affected. It is vital that you understand these, and that your activities comply with them.
You need to be aware of a range of issues including health and safety and data protection. In addition, you need to be familiar with the role of the Charity Commission, and understand whether your activities fall within its remit. Depending on your activities, you might also need to study rules regarding direct mail and other marketing techniques.
5. Does Gift Aid affect me?
Gift Aid is one of the most important tools available to charitable organisations and fundraisers. It can help to significantly boost the value of donations you receive – and, ultimately, increase the amount of money received by your cause.
If you are to maximise your fundraising success, you need to develop efficient methods of monitoring your performance. This might sound technical, but it can actually be very simple. You can use a range of techniques, including developing a set of ‘key performance indicators’ – that is, important numbers that provide you with an at-a-glance sense of how your fundraising is going.
You should also remember that the success of charitable activities should not necessarily be judged simply by the amount of money raised. We have compiled a list of tips to help you judge that success, including ways to look at factors such as awareness and interaction.
8. What about legacies?
Legacies and bequests are crucial fundraising tools for many charitable organisations. They can be highly cost-effective and, indeed, many charities rely on them for the bulk of their funding. At RaisingFunding we recognise the importance of legacies and bequests, and have put together a guide to help you encourage these sorts of donation.
9. Can technology help my fundraising?
It certainly can. The role of technology in fundraising is becoming ever more important. It provides fundraisers with a range of low-cost (or even no-cost) tools that can help you secure more cash.
A properly maintained database can help you keep in touch with existing and potential donors, and ensure that they remain loyal, while tools like Facebook and Twitter can help you expand your audience and grow your donor numbers. All of these can be secured with little or no investment.
You may also have come across third-party fundraising sites like JustGiving. These can be hugely useful for some fundraisers – but you should also be aware of their costs and limitations. We have compiled a guide to help you understand whether they are right for you.
10. How do I set up a charity?
As your charitable activities grow and expand, you might begin to consider developing a more defined legal structure. Setting up a charity has some very significant benefits. You will, for example, enjoy a range of tax breaks, and you will be able to take advantage of Gift Aid.
But there are also several important potential drawbacks. The first of these is the increased paperwork burden with which you will have to deal. In addition, you may find your activities limited as you will be forced to abide by your governing document.
RaisingFunding has put together a guide for those considering setting up a charity – as well as a simple manual to help you decide which of the three charity types is right for you.
11. Can I get a job in fundraising?
If you have got the taste for fundraising and you want to use your talents to help other charitable organisations, you might consider embarking on a career in the charitable sector.
Finally, remember that the charitable sector tends to be characterised by cooperation. If you are confused or feeling daunted, think about approaching other fundraisers or organisations doing similar work. The chances are they will be happy to help. Good luck!