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How to achieve results when fundraising with limited resources

Ideas for raising funds when resources are stretched

· Charities,Marketing

If you’ve ever felt totally overwhelmed by the task of fundraising, then my seminar at the Childhood Cancer Parent’s Alliance national conference last week would have struck a cord.

When resources such as time, staff or volunteers, skills and even basics such as office desks or collection boxes are stretched it difficult to remain focussed and motivated. Here are 3 key ideas from the session to help you get your fundraising kick-started.


In a small survey I recently undertook only 20% of respondents indicated that ‘The charity has a clear plan or strategy for fundraising’. I was astounded that 80% of the fundraisers that completed the questionnaire had no plan or budget!

Planning budgets for the year, as well as individual events, is vital. It will ensure that your charity’s fundraisers are effective and focused in their fundraising.

When you make a plan of your events and charity’s activities you will help avoid colleagues or volunteers becoming completely overwhelmed.

  • Be clear on objectives – what is each activity hoping to achieve?
  • Share the load / skills – recruitment of volunteers or learning new skills to make your fundraising more effective
  • Think long term – plan 12 months ahead to prevent constant ‘firefighting’. Include al the resources you will need in the plan including budget, people, skills and equipment

Multiple income streams

Not only will you have more opportunities to raise money when you develop a number of different income generation streams but also it will keep your fundraising creative and fresh. Here are just three areas you could explore:

Community - get other people fundraising for you. Invest time into building relationships with all your stakeholders to help you build a community of people who help you fundraise. Once you have a network of supporters you can get them involved in planning larger fundraising events such as balls, challenge events or summer fairs.

  • Know where to find you target audiences & ask key influencers to help your fundraise or find donors
  • Communicate with people in the way they want & consistently
  • Build team through informal events

Trusts & Grants – has the potential of excellent return on investment. However it takes time to research fund givers and skills to craft a successful bid. You can find a number of free search packages, such as Funding Central, to help you. Consider investing in a short course such as 'Bid Writing Workshop' by CML Consultants

  • Be consistent in setting aside time to scope out new sources of foundation funding & apply
  • Work on building relationships with foundation funders
  • Skills share and recruit volunteers to help research

Digital campaigns –this type of giving has revolutionised giving. For fundraisers with limited time or admin resources this an excellent way to increase income with less and at a low cost. Make sure that you are making it easy to give across all your digital channels, including website, social media pages or ENewsletters and don't forget to include the 'ask'.

  • Give visuals higher priory than content – use images to inspire people to give
  • Set default amounts – i.e. £5 £10 £15
  • Include giving impact statements – for £5 you can help x

Giving staff and volunteers key skills

When charities invest in staff and volunteers they can ensure that motivation levels stay high and that fundraising becomes more focussed and effective.

Every opportunity should be taken to develop skills as training enables and accelerates innovation. However, training doesn’t need to be expensive. Local voluntary sector groups often offer low cost options, bringing together charities for training and very useful networking.

Local businesses may also offer to training staff on a pro bono basis. Could a local marketing agency helping give staff communication or social media training perhaps? Or as part of their CSR could businesses could give their time to work alongside staff to build confidence and abilities in admin or accounting?

The two key resources a fundraiser needs are resilience and creativity!

There will be events or campaigns that work one year and not the next – the key is learn from what went wrong and to build on those lessons. Evaluate what works and ditch what doesn’t!

Creativity will have you begging, borrowing or simply covering donated prizes, resources or equipment in glitter to keep the costs down of running an event! Try and be creative in growing your giving too. Can you convert one-off donors into regular givers, for instance?

If you’d like to learn more about how Danells and Bewley can help your income generation strategy reach its full potential, then give us a call on 077 177 57 381.

Make your pop-up shop a success on limited resources with our free guide on pop-up shops for charities and small businesses.

The Ultimate Guide to Pop-up Shops for charities and small businesses