Enfield Voluntary Action is known as EVA

EVA provides services to local voluntary and community organisations in Enfield

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20 Fundraising Tips

Remember : you are trying to solve a problem to meet the needs of your service users.

Set yourself the target to get one new supporter today!

Your confidence will grow as you become more experienced.

If you are raising funds from people's donations don't forget that you can claim Gift Aid if you are registered as a Charity or Community Amateur Sports Club for tax purposes.

1. Develop some great ideas for grant funding.

Try to come up with a really new approach that is relevant and suitable for your organisation and potential funders.

Think creatively about the need you are trying to meet and how you will present the project.

Try something different that will catch funders’ imagination.

Make the project sound innovative and exciting.

Give your project a catchy title.

2. Speak out! Tell people what you are doing

Give out business cards / leaflets at meetings.

Mention your group’s name and its work when you ask a question.

Challenge yourself and your colleagues to speak to 10 audiences over the next year.

Prepare a short presentation about your group’s work, plans, and the support you need.

3. Media Coverage. Don't be shy!

Do what you can to get publicity for your organisation’s achievements.

Get to know local journalists you can approach when you have a human interest story - they may come to you in the future if there is an issue they need comment on.

Journalists like life-changing human stories!

Send a press release or write a letter to the local paper when you have a success eg. you’ve just received a large grant, an important event is approaching, or there is a news issue relevant to your organisation on which you can comment etc.

4. Use the telephone creatively

The telephone is more personal and immediate than email.

Ring up companies to ask for gifts in kind.

Phone to thank people who have made a generous donation and tell them what you plan to do with the money.

If you meet someone who shows an interest in your work, phone within a few days to suggest a meeting.

Phone journalists after sending a press release.

5. Involve your service users in your fundraising

Invite one or more service users to meetings you attend - this will help illustrate the value of your work (it may also encourage some service users to become more involved in your group’s work).

Use photos and videos (with permission) in your publicity.

Prepare case studies to accompany your fundraising appeals.

6. Be a good neighbour

People living in the area where your service operates may be interested in what you do. Find a way to tell them!

They may decide to support your work with a donation.

Go house-to-house, provide a leaflet, ask if they want to be kept in touch.

Hold an open day or evening with refreshments.

Put up posters or leave your newsletter - in local shops, the library, cafes.

If people visit or contact you - keep in touch.

7. Organise a stunt

This could be about the issues you are dealing with or the work you are doing.

Show you are an organisation that gets things done.

Organise a petition.

Hold a march or demonstration (you will need police permission for this - see below);

Dress up in appropriate costume and hand out leaflets etc.

Let the press know what you are doing.

Organising a parade, march, demonstration.

Contact your local police station by phoning 101

6 days is the MINIMUM period of notice, but you should plan further ahead than this.

8. Think about how to get your first 100 donors

Ask friends, family, colleagues.

Get some publicity.

Organise a house-to-house collection or open day, especially if your work has a strong local interest. Contact organisations whose work is complementary and ask to advertise in their newsletter.

Make a list of people you would like to approach, then find out how to contact them. Ask to speak at meetings, colleges, lunches etc.

Try to find a link between your project and potential donors eg. for a literacy project get in touch with book shops, newsagents, book groups etc.

Charity, street, and door-to-door collections require a police licence.


9. Ask the next person you see

The biggest problem in fundraising is that people are embarrassed to ask for money.

Set yourself a target for how many people you are going to ask.

Go out with leaflets and talk to people at meetings or in shops etc. about the work of your organisation, and ask if they would like to support you.

10. Inspire people to fundraise for you

If someone likes the work you do they may want to fundraise for you.

Ask them to organise an event or set up a fundraising group which can organise events.

Be sure that they will do what they promise, are honest, and share your organisation’s values.

If they are ‘wrong’ for your organisation, it could damage your public reputation.

11. Find a Celebrity!

Involving a celebrity is a great way to attract support and get press coverage. Make sure the celebrity is not likely to attract negative coverage!)

Ask around - someone you know may know someone famous.

Write to a suitable celebrity via their agent.

If celebrities are involved in local theatre, sporting events etc. - talk to the organisers.

Ask him/her to, for example, be an honorary member or patron; write a brief introduction to your latest publication; be a guest of honour at an event; launch a new project; participate in a fundraising event; speak to the press about your service.

12. Invite people to come and see what you are doing

If people meet you, see the work you are doing, and meet the people you are providing services to they are more likely to support you.

Show your organisation hard at work - volunteers answering a helpline, sports or arts activities, people using a day centre, advice sessions etc.

Invite potential funders and existing supporters to see the commitment you have to meeting needs; display leaflets and posters in your entrance area; create an information pack for visitors.

13. Make a shopping list

List all the things your organisation needs to deliver excellent services - equipment, professional advice, people’s time, etc. and items you could auction or raffle to raise funds. Ask local shops or businesses - telephone or visit the person who makes the decision. If you cannot get free items try to negotiate discounts. Thank the business in writing, acknowledge the donation in your publicity, and keep in touch to let them know how useful the support has been. This will maintain a good relationship which means you can go back and ask again another time.

14. Break what you are asking for into ‘bite-sized chunks’

People prefer to give when they know their support will achieve something specific. They may not be able to contribute consistently.

Show that any contribution can make a real difference.

Ask for money to plant 1 flowerbed, to keep a day centre open for 1 day, to provide a chair, to pay for a telephone line for one year, etc.; or ask someone to DJ at one fundraising event, to run a stall at a fete, to teach their skill at a workshop, etc.

15. Organise a really FUN fundraising event!

As well as raising money, events provide a fun time for staff, volunteers, trustees, supporters, local people and beneficiaries.

Use the event to enthuse everyone about your organisation. Try to organise at least one special event a year. Events can include dinners, dances, displays, picnics, celebrations, fetes, food tasting, quiz or film nights, concerts, plays, sports competitions, karaoke, talent contests, auctions, sales etc.

16. Organise a sponsored event

This can involve a lot of people who can raise money from family, friends and work colleagues.

Choose an event related to your service such as a healthy eating challenge for a health and social care organisation, or a litter pick for an environmental project. Involve lots of people of all ages and abilities with a book reading challenge, a family walk, or a short fun run. Find someone who wants to run a marathon or do a parachute jump. Hold a team marathon event - invite local companies to take part and compete against each other. The possibilities are endless. Set a target for how much each person could raise, make sure they collect their pledges, and that you collect the money from them.

17. Turn promises into cash

Many things can be auctioned or raffled, and people will bid or buy tickets. An ‘auction of dreams’ is a simple way to raise money. Someone you know may have a holiday home they will offer for a weekend; people might offer to mow the lawn, cook a meal, act as a chauffeur, etc. for the highest bidder. Fitness clubs, restaurants, hairdressers etc. may give vouchers for times when business is slow (remind them this could bring in new custom). A musician may offer a free music lesson.

If you hold an auction, get as many things as you can to auction, find an entertaining and confident person to act as the auctioneer. Make sure bidders know what the money will be used for. If there is a good atmosphere people will bid generously.

18. Double your money!

Decide how much you could reasonably raise from an event. Challenge your organisation to raise twice that much! Once the event is over, hold a debriefing session and try to work out ways of doing it even better, and doubling again the next time! This may seem ambitious but using this principle can significantly increase the funds taken at all your events. For example, if you hold an auction, ask donors to offer a 2nd prize of lesser value, to go to the second bidder; try hard to get a ‘star’ item which will attract much higher bids; organise a bucket collection at your event - ask everyone to give all their loose change.

19. Get online

Develop a website / engage in social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.) For many people this will be their first point of contact with your organisation when they are trying to find out what you do. Your website / Facebook page / Twitter account / blog etc can be an ambassador for your work and explain how you spend donations, as well as encouraging people to donate, take action or support you on the issues you are dealing with. Look at other people’s websites / social media accounts. Make a list of those you really like and try to incorporate the best features of these into your own. Remember to keep your website up-to-date.

20. Online fundraising

Get donations for your organisation from online shopping. Set up a page at www.easyfundraising.org.uk, for example, and ask family, friends, colleagues, service users to shop via your page with online retailers who will provide a donation.

Charity Finance Group have produced a guide to online giving platforms - 'Making the most of digital donations: A practical guide to selecting and using online giving platforms' Download the guide at www.cfg.org.uk/onlinegiving

Just before his retirement in 2007, Michael Norton (an independent fundraiser) put together his top 20 tips for successful fundraising. The list provided here draws on his tips, but have been edited by EVA.

Download 20 Fundraising Tips as a .pdf

Further advice and guidance and practical training courses / workshops

Contact Kishore Kanani, EVA Project Development and Funding Advice Service.

Email k.kanani@enfieldva.org.uk or phone 0208 373 6357