News & Blog
How to Cover Core Costs
The issue of how to cover your core costs is a thorny one that has challenged many organisations in recent years. It is hard enough to raise project costs, let alone core costs, so what are the ways in which fundraising charities can tackle this successfully?
Firstly, we need to define core costs. These are essentially all those central costs that are not directly applicable to delivering work, such as management and admin salaries, general office costs, accountancy and audit, fundraising and governance / compliance costs. The challenge is that they are not seen as sexy and may even be seen as wasteful by some potential donors. So what can we do about it?
Creating an Effective Fundraising Strategy
"Fail to plan = plan to fail". This applies especially to fundraising, where the sustainability of an organisation depends not on short term actions, but on a planned and sustained effort to maximise funding opportunities over time. This is all the more true in today's competitive environment and economic conditions. While there will always be pressure on organisations to fundraise today, it is essential also to maintain activities that raise funds in the medium and longer term.
Funding feasibility studies – when do you need one?
Before launching a major appeal, it is common practice to reduce risk by firstly determining if a successful appeal is actually possible or not. The standard approach is to conduct a funding feasibility study to answer some key questions before a final decision is made to launch an appeal and certainly before any public fundraising is undertaken. If the Trustees subsequently decide to run the appeal, the charity is then able to do so on a firm footing, aware of the key issues it faces before going public. The aim is to avoid the possibility of a failed appeal, with the resulting embarrassment and the practical problem of having to offer money back to donors.
20 miles for 20 years
Here at Wootton George Consulting we are looking back on our first 20 years. In that time, we have worked with several hundred charities and good causes and, we hope, have made a difference to the lives of thousands. Part of our celebrations will be a fundraising effort to support the work of "Climate Stewards" who have been our chosen partner charity for six years now. They carry out fantastic work in educating people about climate change and providing ways for communities in developing countries to access resources, while reducing their carbon footprint. Our director Simon George will be swimming 20 miles this year to raise support for this charity.
Fundraising Contracts – what to include?
Charities taking on freelance fundraisers or using fundraising consultants are required by law to have a written contract in place. This need not be lengthy but does need to cover some basics and now must also take into account the needs of vulnerable donors. So what should you include?
As a basic minimum, the contract should set out the scope and terms of the assignment, including the nature of the work and the way it will be charged. It must include the names and addresses of the parties and set out how long it is valid for and the circumstances in which the parties can terminate it and how.
How to Find the Right Consultant for Your Charity
Finding the right consultant, especially for the first time, can be a challenging task. There are, after all, many companies and individuals out there selling advice and consultancy services. Most specialise in specific types of work, or in types of charity or causal areas. So how to find the right one to meet your needs?
Making the Most of Your Next Anniversary
Charities have long used anniversaries as an excuse for celebrations and publicity and why not? It can be a good excuse to make a splash and raise some money on the back of it. However, to make the most of it, you need to do more than just announce that you have existed for 10 years, 50 years or whatever. Otherwise people may think “so what?” So how to maximise the impact? Here are some tips:
Celebrating 20 Years in Fundraising Consultancy
In 2018 we celebrate 20 years in fundraising consultancy, Wootton George Consulting having been founded in March 1998 by Gill Wootton and Simon George.
Both experienced fundraisers, Gill and Simon had started their fundraising careers raising funds for a range of charities in the 1980's and 1990's. Having met via the Institute of Fundraising, they set up the company to help those charities that needed external advice and support to grow their income. Very quickly, they found that they did not have enough hours in the day, or all the experience demanded by clients, so gradually took on additional consultants to meet demand.
Disputed Legacies and Compliance
With all the fundraising regulatory changes this year and the increased focus on compliance, charities are rightly thinking about the legal use of data, including how long they should keep donor’s details on file, especially in relation to “lapsed” donors.
The Information Commissioner suggests that you need a good reason to hold on to old data and that charities should review what they keep and for how long, to ensure it is not “excessive”.
Latest Legacy Stats – are you getting your share?
The latest figures on UK legacy income from Legacy Foresight show an encouraging picture, with a total income in 2015 of £2.56 billion, representing 13% of all voluntary income to charities. Average residuary legacies (shares of estates) are running at £42,500, with average cash sums now at £3,000.
Gill Wootton MInstF, 1948-2016
We are sorry to announce the death of one of our founders and former directors, Gill Wootton.
Brexit – Dealing with the Fallout
So it's goodbye to Brussels, but what are the implications for fundraising now? Impacts on charities will vary, depending on how they raise their money. However, if the Remain campaign's predictions are accurate, they will be dramatic and far reaching.
Are your accounts letting you down?
In recent weeks, we have seen several clients struggling to raise funds from grant makers because of issues in their accounts. These have included high reserves, high operating costs and deficits. These can be killer issues for many funders, who will scrutinise your accounts to make sure you are soundly run and are offering best value. If they spot issues they do not like, they will often reject your appeal out of hand, without asking for an explanation.
Hospice Online Legacy Fundraising - Could do Better
A recent review of the legacy pages of 25 hospices has not been an
inspiring experience. Hospices do well for legacies (as you might
expect) but visiting many of their websites makes you wonder if they
deserve to, given the uninspiring and frankly dull content to be found
on many of their sites.
Will the budget impact on legacy income?
In his budget statement, the Chancellor announced an increase in the level of inheritance tax allowance of £175,000 per person, to add to the current £325,000 allowance, both of which can be transferred to the surviving spouse.
Innovative Legacy Promotion
It is well known that many charities receive a large proportion of legacies from people they have no relationship with (often 50%). What drives this and how to reach these people are always key issues when developing a legacy strategy. It is after all easy to reach those on the database, but how do you take the legacy message out cost-effectively from the warm circle of supporters to the wider public?
The astonishing story of the Alan Barnes Fund has made the headlines this week, with over £329,000 raised online in just a few days. So what lessons can this teach us for fundraising in our organisations?
Legacies and Cultural Normalisation
In the British Library I recently saw the original will of Aethelstan the Atheling, son of Aethelred the Unready, who died in 1014. It is the oldest will I have seen and in remarkably good condition. Well worth a visit if you have a few minutes to spare in London.
National Lottery Inflexibility
The National Lottery has been a life-line for many charities in the last two decades and has contributed to many excellent projects around the country. However, its inflexibility still causes frustrations for some applicants.
Disability Fundraising Survey
All charities are equal, but some are more equal than others, right? In fundraising, this is certainly the case and we all know that some causes find it harder to raise funds than others, for a variety of reasons.
What’s in a name?
This week I learned an old lesson again about the difference a named contact can make. I was working on a feasibility study for a major appeal and had interviewed a range of people, including one very well known and wealthy lady.
National Lottery – Funds for (almost) Everyone
Heritage Funding for All
At a talk by the Heritage Lottery Fund recently, I was struck by how wide their funding portfolio is and by the range of charities that have succeeded in securing project funding.
Is your agency really listening?
This week I visited an old client of ours that has just had a poor experience of using consultants.
How can charity Trustees enable fundraising effectiveness?
A common complaint I hear from fundraisers is the lack of support from their Boards for fundraising, often combined with an assertion that Trustees do not understand what fundraising involves and do not even donate to their own charities. British Fundraisers will point to the US, where Trustees are expected to give (often generously) as a prerequisite for their involvement, as well as networking effectively on behalf of the charity to secure further gifts.
How to Thrive as a Sole Fundraiser
This week I visited a national charity we work for that only employs one fundraiser. She has her work cut out, juggling a wide range of activities and making her time and budget stretch very thinly. She has my sympathy and it got me thinking again about the challenges and success strategies for fundraisers in this position.