News & Blog
Making the Most of Project Evaluations
Every charity believes its work is important and is making an impact, but how do you know and how can you prove it? One way is to conduct an evaluation of your project, in order to build evidence about the value of your work and the way it is changing lives for the better.
Big Lottery Update
The BIG Lottery Fund's announcement of a change of name for next year to the National Lottery Community Fund is only the most obvious and recent change to this important funder. Much else has also changed in recent months that applicants need to be aware of, as our Lottery specialist Claire Greenhalgh explains.
Time for a Fundraising Review?
How effective is your fundraising and are you making the most of your opportunities? Are there gaps which you are not yet covering, or are there current activities where you know you could do better? It is worth standing back every few years and taking a good look at your fundraising operation, to see if you are still optimising your income.
Building a Powerful Case for Support
In today's competitive fundraising environment, what sets you apart from other charities? Is it your long track record, your effective work, your low cost base or some other factor?
One way to convey your appeal to donors and funders is by developing a really strong case for support. This is the core document that sums up why your organisation deserves to be funded. But where should you start with this?
How to Develop a Strategy for Legacies
With legacies such an important income stream for many charities, it is amazing how many organisations underperform in this area or make little effort to attract support. Yet designing and implementing an effective legacy strategy need not be difficult and will repay it self many times over in the future. So where do you start?
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.
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.
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.
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.