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Trust Fundraising Research: 10 Top Things to Consider

Whether you are battling the current crisis directly on the front lines or have been affected by the pandemic in terms of team, activity or access to beneficiaries, as a charity you will likely need to find ways to attract funding, so here are some things to consider when it comes to trust fundraising research:

  1. Cast a wide net – use multiple sources for information including formal database services (free or subscription), the internet, your colleagues, your own networks, local resources and media, blogs, libraries and social media.
  2. Research is time and money well spent – it shouldn’t just be done ‘when you have time’. You need to schedule time regularly to review known and identify new potential funders. It is just as essential as getting applications out the door.
  3. Who else has been funded – review annual reports and the donor boards (virtual or actual) of other charities and the financial reports of funders (they often list donation values and recipients).
  4. The value of strategic matches – if there isn’t a match between what they want to fund and your organisation and what it needs funded, don’t waste time applying (unless you have been invited to do so).
  5. General funders – if a potential funder prioritises ‘general’ or is only a partial match AND you have a prepared cover letter and proposal or it’s a VERY simple and short application, then it’s probably worth the cost of preparation and the stamp to apply. If you don’t ask you don’t get.
  6. Get in touch – if you can, and they allow, contact the funder in advance to clarify any issues, guidelines or to confirm contact details. It could be the beginning of a relationship! Do not ask them about well-published information.
  7. Clear funding priorities – for what are you looking to find funding? If you find potential funders for another project or service, note and park them until later.
  8. Networking connections – look for them with your colleagues, trustees, causes and potential funders. Our societies work because of networks; tap into and use them.
  9. Refresh and renew – trustees, contact details, and guidelines/priorities change more regularly than you might think. Update your records, keeping data protection in mind.
  10. Keep good records – for yourself, your successor, and your current and future beneficiaries. Remember/imagine what it’s like in a new job and you are missing vital information about the financial and funding history of your funders and services. Record and organise your research as you go in a spreadsheet or CRM system.

Deanna Wolf





Article by Deanna Wolf, Senior Consultant – Trust Fundraising, Money Tree Fundraising


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