Fundraising tops the list of enquiries to SCVO’s information service. That’s why we’re introducing our new six step toolkit.
I know fundraising can be hard. Talking about money can be difficult. But ultimately fundraising isn’t about selling; it’s about building relationships. Those relationships start at home, in your own organisation.
Fundraising is a team effort, so build that team and make sure your trustees are part of it. They should play an active role in fundraising for their organisation.
Yes, I know they already give their time, energy and expertise – but if they don’t contribute, why should anyone else?
Your board should have at least one trustee with some responsibility for fundraising
Of course, there are different ways of contributing, and all are important. Crucially, trustees need to know that they’re responsible for overseeing any fundraising activities your organisation engages in.
As a trustee, it’s up to you to make sure your fundraising is legal, honest and acceptable. Don’t wait until a problem arises – we’ve had enough ‘scandals’ of late. You should be closely monitoring your organisation’s fundraising techniques, and looking at how fundraising spending is proportionate to income raised.
As a trustee you should be getting full fundraising accounts, with a narrative explanation. Your fundraisers should have regular contact with trustees, whose role it is to support and encourage them.
As well as having legal responsibility to oversee fundraising, should trustees be playing a more ‘hands on’ role in fundraising? Should they be out there shaking cans, contributing to business development plans, or even donating direct to their organisation?
The latter is common on American boards, where there’s an expectation to lead by example. Culturally it’s different here, but that shouldn’t mean that a trustee does not get involved in identifying sources of income and raising funds.
Your board should have at least one trustee with some responsibility for fundraising. If you haven’t got someone, then think about recruiting someone with the right mix of skills.
Of course, how much direct fundraising your trustees can do will vary across organisations, depending on their size and structure. Some will make funding applications, and run events and activities if the organisation is small.
But even in larger organisations trustees have a role to play. They may not want to ask people directly to give, but they can provide contacts and introductions.
They can share their enthusiasm about the work you do and why your organisation is important across their networks. And they can help you to get ready and get to know your people.