Jonathan Vowles Chartered Accountants

01234 752 566


Top Tips For Improving Your Charity Fundraising!

The third sector is big business ...

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How many Not-for-Profit or charities understand their importance to the economy? More importantly for charity fundraising, what are you doing to strengthen relationships with donors in innovative ways?

Charity fundraising is becoming more difficult so what are you doing to keep the donations flowing?

Charity fundraising is becoming more difficult so what are you doing to keep the donations flowing?

copyright: flynt / 123rf stock photo

If you run a Not-for-Profit or charity, it is not enough to just tell people what you spent their money on with an annual report or a static website. Your charity needs to remember that they are competing with other equally deserving and worthy causes.

What can you do to come up with innovative fundraising ideas and strengthen the charity/donor relationship? To get you started, would any of these suggestions work for you?

  • While you have to be careful not to hassle potential donors with too many requests for money, try regularly sharing all of your news. Describe the projects, programmes and initiatives you are working on. An email newsletter, for example, but a genuine newsletter, rather than a huge plea for money now. Try to think about the relationship, rather than their cash, as the objective.

  • Everyone likes to be thanked, some appreciate it quietly, others like it being made public, so make sure that you have a system in place for saying thank you, but also a tick box so your donors can choose not to have publicity. Try thanking your donors, either with a simple card or letter that goes out to them individually or including a list of 'thank yous' in your regular newsletters or mailshots. Maybe a Facebook post about it? But also go further, especially with larger givers. For major donors, what else can you do to thank them? Perhaps a personal 'thank you' phone call from the Chief Executive?

  • Another way to both involve and thank donors while raising funds, is to host events and ask the donors along as guests. Events such as coming to the end of a project or starting a new one or being able to hand a presentation cheque over. And don't forget to take photos for your newsletter or press releases!

  • Use the media more and make the public more aware of you. You may well have tried this before, but try again, harder and more consistently. Make sure that every week you submit something to the media. It could be a press release, a thank-you to a sponsor or donor or a case study with photographs.

  • Can you involve donors in the charity's activities? People like to help, but only if you make it convenient for them. So, ask them to just spend a couple of hours with you, helping out. Or just ask them to come and join in with a project, or a training course. If they are corporate donors, ask if you can come and give a presentation to them and their staff, and include donation slips as part of the information pack you hand out.

  • Use your supporters to help generate publicity. However many workers you have in the office there are loads more individuals amongst your supporters. So, start a campaign and ask your supporters to help by writing letters to the editor and/or submitting their own good news stories. You can even include suggestions for what they can write in about, or even articles or template letters that they can easily copy out.

  • Every time you mail anything out to a donor include a return addressed envelope with a donation slip. If you email, include a 'donate now link'. Don't suggest a donation, this is a 'just in case' opportunity.

  • Look at your current appeals, if they are in-your-face or aggressive in nature then change them to be less strident and more chatty, more heart-warming than heart-wrenching. Some people are put off by the intensely passionate and in-your-face appeals and prefer the smiling photographs and interesting case-study type appeals.

  • Can you get donors to host fund-raising parties? Everyone has heard of Tupperware parties or similar, so how about charity parties? The host throws a party and asks everyone to donate something, maybe the cost of their meal.

  • The taxman gives a tax break for charitable donations. Individuals who sign up for gift aid immediately make their donation more worthwhile to the charity. Make sure everyone, employees, volunteers and supporters, are aware of the need for donations to be done in this way. What's more, if the individual is a higher rate taxpayer, then they get a tax refund as well!

  • Getting someone to make a donation is great, but getting someone to sign up for a regular monthly donation is better! Focus on asking for £5 or £10 per month rather than £60 or £120 in a lump sum. Firstly, you are more likely to get a smaller amount, secondly, you only have to sign them up once, but the gift keeps on coming.

And finally, it may well seem as though every year is more of a fund-raising challenge than the previous one, but as long as you are prepared and make a greater creative effort in what you say and how you say it then you and your cause should prosper.

"Would you like to know more?"

If you'd like to review your charity fundraising then do give me a call on 01234 752 566 or click here to ping me an email and let's see how I can help you.

Until next time ...


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More about Jonathan Vowles ...

I've been an accountant in and for business since 1987 and have a wide experience of consultancy, audit, accounts, taxation and wealth planning work from individuals and small businesses to multinational corporations and charities.

My eclectic interests in growing and developing business span a number of areas, which can be summarised as strategic business advice and tax saving advice.

I have worked with the Chamber of Commerce to deliver courses for people about starting up in business and have lectured about tax for a major accountancy practice and for Milton Keynes College.

I relax by reading fiction and by getting away from the office in a campervan.


01234 752 566