Trusts and Foundations have been established by wealthy individuals or companies for the purpose of supporting charitable activity. For many charities the trust market is the bread and butter of the organisation’s income, providing a steady flow of funds that can support the charity’s work.
In this section we would like to outline the right way to approach these organisations so you can increase the number of successful bids.
Research is the vital first step. Most fundraisers will get their information from the trust’s website, annual accounts or one of the many online directories available to them. This is a great start, but it should be just the beginning. This is because a lot of the information you pick up from directories and even from the charity’s own website can be out of date. Accounts will be at least 12 months old and directories can include information that is 2 years old.
Research – The next level
The next step is to check who the trustees are and cross reference them with trustees of other trusts you may have funding from. It is also worthwhile checking if there are any company connections you may have with these individuals. The more knowledge you can acquire the stronger your position will be when you make the approach.
Once you have a good overview of what the trust does and an understanding of who the trustees are, the next step is to make the call. This will not always be possible, but if a phone number is listed please use it. It is very important to make verbal contact with the administrator.
The administrator will be the only person able to give you up to date information on what the Trust is funding, the dates of the meetings and when you are likely to hear back, once an application has been made. This is all crucial information. It’s also important to make contact because most fundraisers don’t. They will do most of the desk research but will not make the call. That should mean by making the call you are more likely to be successful. Just referring to your conversation will give you an advantage.
The application needs to be clear and jargon free or at least jargon limited. Avoid phrases like, our project is unique and innovative. Be clear about why you want the money, how much you need and by when. Talk about what has already been raised and who from. If there are administration costs attached to the project budget then make them clear. No one expects a charity to be run on thin air. Be realistic about the admin costs. Avoid the arbitrary 10% that many charities put in. Most projects will cost a lot more than that to run and Trusts know it.
There are a few essential elements of a good application and these are listed below.
Why your work is needed (Introduce case studies)
The impact of your work
What’s the story
When it will take place and what will happen post-funding
Strong detailed financials
A realistic amount for administration costs