Trust Fundraising Advice

For many charities the Trust and Foundation market is the main source of income, providing a steady flow of funds for both project and core activities.
In this section we have outlined the right way to approach these organisations so you can increase the number of successful bids. Trusts and Foundations have risen to the challenge of Covid-19 with specific emergency funds that have been a lifeline in 2020. The real challenge may come next year as revenues derived from corporate dividends and other assets traded on the global stock markets diminish, while there will undoubtedly be more demand on their funds from charities. This is why getting the ask right and knowing how to make the approach is more crucial than ever.

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  This is because a lot of the information you pick up from directories and even from the charity’s own website can be out of date.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 even older.

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 phone the funder. 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 and at the very least email contact.
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, to enable you to plan and build a viable pipeline. 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 give you an advantage if you make the call.

The Application / Appeal
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 funders 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 and over what timeframe
  • What’s the story
  • When it will take place and what will happen post-funding – (Is it sustainable?)
  • Strong detailed financials (This is so important. Detail and transparency is everything)
  • A realistic amount for administration costs
Trust Fundraising Training
We have outlined the essentials here but if you would like to learn more about making the perfect approach, why not sign up to one of our virtual  training programmes or take advantage of our one-tone or small group mentoring service. Please details of costs please contact us for details.