Fundraising in a Recession

In the current economic climate, fundraising from businesses is harder than ever.  Worse still is the impact the Olympics are having on the availability of Lottery funding.  Reduced “pots” under the Lottery umbrella has massively lowered the success rate of applications – we used to expect a 25% success rate, this has plummetted to around 10%, even for Awards for All (the most “accessible” funding pot).  In turn, this pushes more applicants on to the charitable trusts and foundations, thus lowering the success rate there too. 

When funders know that 90% of the bids they read won’t be funded, they look for a reason to throw yours into the “reject” heap.   It is essential therefore to ensure that your funding bid avoids the wastepaper bin.  I’ll be publishing tips from my “Ten Steps to the Perfect Funding Bid” here over the next month to help charities and community organisations write well-targetted, realistic and well-evidenced funding proposals.

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4 Comments on “Fundraising in a Recession”

  1. Hi Tamara

    Interesting thoughts on the impact of the Olympics on fundraising through applications to the ‘pots’ you mention.

    What place is there for alternative fundraising ideas such as selling things/obtaining donations against applications to funds? Would you say there’s an average split for charities? 50:50? 60:40?


    • tamaraessex Says:

      Hi Chris – are you talking about an average of where charities get their funding from (ie trusts/foundations v. donations/events)? The NCVO website gives access to the best data on the sources of income of voluntary & community organisations. I don’t think there’s an average organisation though! I’d suggest there’d be a huge difference between a registered charity delivering a lot of public services, and a community organisation saving injured tortoises in a Welsh village.

  2. Mark Trotter Says:

    The reduction in Lottery Funds has increased the competitive nature of bid writing, however you can write the best bids you still have to be ready for the set backs that come from a world of good causes.

    A 1 in 10 or 12 success rate today is becoming the norm and sees a rise in the need to write bids, the more funders reject the more competition it creates. One of the key points from talking to funders is being able to fund one organisation in a way that benefits four or five, will you be commenting on how to collaborate?

    I look forward to reading the the Ten Steps it will be very interesting.

    Great blog

    • tamaraessex Says:

      Thanks Mark – I think your point about collaboration is really important. There are funders out there who specifically look for partnerships / collaborations to fund (the current obvious one is the DEFRA funding through Local Action Groups, the successor to Leader Plus). I’d be really interested to hear views about the Capacitybuilders “Mergers and Collaborations” programme – I’ve worked on it as a Local Advisor, but would love to hear whether participant organisations have found it useful.

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