This is not the point at which you should be calling us in to help, that was probably a year ago, but better late than never! Right now we can help you get down to the root of the problem, then set out the most effective strategy and day-to-day practice to regenerate your income streams and turn the taps back on. It won’t be pain free and it won’t be pretty, but you will know it makes sense.
Sometimes this requires a redirection of the investment your organisation makes in fundraising into new or different techniques. Sometimes the problem isn’t even in the fundraising department, but we are used to helping clients negotiate the challenges that silos present. Sometimes what is required is a significant increase in investment into fundraising to allow it to take advantage of real opportunities and a consultancy can help you secure these vital funds.
- Point out possibilities you may not have noticed and how to access them effectively.
Having a fresh eye cast over your fundraising programme can be very revealing. It is so easy to be accustomed to doing something one way that we begin to think it is the only way for us. I have found an audit of the fundraising department almost invariably comes up with new ideas, suggestions and improvements that can super-tune even the most effective seeming programme.
Perhaps surprisingly this frequently occurs in the largest fundraising departments where individuals have had a strong influence over their own individual techniques for many years, but may not be as effective as they fondly imagine because the possibilities have moved on and grown greatly over the years.
- Help you acquire that new building.
Ever felt you would scream if more staff were crammed into your work space? Does it look impossible to raise large sums without impacting your current income streams? In this case it may be a great idea to run a feasibility study to see if your organisation can run a successful appeal. When we do this, we look not just at the external funds that may be available from wealthy people, foundations and corporates but we look internally- are you really ready to run an appeal and what resources do you need in place before you start. NB starting an appeal is not launching it to the press; that is a grave mistake. First, we raise most of the funds and only when we are sure we can succeed do we tell the media, and there are very good reasons for that.
An appeal may cost between 8% and 12% of the money to be raise but that can be added to the total, so in the end it is cost neutral but only in the end. The first year to eighteen months of an appeal is the time when the organisation makes a significant investment to secure the appeal.
- Help convince your board your idea is great.
Have you passed your first hundred days with your organisation? Are you treated like part of the furniture already? It is surprising how short that initial period of enthusiasm for new staff is. That time when they can do no wrong and command the resources they need to affect change does not last longer than a shooting star burning across the sky, then it is gone.
Suddenly, the advantage moves to the deus ex machina and it is only those outside visionaries that command respect; which may include the trustees partners, so bringing in your own expert can prove very effective in getting your ideas across to the board or even just to your CEO. Of course, the expert will need to satisfy themselves that you are right but they can often improve on ideas and add their broad knowledge of how other organisations have done this to add important points to your ideas.
- Triple your income – sorry just kidding.
But seriously, we love ambition and all fundraisers should have ideas for tripling their organisations income. Much depends on the investment available for expansion, a lot of courage, imagination and real professionalism. Let your consultant mentor you through the preparation for expansion. We often run feasibility studies for charities to determine the additional funds that might be available and help them set a realistic strategy to maximise their chances of obtaining those funds.
If you work with your consultant over time it is very much like having a very experienced mentor, one who has travelled the path ahead of you and knows the pitfalls, shortcuts and safe routes along the way. The will also have access to reliable experts who can help with research and many other specialised tasks including the latest online fundraising and fast payment systems.
Don’t delay – get in touch today!
John Baguley, Chair, Group IFC