Fundraising is a profession that requires specific skills and competence. Trying to access funding can be difficult, especially for a young organisation or if you are new to fundraising. Without a track record and reputation, you may not be able to reach the support that you need straight away.
You will need patience and resilience as you will more than likely have to go through numerous rejections before successfully securing the funding you need. This might result in desperate tactics that can harm your organisation in the long run. If you are targeting support from charitable trusts, to give you the best chance of success be sure to avoid some of the following most frequent fundraising blunders.
- Budget miscalculations
The most common fundraising error is getting the budget wrong. These mistakes occur when numerous employees work on the numbers but fail to record their progress, or when you update your estimates at the last minute without double checking them. Then you end up getting your figures totally wrong, which will be a significant turnoff for a funder who is being asked to trust your organisation with thousands of pounds.
Failure to include overhead expenses into the budget not only jeopardises your initiative, but also fosters the notion that projects can be conducted independently. As a charity, your administration and overhead costs can represent the contribution you make, but should also be included to help raise (very often vital) core funds for your work.
Always check over the final figures and calculations before finalising your funding application.
- Failure to make personalised applications
Most trusts and foundations get flooded with applications that have no personalisation beyond the address and phone number, and they can spot them straight away. In this competitive environment, personalising your application is essential.
While it can be good to re-use a template application, you need to make sure it is appropriately tailored to the funder’s interests. Your research should help to inform how you this. Adapt your application to their specific demands, and then top it off with a personalised cover letter.
Some people consider fundraising a numbers game, however, this is seldom the case, and one high-quality application will yield better results than hundred substandard ones.
- Basic spelling errors
Basic spelling errors are numerous but most common ones typically include spelling a funder’s name incorrectly, getting their title wrong, and misspelling the organisation’s name. Sometimes you just need to take more time to check all the essential details. Assuming the person you are addressing to is a ‘Mrs’ when you might simply verify and find out they’re a ‘Miss’ will significantly reduce your chances of getting a response.
- Applying to Trusts with the wrong match
Unfortunately, since many charities prefer quantity to quality and don’t take enough time to do their research, they end up squandering their limited resources on organisations that aren’t a suitable match for their work.
If you are enthusiastic about your charity’s mission and know you can produce a strong application, you must make the most of your time by working efficiently and concentrating on the greatest prospects.
Conduct extensive research to create a list of eligible funding prospects. You may then rank these possibilities in order of importance depending on your most pressing present financial need and which donors are the greatest match for them. This will assist you in developing a list of funders who have the highest probability of supporting you.
- Ignoring the guidance
Donors usually provide beneficial tips in their written instructions and on their websites, but far too many organisations fail to take them into consideration.
If you ignore the basic application guidelines, your application will most likely be rejected. Therefore, you need to study the information on the donor’s website before writing the application.
Some funders only give general instructions regarding the length and structure of your application. Others offer a lengthy FAQs page, samples of prior initiatives they’ve supported, and tips on how to answer certain questions.