Thursday, 10 March 2016

Ewan Hastings says... Listen to the Fundraising Tips You Get

Get ready for a Guest Collectivist! Mr Ewan Hastings, author of Trusts and Foundations Fundraising Success Top Tips: Valuable Lessons from an Old-Dog Fundraiser is here to share some of those top tips!

Over to you Ewan

I have now been a charity fundraiser for over 21 years and have had gained a lot of tips from various fundraising peers, managers, colleagues, fundraising experts, books, seminars and training courses.  In fact, the list goes on and on of the people and places where I have picked up fundraising tips.

I have been careful to always write them down and learn the wisdom of others.  They way I look at them is that the person telling me has, generally, learned them the hard way: through mistake or hard graft.

Now, as I celebrate the start of my 22nd year in fundraising, I feel the time is right to start passing on my tips to less experienced grants fundraisers out there.  This is why I have recently published the first of a series of fundraising top tips eBooks.  The eBook is called "Trusts and Foundations Fundraising Success Top Tips: Valuable Lessons from an Old-Dog Fundraiser" and is available to download on Kindle now at a very reasonable £4.99.

If you're new to applying for grants from charitable trusts and foundations, the book will guide you through the basics, help you develop good fundraising habits, and build your skill set.  If you have more experience, you’ll find some useful new tips to inspire you to raise more money and get help mastering the intricacies of securing funds from trusts and foundations. 

For everyone tasked with raising money it’s a condensed, no nonsense resource for fundraising success, that will take you to the next level.  The Top Tips cover everything from writing funding applications and research, to site visits and staying organised for more effective fundraising.
So to whet your appetite for what appears in the book, here are my top 10 tips for writing to charitable trusts and foundations:

1. If asking for an application form by post enclose a stamped, self addressed envelope.  The trust will be more responsive to sending one to you.

 2.  Money:
A good way to mention money is to say “seeking a grant up to….”
Put money in your summary.
Also mention it in your cover letter.

3.  Make sure you understand what the difference is between “outputs”, “outcomes” and other commonly used funder-speak by using the “Jargonbuster” document which is available to download for free at

4.  Refresh yourself on how to understand questions again:

5.  Big Lottery applications: Pull out the questions from the application form and go through each question with your service colleagues. (This is best done away from the office where you can concentrate on the answers they give.) 

6.  At least once a month review your standard trust letters. Can you update anything?  Is the spelling still correct?  Does the letter need rewritten?

7.  Stats: Put them in, but they must be qualified.

8.  To rate the success of a future project think “What would success look like and what would we know when we got there?”

9.  Phone up the trust in the first instance if there’s a phone number.  It establishes if they have any money left to distribute and lets them find out a little more about your organisation.
and finally...

10.  USE THE TIPS YOU GET GIVEN.  They’re given because they have been found to have worked.

Write down these tips then and apply them.

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