Five fundraising ideas from small charities

  • Small Charity Week runs from 19-24 June
  • Organised by the Foundation for Social Improvement, the week aims to celebrate and raise awareness of the work of the UK’s small charity sector
  • Here, we discuss some of the ways in which small charities have successfully reached out to supporters

From grant funding to crowdfunding, there are many routes for small charities to seek out funding.

To mark Small Charity Week, we share five fundraising ideas that show how charities can connect with supporters in a range of ways.

1. Cause-related marketing

For one month around the release of the Wonder Woman blockbuster film, pop culture store SirGeek.co.uk is donating 10% of merchandise sales to The Wonder Foundation, to support its partner programmes that empower women and girls through education.

Wonder had been considering ways to engage with the film when SirGeek approached it, looking for a charity partner. Working together has allowed both organisations to find new audiences among fans of the film, and they hope to raise several thousands of pounds by the end of June.

Emily Loud, Wonder’s Communications Manager, said: “We’ve never worked with an online retailer before, and were impressed that SirGeek sought us out and bought into our education projects. This partnership is now helping us make the most of the on-going media around the Wonder Woman film in a fun way that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.”

Find out more about the Wonder Foundation’s partnership.

2. Resource raising projects

Jude Habib, a supporter of the homeless charity, York Road Project, created an Amazon wish list to source donations of much-needed items for the charity’s clients, including socks, gloves and sleeping bags.

She was inspired by the family of London Bridge attack victim Chrissy Archibald, who asked people to support homeless shelters in Chrissy’s name. In the first ten days after the wish list went live, 343 items were donated.

Jude said: “Setting up the wish list was straightforward and we shared it on social media using the hashtag #chrissysentme.

“People have been really generous and kind and I’m thrilled York Road Project has benefited from this.”

Read more about resource raising.

3. Fundraising through grants

In 2014, Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team (DMRT), which covers 2,600 square miles in the north of Scotland, launched a fundraising appeal for a new base in Dingwall, where its 40-strong team of volunteers could meet, train and muster, and keep their vehicle and equipment.

Having bought a plot of land, the team started fundraising to cover the building costs, and by May 2016, had raised £185,000. Much of the funding came through grants from 16 charitable trusts.

The small project team developed a prospectus and contacted trusts they felt matched DMRT’s needs, as well as local sporting estates and community fundraising bodies. In total, they approached 125 bodies.

Keith Bryers, charity chair, said: “We kept local media and our supporters in touch with developments and were helped with strong public support. The team is delighted with the base – as well as being able to look after our equipment, it means we can muster more quickly for callouts.”

Find out more about the project and see pictures of the finished base on the DMRT website.

Read more about raising money from trusts.

4. Crowdfunding for charity

TOLFA (Tree of Life for Animals) rescues stray and injured animals in India, provides them with vaccinations and helps them to recover from accidents. In 35 days, the charity raised £13,032 via crowdfunding from 225 backers.

Crowdfunding expert Jes Bailey, who worked with TOLFA on the project, said: “Its campaign worked because it used social media regularly and well. It had great photography and creative imagery and encouraged lots of user-generated content.

“Also, it integrated online and offline events into its strategy so supporters had different ways to get involved.”

Read crowdfunding tips for small charities.

5. The impact of local fundraising

In early June, four Hertfordshire charities raised more than £13,000 by pitching their powerful and personal stories to a room of 100 potential supporters at a Dragon’s Den-style local charity crowdfunding event organised by the Funding Network. Donations also came in from others following on social media.

Organiser Richard Sved said: “50% of adults say local charities play an important role in the community, and yet only 10% can name at least two local charities in their area.

“We’re aiming to change that in Hertfordshire, bringing the brilliant work that local organisations do to the attention of a community that would love to support them, if they only knew more about it!”

Richard has shared some tips in his blog, 5 lessons from setting up the funding network in St Albans.