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Welcome to the first part of the new NCVO website. While we finish building it, you will find the rest of our help and guidance on our existing site.

Last reviewed: 18 November 2020

This page aims to encourage you to try fundraising from individuals to support your work activities and projects.

Knowing the facts

  • Across all voluntary sector organisations almost 25% of all income comes from the public, from individual giving.
  • Two thirds of people give money to charity
  • Of people who give money to charity support is highest for children and young people and for animals.

Fundraising myths

You need to consider if any of these fundraising myths are holding you back.

#1 It’s only worth doing if you know lots of rich people

You can raise money particularly well if you know lots of rich people, but all communities give money to things they believe in. You can collect lots of smaller donations to reach your goal. Some people will be able to give you time or other contributions if they cannot give money.

#2 Writing lots of grant applications is the best way to raise funds

When you write grant applications you have to expect lots of rejections. It takes time and skills to know what funders want. Often the work falls to only one person.

It is much easier to get lots of people involved in individual giving because there are lots of different ways to help.

Just a few things your volunteers could do:

  • help you build your social media and run crowdfunding campaigns
  • write letters to local businesses to ask for raffle prizes
  • sell raffle tickets or organise an online auction
  • get together to put on fundraising events in person or online

#3 Only charities can ask for donations

Anyone can ask for donations. People giving money will want to know how you are going to spend it. They may want proof that no-one is going to profit from it. But they will sometimes give to organisations that are not charities. This is particularly true if the people know the work your organisation does.

You may still want to become a charity if you are doing lots of fundraising in this way so that more people trust you. Charities have particular rules about how they record their donations. They may not have to pay tax on them and may be able to claim Gift Aid.

#4 Legacy funding is only for big organisations

Legacy funding or asking people to leave you money in your will is a growth area of fundraising. You do need to be careful to do it safely and legally. This can be quite simple.

If you work with people who feel a deep connection to your organisation you should look at legacy giving as something to try.

#5 We’re too small to get money from a company

Big sponsorships suit organisations that can provide corporate hospitality or have a strong marketing department. But companies also like to help small local organisations. You should always ask. Here are some examples that work well

  • Ask all your volunteers, trustees and participants if their workplace has an employee fundraising programme. This could mean that they can hold a bake sale or sponsored event at work and the company will match the money they made.
  • Ask companies for donations of prizes for online or face to face events. They do get lots of requests but they also often say yes. Supermarkets are a good place to start.
  • Find out if any companies near you have employee volunteering schemes. Ask for their skills and time instead of money.

How to get started

Find a small idea to try that suits your organisation.

You need to think about:

  • what you need the money for
  • who will get involved
  • who you think you will raise the money from.

To get some ideas:

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 18 November 2020

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