Here to help you
A diverse range of income streams, charity or social business, helps you to become less reliant on one stream of income. A funding audit will help you understand your funding streams and identify which income streams are vulnerable and which have potential to grow, as well as identify new funding streams to explore.
We can help you explore the following income generation routes:
Accessing grants from various mainstream funders (National Lottery Community fund, local authority/government, charitable trusts) can help you fund your organisations social action activities when you first set up as a not for profit organisation, as well as help you grow your services and your reach as you develop and grow your organisation.
Attracting donations from your members, the general public and corporate bodies can help you raise funding for big projects, and general funding appeals. There are many different ways to grow your donor base, such as: online donation portals on your website, donation collection tins, developing a donation relationship with supporters (monthly donation e.g. £2, £5 £10), developing a relationship with corporate bodies and wealthy philanthropic individuals,crowdfunding and fundraising events. Identifying your potential donors, building and sustaining donor relationships are important to have a sustainable income from donations.
Delivering contracted services on behalf of public sector bodies provides the opportunity for sustainable income for the contract length (usually 2-4 years). Being able to demonstrate your track record, social value, expertise/skill and meeting the due diligence requirements of the procurement process will help you to become a strong and competitive bidder.
Developing trading income provides the opportunity to develop unrestricted funds (funding that is not restricted by grant funders or donor requirements). The process of business modelling and business testing, will identify viable products and services that can generate a steady income stream for the organisation. Using business aids such Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas can assist your exploration of trading your products/ services.
Working together in a partnership can bring the benefits of accessing larger scale funding (grants or contracts), with the lead agency taking on the majority of risk and responsibility for managing the contract/grant. Again this can provide sustainable income for a period of time, and has the added benefit of being able to work with other organisations and agencies to deliver joint services and impact.
Influencers have a different method for selling to the community they serve. It is interesting how they can build packages that are greater than the sum of their parts. The key to this is building a large bank of pre-recorded materials in different forms, keeping some of your high-value content behind the paywall as VIP resources, and mixing this up with valuable experiences and involvement. Packages then include a range of freely available resources, some VIP resources, live group experiences, and a very small dash of live 1:1 time.
Grant funding can help your community organisation to start up, sustain and grow. There are a number or grant funders with varying criteria and funding objectives (what areas or interests they provide funding for). Being able to identify a grant funder, whose funding objectives best match the projects/services you wish to deliver is highly important, as you could fall into the trap of chasing grant funding pots and manipulating your project/services to meet funders requirements. Larger grant funding can provide multiple year income, providing sustainable income during that period. but planning ahead to sustain the project and service is essential and should be part of your fundraising strategy.
Grant funding is competitive, and funders receive more applications than they can fund. Planning is key to developing a good funding application proposal. This starts with engaging with the community and identifying the needs/problems, action to address the needs, clear outputs/ outcomes, linkages with local agencies, local/national government strategies and value for money.
Also important is making sure you meet the funder’s criteria, have a successful track record, and know the submission and decision-making timescales you are working with. A strong proposal clearly identifies the need, involves the beneficiaries in the design and delivery of the project objectives, and demonstrates the social/economic/environmental impact.
Get in touch, to make your application stand out, and gain buy-in from funders and investors.
The best tip to develop a fundraising strategy is to start asking for donations – if you don’t ask, you don’t get. See a donation from your donors point of view. What do they like to do? What would they be interested in getting involved with?
If you need to develop a fundraising strategy here is a plan of action. Note: your strategy should be based on the aims and vision of your organisation – you need to have identified your aims and vision before you start fundraising.
Define your fundraising aims
Set out clear fundraising outcomes.
Fundraising methods may be based around appeals, legacy campaign, individual or corporate donors, short term or long term.
Choose your income sources – trusts, foundations, statutory funders, companies, individuals and community organisations.
Resources and budget – fundraising needs to be adequately resourced – you should view this as investing in fundraising
Whatever fundraising you do, keep an eye on making sure it is legal following the link below:
For each fundraising activity you will need to prepare a case for support, build your fundraising case, choose your methods, and then start customer development work speaking to, listening to and converting donors.
Here are some top tips for fundraising to get you fired up to move ahead:
- Everyone within your organisation is a potential fundraiser.
- Calculate your cost effectiveness
- Funds raised/total costs of fundraising=cost effectiveness
- Monitor which are your most successful methods
- State that funds will be used for general charitable purposes to avoid creating ‘restricted funds’
- Keep good records on your donors, analyse what appeals to they respond to, which do they not.
- Typically 80% of funds will come from 20% of your donors – make the most of major donor fundraising
- Build a shopping list of items that donors can buy
- Try building an appeal around an urgent need
- Don’t be greedy – ask for larger amounts over time
- Break down a larger amount into smaller units
- Provide donors with a thank you, keep them up to date with your work and impacts
- Contact donors the way they like – respect their wishes
- Always ask for gift aid
Community engagement, sometimes referred to as stakeholder engagement, public participation or community consultation is the process of working with and involving the community in order to create meaningful relationships between the organisation and the people it serves.
The focus is communication, involvement, and collaboration, where your organisation seeks to connect with its stakeholders, identify shared interests and concerns to make better decisions, and achieve sustainable outcomes.
Community engagement can have an effect on the outcomes for communities and organisations, whether positively or negatively. Any organisation’s strategy should include community engagement, regardless of its size or industry, and is key for supporting the long-term success of the organisations activities.
An important step to community engagement is the planning and design of community engagement. A community engagement plan should cover the following areas:
What level of participation is it hoped will be achieved?
- How to identify the stakeholders?
- Stage of the engagement process.
- Are there any limitations?
- Timely feedback and next steps.
- Tools to help choose a community engagement method.
- Community engagement methods.
We can help develop your community engagement plan, and support with analysing feedback, and capitalising on insight and community support gained..
Both businesses and charities love partnerships. In the business world you score extra points for having partners who deliver value for you in your business model, and even more points if they do it on a free basis. Good partnership business models can add value to services, create new routes to market, provide key resources, or expertise. In the voluntary and charity world partnership working is valued by funders and commissioners as it gives them more reach. If a grant/tender application funds includes partner organisations, the funder is making their money go further to benefit more people. In addition, the project brings greater value through the pooling of resources, expertise and greater reach..
Partnerships start when there is clear advantage to the parties to work together. The fertile conditions that see partnerships grow are good relationships, trust, confidence, reliability, and delivery.
We love to find those partnership opportunities, identify suitable partners and bring them together to make it all happen.
Get in touch, if you have a partnership project idea and would like help to develop a project or funding proposal.
Online Community Building
With modern ecommerce you need to strengthen the relationship with the customer so that they have a reason for coming to you. You need to move them from being a customer who is ‘sold to’, to being a member of your community who interacts with you. You now have a choice.
Who do you want to do community engagement for you? People with marketing skills, technical skills, digital marketing skills, or community skills? Here are some predictions for you:
- If you let marketing people build your community it will be full of campaigns and messaging
- If you let digital marketing people build your community it will be built on polls and competitions
- If you let technical people build your community it will be full of features such as chat functions
- If you let influencers build your community it will be all about the following and watching
- If you let media people build your community it will be all about audiences and entertainment
Use community builders to build your community to reach and involve real people
Community building needs to be more human. “Business as normal” thinks about its market, customer segments, or an audience. It's time to rip up this rulebook to think more about communities.
A community is a group of connected people with shared skills, interests or goals. It is not good enough to use the word ‘community’ whilst thinking in the same way about markets. You need to shift mindset to a ‘pro-community’ focus to innovate your business model and deliver wonderful experiences online.
The challenge for businesses is to recreate the village. The village is a set of people who know each other, socialise with each other, help each other and trade with each other. The direction of communication is not one way, or two way, it is multiple. The village is a ‘thick network’ of people working with each other on multiple projects. The village has things for people to congregate around: events, festivals, faith, market places, and projects.
All modern businesses have digital relationships with customers and the best ecommerce build communities that have higher-level relationships with their customers than simply following or consuming content. No matter what you sell you will need to build better online communities in the future. Online customers want genuine relationships with you that provide satisfaction and involvement. In a saturated online world they don't have to come to you to make their purchase, they can migrate away to the platforms, spaces and communities that provide most value.
Read more about online community building here:
The fact is we love community and business. Together they are a perfect mix, and we get excited working with businesses and communities.. There will be times when you know you have something wonderful but need the planning to wrap around it to make it fly: this work could be aimed at your team, partners or investors. Sometimes it is a lot easier for an outside agency to come in, facilitate amazing sessions with your team, declutter, simplify, or celebrate what’s good using the latest business tools and then take it away to write it up for you.
We have facilitated 100s of business innovation sessions and know how to lead, inspire, and excite to create breakthrough ‘wow’ moments, and capture the complexity to produce thorough strategies. We have facilitated sessions for multi million pound companies and small ones. If you need an agency with more person centred social skills, an interest in disruption and a passion for responsible business then we could be the right organisation for you.
Here is a shopping list of what you can get from us:
Get in touch, we can help you release your bluesky vision and big ambitious long term goals, and help you turn them into solid plans and testable propositions.
You can’t be strategic if you don't know who
you are and where you are going.
Get a clear understanding of your legal role as a Trustee or Director, ensure you are aware of the legal and compliance requirements for your charity/social business and protect your organisation from risk.
Learn about the different structures your social action project can set up as (Charity, social enterprise, business). Get an understanding of the pro’s and con’s of each one and the legal and compliance requirements.
Learn the rules of the grant funding game, identify real grants you want to go for, score real grant applications, and understand the difference between strategies to get shortlisted, and getting the panel to fund you.
Taking a strategic approach to diversifying your income streams, developing the entrepreneurial mindset, thinking big, harnessing the power of crowdfunding tactics and applying those to target new donors.
What is social investment, when to use it, and how to get it. What investors are looking for. Who are the investors, where are they, and how to communicate with them. How to get the market validation to get the investors excited.
Creating business ideas from scratch and putting them through their paces to evaluate which ones you take forward for development. Includes what is a social enterprise and the stages to get your trading income up and running.
Viewing your business from different angles to build your business models, scoring and tweaking them to improve your score. Exploring new business models through pivoting and design thinking.
How to improve customer relationships, increase brand equity, and create live business intelligence by turning customers into a real community. Includes what is a community and how to develop a community strategy.
Learn how social media can help all aspects of a charity or business operation from new clients, fundraising through to recruiting volunteers. Explore ways to engage and target audiences, build a 2 page social media strategy, choose your content pillars and craft perfect posts for your audience.
Treat yourself to a bit of ‘me time’, learn something new, take a deep dive into how to do it, apply it to your business or charity, talk it through with other leaders, leave feeling it was more than worth it because you now have a thorough grasp of a new toolbox and a strong strategic direction. We give you well structured sessions with short shots of inspiration, practical workbooks, great tasks, and a big list of things you want to take away to action.
Have a look at the broad range of online and face-to-face training courses below and get in touch to find out how we can tailor them to meet your needs. Our training is suitable for directors, trustees, fundraising staff and senior management.