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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

A secret tool to grow your charity income

This opinion piece is about 5 years old

Lyndsay Tigar says you don't have to spend money to make money with her hints and tips on starting your charity's fundraising journey

As an experienced charity fundraiser with an extensive background in grant application assessment and submission, I would argue that the Case For Support document is the most important piece of work any charity can do if they are looking to grow their income.

According to recent research, fundraising directors agree that writing a case for support is a major critical success factor in securing grants and donations.

But, what is a case for support?

In essence, it is a core document that conveys who you are, what you're trying to do and why your organisation should be funded. It forces you to think through every angle of your work, and assess where any gaps lie. The beauty of it, from personal experience, is that it provides you with a very strong foundation on which to build your campaign, and simultaneously prevents frantic scrambling for information when a deadline is looming. In short, it means that you are prepared

Lyndsay Tigar
Lyndsay Tigar

There is no set structure for a document like this, but there is typical core content. It’s important to bear in mind that every potential donor to your charity will require something a little different, so you would need to be prepared to tailor and adapt. However, it’s no exaggeration to say that preparing this piece of written work will literally save you hours of fundraising time.

I’ve always said to the charities I’ve worked with that much of what I do as a fundraiser is not difficult. In fact, it’s largely common sense. Having said that, fundraising is often a lengthy, time-consuming and very bitty process. It requires good judgement and an impeccable ability to organise and clearly present information. But from what I’ve observed, when you are a charity worker wearing a myriad of hats and never having enough time, fundraising can often take a back seat. This is despite evidence such as the Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations' (ACSVO) most recent consultation with its members showing that the top three challenges for charity chief executives are workload capacity, funding and fundraising.

This is why I’ve decided to package up the tools that I’ve developed over the last 11 years as a former Big Lottery Fund employee and freelance fundraising consultant, in the hope of helping as many charities as possible to grow their grants and donations – both affordably and efficiently. One tool I’ve developed is the Case for Support template. I’ve used this template myself to help many charities, and hundreds of thousands of pounds have been secured off the back of it.

For a limited time, I’m giving away free digital copies of it, so if you’d like to receive a copy, please email [email protected] with Case for Support in the subject box and I’d be delighted to share it with you.

My goal is to deliver straight-forward, practical tools that won’t break the bank. If you don’t have a dedicated fundraiser (or you do but they are overwhelmed), and you can’t yet afford fundraising consultancy fees, my tools are the perfect starting point for growing your charity income. Other tools I’ll be sharing very soon include the Fundraising Strategy template, Assessment Matrix and Funding Progress Management Table.

Lyndsey Tigar is founder of the Fundraising Club