As we dive into 2022, another year likely to be impacted by COVID-related disruption, socially-minded organisations may be looking to refresh their income generation strategies. If you’re a school, charity, club, or community organisation looking for new ways to raise funds, we’ve compiled a list of some income sources you may wish to consider.
The Funding Landscape
Even before the Coronavirus pandemic, the national picture was challenging:
72% of school leaders say they are not confident in their school’s ability to generate additional income to combat budget pressures
Over 50% of sports clubs are worried about accessing funding, and at least 30% don’t have the resources to cater for local demand
The proportion of people giving money to charity has seen a steady decline since 2016
56% of charities identified unrestricted funding as their most pressing need ahead of the Coronavirus lockdown
For any organisation looking to maximise their income generation potential in such a volatile funding and political environment, the best way forward is diversification. We would encourage organisations to think creatively about how they might generate income from a variety of sources, reducing reliance on any single income stream.
Grant income: Over £5bn every year is awarded to community organisations and schools in the UK via grants from trusts, foundations and institutions, with individual awards ranging from three-figure
sums to seven-figure sums. These grants can be used in a variety of ways, from paying for project related costs and part-covering salaries, to building new facilities or purchasing new equipment. Grants have long been a crucial part of any fundraising strategy, and COVID-19 has reinforced trusts and foundations as one of the most reliable and flexible fundraising avenues for organisations in the social sectors.
One key challenge of grant funding is the ever-changing nature of the grants landscape makes forecasting incredibly difficult. Each and every funder has different aims and objectives, different eligibility criteria, different application procedures and varying levels of funding. Opportunities open and close on almost a weekly basis, often reacting to the political or economic climate or addressing some of the globes most pressing social challenges. The priority, therefore, is to be ready to react. Your organisation should have all of the resources and structures in place to be considered grant-ready and be constantly scanning the horizon for opportunities. It’s a competitive landscape right now, and only the highest quality submissions will prove successful.
Corporate partnerships: Whilst there is no legal mandate for corporates to give to CSR causes here in the UK, circa £3bn is given to thousands of charities every year and the marketplace is extremely overdeveloped and overcrowded. This £3bn does not even include grants made from corporate foundations – of which there are thousands too – taking the total contribution of corporates to CSR and charity partnerships to well over £5bn every year.
Delivering social purpose has become vital for the private sector in the UK, and this is unlikely to change. Whilst this is good news for charities, schools and community organisations, with the increasing professionalisation of CSR comes increased competition and the need to deliver more complex partnerships with higher levels of return for the corporate. These partnerships often comprise multiple interactions, including employee volunteering, in-kind offerings, sponsorship and cash donations, and are increasingly delivered over longer periods of time.
Corporate engagement is expected to increase. Surveys by the Institute of Fundraising show that over 90% of charities and 85% of businesses have a view that corporate partnerships will be more important in the next three years.
Individual giving: Giving to charity is a way of life for people across the UK. On average, 85% of us have donated money in recent years, giving an average amount of £231. Across the sector, this equates to over £11 billion in voluntary income – a significant potential source of income for socially-minded organisations.
Whilst huge in potential, the methods used to fundraise from individuals are far more varied and complex than those used to obtain funds from most other sources, including companies and trusts/foundations. Every potential individual donor has their own characteristics, motivations and preferred way of giving. Organisations should consider carefully who to approach for a particular type of gift, and what their giving motivations might be. This will dictate your plan of action for securing the support of that group of people. In addition, you must recognise that you are positioning yourselves against many other causes - the landscape is incredibly competitive.
Asset utilisation: Whether you have sports pitches which are going unused for periods of time or empty office space which you think might be suitable for letting out, your facilities have great income-generation potential.
The easiest way to find out if your organisation’s assets have wider value is to conduct some research. If you have an underused football pitch, check how many other local pitches there are close to you and how busy they are. Alternatively, talk to potential users – maybe contact a 5-a-side football league to see if they would be interested in using your facilities. Whilst not a fool-proof method of understanding the income potential, it may give you the confidence to explore asset utilisation for your organisation in more detail.
Bear in mind that each of these individual fundraising areas comprises hundreds of mini-focus areas, and there are plenty more out there too. If you’d like to receive more specific advice on the best ways to generate income for your organisation, please do get in touch with us at email@example.com – we’d love to hear from you!
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