Trust Fundraising at SHA

This blog piece was written by our Trust and Grants Fundraiser Sarah Kernahan. Sarah has been working behind the scenes in the fundraising team for over 4 years so we asked her to share what she’s been doing to raise thousands of pounds year in year out for families living with HD.

When you mention fundraising people usually think about events, sponsored challenges and all the weird and wonderful things people do to raise money. People are less familiar with Trust Fundraising, which is my role within the fundraising team. … so what exactly is Trust Fundraising?

Trust Fundraising refers to the process of asking for support from trusts and foundations that are empowered to make grants for charitable purposes. There are around 10,000 trusts and foundations in the UK, all operating to distribute funds to charitable causes amounting to about £2 billion annually. That’s a big pot of money! These trusts are extremely varied, from individual or family-based trusts which were set up to reflect the founders interests, to the more well know trusts such as Comic Relief and Children in Need.

However with over 24,000 charities registered in Scotland alone, the competition for the same pot of money is huge! One of our biggest challenges when up against the competition is fundraising for a cause that people know little about or have never heard of.

How do we stand out from the crowd? 

Writing charitable trust applications is all about communicating who we are, what we do and why we exist. It’s about telling our story; demonstrating how HD impacts people’s lives and the practical things our HD Specialists, Youth Advisors and Financial Wellbeing Officers do on a daily basis that really make a difference to the people we support. Using case studies in applications brings these issues to life; a real story is the most powerful way to engage with someone who knows little about the condition.

One of the most recent successes with charitable trusts was securing funding for the next 3 years for our Financial Wellbeing Service (FWS). The FWS was set up following a 3 year grant from the Big Lottery Fund and as this funding was coming to an end in 2018 the challenge was to find continuation funding to keep the service going.

The funding secured for the Financial Wellbeing Service for the next 3 years came from three main funders; The Henry Smith Charity, The Robertson Trust and the R S Macdonald Trust. The Robertson Trust and the R S Macdonald Trust have both previously supported our work and we have a good relationship with them. Securing funding from ‘cold’ trusts is much more difficult, cold trusts are trusts that we do not have a connection with and have never supported us. On average just 10% of applications to cold trusts are successful. So how do we increase these odds?

In June this year we were successful in receiving support from the Henry Smith Charity, a cold trust, securing a total of £178,000 over 3 years. The Henry Smith Charity is amongst the largest independent grant makers in the UK, distributing over £30 million in 2017, so we were delighted to be able to secure this support!

Being able to demonstrate both the need for the service and the positive impact the FWS has had on the lives of people living with HD in its first 3 years of operation enabled us to secure this funding. The application included information from an independent evaluation which provided strong evidence of what the service has achieved for families;

To date the Financial Wellbeing Service has generated an additional £2,173,345 of income for individuals and families living with HD.

It’s clear the service has had a significant impact on clients’ wellbeing with 76% reporting reduced levels of financial stress. Clients could feel that the service enabled them to cope more easily with day to day tasks, and had a positive impact on their mental health.

Being able to demonstrate the difference we make to people’s lives is our biggest strength. ‘The application made a good case for the need for this specific service and explained the challenges faced by your clients well’ Feedback received from The Henry Smith Charity.

The principles of trust fundraising are the same as community and individual fundraising – it is about engaging your audience, inspiring them and demonstrating that your cause is a worthy one.

Could you help to improve our funding applications?

It would be fantastic to be able to use more case studies within our funding applications. If you would be willing to share your story and experiences of using SHA’s services then please do get in touch.

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