Getting help

Unless you're very unlucky, you should be able to get some help locally at no cost, though the quality of it may vary. Some advice and information may be worth paying for - it may be worth going on a training course, for instance, or buying a book. Just occasionally it may be worth spending money on a consultant to help you with your fundraising, but that certainly shouldn't be your first thought.

Whatever you do, remember that, ultimately, it's your organisation - not the adviser, or the author of the book - that's asking someone for financial support. Trust your own judgement. And take responsibility for your own actions.

Because money is such a central problem for voluntary organisations, and because successful fundraising is dependent upon so many other things - appropriate legal structure, effective management, competent accounting, not to mention knowing the right words to use - it's hard to predict what information and which organisations will be useful sources of help and advice. Only some of the sources listed below are likely to be appropriate for your group; don't think you have to explore all of them.


Local development agencies (LDAs)

This is a term used to describe all sorts of organisations that help 'develop' local voluntary and community groups. LDAs do a number of different things: offer practical assistance to local groups, be a 'voice' for the local voluntary sector, set standards, develop new initiatives and groups and (sometimes) give out money on behalf of funders. Councils for Voluntary Service (CVS) and Rural Community Councils (RCCs) are examples of local development agencies but there are other resource centres and 'umbrella organisations' called all sorts of different things. CVS and RCCs may also be called other things: Voluntary Action, Council of Social Service, Council of Voluntary Organisations are all possibilities.

Some areas have specific funding information organisations. They too have a variety of names. South Yorkshire Funding Advice Bureau and Funding Information North East are examples of dedicated funding advice agencies.

You may find that your local authority can point you in the direction of your nearest LDA or funding advice agency.
Or try one of the following:

  • ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England). The website has links to some local Rural Community Councils.
  • FRCC (Federation of Rural Community Councils) is a network of mostly northern RCCs that are not members of ACRE. Contact North Yorkshire RCC William House, Shipton Road, Skelton, York, YO3 6XW telephone 01904 645271 for more details.
  • NAVCA (National Association for Voluntary and Community Action- national means England). The website allows you to find your nearest CVS.


Specialist Agencies

If you are an arts organisation, you should be able to get advice (or at least get the contact details of somewhere appropriate) from the Arts Council. Similarly Sport England, should provide help if you are a sports group. Age Concern helps groups working with older people. The Housing Association Charitable Trust (HACT) provides advice on funding to small groups working in the area of housing and homelessness. Ask about. If you are the branch of a national organisation, check out what help you can get from 'head office', or a regional office.


Local council

Your local authority probably has officers that 'liaise' with the voluntary sector and may employ other staff, like community development workers, who are knowledgeable and helpful about funding for voluntary and community groups. Don't think of your local authority just as a source of possible grant aid - it may provide information and advice too. Check out links on their website. Some local authorities provide access to a funding information portal.

Explore your local library service. They may have information about useful local contacts and will almost certainly be able to get you books. They may have subscriptions to fundraising software or Internet fundraising sites.


Books and other sources of information

If you're looking for books about how to do fundraising, don't worry too much about getting hold of the latest edition or the newest publication. But if you're looking for names and addresses and policy details, it really is crucial to get the most up-to-date edition you can. Libraries or local development agencies may have the publications you need.

The biggest publisher of books and periodicals on fundraising and funding sources is the Directory of Social Change (DSC), a national charity providing training, research and publications. Full details of DSC's training programme and all publications can be found at www.dsc.org.uk. DSC also organise the annual Charityfair event (workshops, discussions, speeches, bookshop, master classes, exhibition area and more) in London; this is a good way for new fundraisers to get a lot of training at reasonable cost.

DSC's main office is at 24 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2DP, Tel: 08450 77 77 07. In addition to books, DSC has developed a number of subscription websites providing information on grant-making trusts (www.trustfunding.org.uk), company giving (www.companygiving.org.uk), and funding for individuals (www.grantsforindividuals.org.uk).

Other websites offering funding information are:

www.regen.net A site with information (including funding information) about urban regeneration, rural regeneration, economic development and community development.

www.acf.org.uk ACF - the Association of Charitable Foundations - has a section on its website about UK charitable trusts. There are links and handy descriptions of each trust's interests.

www.fundraising.co.uk This is a free site and a useful resource for fundraising. It includes links to funders' websites, book lists, training courses and other resources linked to fundraising.

www.volresource.org.uk This is a free source of useful information on anything to do with running a voluntary organisation (whether a community group, charity, or other non-profit body). It includes some funding information.

www.charitychoice.co.uk This is a free resource that has been created to bring charities and charity supporters together produced by the Wilmington Group.  

www.fit4funding.org.uk The website of the CIB (Charities Information Bureau) containing a number of useful information sheets. They also offer an email newsletter (not free) with information on funding opportunities.

www.grantsonline.org.uk This is a web resource on grants from the European Union, UK government departments, the national lottery and UK grant-making trusts. There is a standard subscription of £150 plus VAT but small organisations may qualify for a discount. There is a free 7-day trial.

www.fundinginformation.org Produced by Profunding, this site has information about funding from grant-making trusts, companies, European funds, government schemes and National Lottery Boards. The annual subscription is from £300 + VAT.

www.rdinfo.org.uk Funded by the Department of Health, this site provides information on health-related research funding.