Starting to Fundraise

If you or your organisation is new to fundraising, there can be a lot to take on board. But, don’t worry! We provide a range of resources and support for those who are new to fundraising, whether you are working for a charity or volunteering.

There are many ways to fundraise for your chosen cause. You will need to think about what you want to achieve through your fundraising programme and decide on the best way to achieve that goal.  Find out more about different fundraising activities, developing a fundraising strategy and access further guidance and resources here.


Raising funds for a charity

There are many different ways that you can go about raising money for charity. Some people fundraise on a voluntary basis while for many others, it is a challenging, fulfilling and worthwhile career. Fundraising is hugely versatile and varies widely from organisation to organisation, depending on the size, cause, and activity of the charity.

But, before you get started, here are a few questions you will need to think through and be able to answer:


What rules do I need to know about? 

Before you get started, there are a few simple principles to remember for good fundraising. Essentially, your fundraising should always be legal, open, honest, respectful and accountable.  It’s about treating public honestly and decently, giving them the information they need to make an informed choice about their giving. 

Most of this is common sense, but it’s important to make sure you know the rules, particularly when it comes to specific issues like licences for public collections, how to handle donor data and protecting people in vulnerable circumstances. 

If you are volunteering for a charity, get in touch with the charity at the start as they are likely to be able to support you through the process. Find out more about volunteer fundraising. 

If you are a trustee, you have specific duties in relation to your charity’s fundraising programme.


Why should supporters give to your charity?

With so many registered charities, why should potential donors choose your charity? You will need to establish a clear case for support that fits in with your mission and goals, ensuring that everyone in your organisation understands and can explain the rationale to others. Once you have a consistent case for support, you will be able to communicate this more confidently to others.

Take a look at our short video: Case for Support.


What are your fundraising goals and how will you achieve them?

What do you hope to achieve from your fundraising programme and why? Think carefully about how much you need to raise and what this will enable your organisation to achieve. Your goals are important as they will provide a focus for any fundraising activity and form the basis of your strategy. This will also help you communicate to potential supporters the importance of their gifts.


Who might be potential donors or supporters and how will you engage them?

There is no one size fits all approach to fundraising. A successful programme is likely to need to engage a range of supporters (individuals, businesses, or other partners) through a mix of fundraising activities.

Explore which channels feel right for your charity, talking with your peers at other charities about their experiences; their successes and their failures. Find out about any trusts or foundations or local businesses you might be able to apply to for funding. Above all, don’t be afraid of having fun and thinking of new, innovative ways of reaching out to potential supporters.

You can also contact your local Voluntary Service Council for help in identifying any trusts or foundations that may fund individual causes like yours. Find your local voluntary service council online or by searching via the National Association of Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA).

Take a look at our short video: Introduction to Fundraising Techniques.


Who will help achieve your charity’s fundraising goals?

Everyone in a charity has a role to play in helping meet your fundraising goals. Talk to your colleagues and trustees about the approach you intend to take and why, ensuring that they feel engaged in the fundraising programme from the start and understand what they can do to support it. You may need the support of a fundraising specialist or third party. Find out more about working with third parties and trustees responsibilities for fundraising.


What next?

Starting to fundraise can be a daunting task, but there is plenty of support available within the sector and from us at the Institute of Fundraising. Join us as a member, or book in for one of our training courses or conferences. Network with your peers through one of our regional or specialist interest groups.

Take a look at our short video: Are you ready to fundraise?


Explore more:


sublanding Fundraising Strategy
Guidance on fundraising strategy
sublanding Volunteers and Trustees
Having the support of volunteers and your trustee board can make all the difference in developing a successful fundraising programme
sublanding Knowing the rules
There are many rules for charity fundraising and here we set out the key points you need to follow
sublanding Working with Third Parties
Charities often benefit from working with third parties to gain access to specialist fundraising expertise and reach new supporters