Holding a team debrief following a major event or project is usual practice for many arts and heritage organisations.

But how often do you debrief on your fundraising plans?

If the answer is ‘not often’, ‘not at all’ or even….’fundraising plans?’– then it is time to take stock and reflect!

These conversations are so important to remind yourself of your funding successes and your strengths, to vent those frustrations and be honest about your areas for development.

The team at ArtReach held its regular fundraising debrief a couple of weeks ago. I facilitated a discussion with our team of producers to look back on our fundraising activities across the board and dedicate time to celebrate the big and little wins – they all count you see!

We reminded ourselves of our top tips for fundraising and here they are for you:

It is all about strategy

Acknowledge your fundraising strengths and areas for development. Research the whole funding mix available and spend time to ‘match-make’ funders/donors to your organisation, projects or events according to your track record and audiences.

Plan your projects first

Don’t be tempted to jump straight into writing an application or a communication to donors without a clear sense of what you are trying to achieve and what you plan to do. When we plan projects at ArtReach, we populate project planning triangles or logic models that can help us to write succinct funding proposals too. Check out free resources available from funders. One example includes ‘Taking an Outcomes Approach’ hosted by Youth Music.

Be succinct and really clear

In particular, take time to explain and proof bids that set out complex approaches. If, when proofing your application, something doesn’t feel right to you, then you need to re-write it. Only submit bids you feel 100% happy with—99% isn’t good enough. Choose a writing tool that works for you and your style.

Remember to say ‘thank you’ and share achievements

So, you have succeeded in a bid! Always say thank you and continue to share meaningful achievements and build the relationship. All funders (whether they are lottery funders, Trusts, or individuals) will remember how you managed your grant or gift. A missing or brief report or an unanswered email might be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful bid in future.

Got a hunch that you’re a perfect match? Don’t give up! 

Follow up unsuccessful bids with a short note to say how much you appreciate the time given in considering your application or approach and that you hope to apply in future. It all counts!

Finding income to support your work is challenging—but there’s no escaping it.

There is support out there though. ArtReach has helped hundreds of arts and heritage organisations to develop fundraising strategies and implement successful plans.  We can offer 121 support according to your budget and we host Fundraising Fundamentals workshops. The next workshop will be held at LCB Depot, Rutland Street, Leicester on 11 July.

Learn more about this workshop here: Fundraising Fundamentals

For more information and access to top tips, contact me (Lynn) on lynn@artreach.biz or call 0116 261 6882

Meanwhile, good luck with your bids and keep it up!