Competition for grants is getting tougher, conference is told

Susan Robinson of the Institute of Fundraising says charities can improve applications by showing they spend money well

Institute of Fundraising trainer Susan Robinson
Institute of Fundraising trainer Susan Robinson

Competition for grants is going to become "much tighter" and trusts will want to see more evidence that their money will be well spent, a fundraising expert has warned.

Susan Robinson, trainer and assessor at the Institute of Fundraising, said charities should look at what is being said about them on the internet, given that more websites analysing charities’ financial information were being created.

"If you are spending a lot of money on fundraising one year, add a note explaining why," she told delegates at this week’s Institute of Fundraising Scotland conference in Glasgow.

Robinson added that funders would be expecting charities to demonstrate much closer links with their charitable purpose.

"If your work has drifted a long way from it, you may want to talk to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator about changing it," she said.

She said setting fundraisers targets for applications to trusts and foundations each month was not the right response to tough times. "Often then 20 bad ones just get sent," she said. "And those letters will stay on files."

Robinson also told delegates not to forget the obvious, and that it was worth applying to trusts and foundations that start with letters further down the alphabet because often charities get an alphabetical list of grant-makers and start at the top with their applications.

"You run out of steam by the time you reach ‘l’," she said.

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