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Getting funding for campaigns

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Securing funds for your campaign is key to deciding what level of campaigning you can undertake. This page covers the different ways of securing funds for your campaign.

Coordinating campaigning and fundraising

Campaigning and fundraising are closely linked. Most organisations fund their campaigns from voluntary income and cannot campaign without fundraising. Campaigners and fundraisers need to present ideas or issues in the most powerful way possible to successfully bring about supporter action and change.

If your campaigning and fundraising messages are significantly different, you may confuse or put off potential supporters, allies and campaign targets. During the early stages of any campaign it's useful to have a clear planning relationship with the fundraising function.

It is helpful to develop guidelines on your organisational tone and style and how your beneficiary group(s) will be depicted. One way to do this is to think about the different groups in your audience - supporters, campaigners, members and users etc - and to consider their needs.

Having a clear campaign concept will help you keep a coherent tone across your messaging. It's also important to maintain integrity and not to twist the evidence to fit your campaign message.

Online campaigning and fundraising

Donating online opens up many opportunities for raising campaign funds. Target-focused campaigns that ask people to raise money by a certain deadline are often successful. Online campaigning also makes it easier to respond to topical issues quickly.

It's important to balance the short term gains in income with the longer-term impact the campaign will have on your supporters and their understanding of the cause. It helps to have clear criteria in place about commercial relationships and conflict of interest so that these issues are decided in a consistent way.

Trusts and foundations

Trusts and foundations can provide sources of funding, often over a number of years, which you can use to build your campaign capacity for immediate and future campaigns.

Campaigning and political activity are sometimes seen as more risky or controversial than providing services. Funding applications may need to acknowledge this and present a clear case for your campaign. Being transparent and clear in your communication will help you work closely with your donor foundation so that everyone knows what to expect.

Trusts may also want organisations that can demonstrate a good reputation for managing public relationships with decision makers and the media. Change can often be long term or unpredictable and your applications to trusts and foundations may need to address this. Using your theory of change and providing a framework for evaluating your effectiveness can improve your funding chances.

More information on campaign funding can be found in NCVO’s booklet, Supporting Campaigning: A Funders Guide, by Brian Lamb.

Pro-bono support

The Latin phrase ‘pro bono’ means for the public good and is used to describe professional work done voluntarily without charge. Your stakeholder analysis could include identifying potential pro-bono support for your issues.

Media firms and law practices traditionally offer the most scope for helping with campaigns, but you could also approach film makers or web designers who are interested in your issue or are looking for an opportunity to showcase their skills. Social media platforms are a great way to tap into potential support for a campaign.

Page last edited May 18, 2017

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