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How to prepare for income generation

This guide is written for community centres but will be useful to any small charity looking to generate income.

Community centres are under pressure. To survive and grow, many are looking to reinvent themselves. They are working to attract new audiences and find regular and reliable sources of income rather than concentrating on fundraising.

Before you start looking at opportunities to generate income, it is important to create the right culture. The following four steps will guide you on the right path.



Start by creating a budget so you are clear about how much it costs to run your community centre each year. Remember to include a separate list of other one-off costs such as equipment.

Need help writing a budget? For top tips on practising good money management and how to write a budget read ‘5 steps to fundraising success’.


Cut costs

Review all of your running costs for your community centre.

Get new quotes from energy, water, insurance and other service providers to see whether you can find better deals.

Reduce your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint by going green. For example, you could:

  • install energy efficient light bulbs
  • reduce water bills by using water saving devices available from your water supplier such as tap flow regulators and bags which reduce the amount of water used by toilets
  • replace old electrical equipment with new energy efficient products. You could apply to capital funders for the cost of the new equipment.
  • research insulation, eco heating opportunities and electric generation options. Community centres have to be warm and welcoming so many centres face high heating and electric bills. With eco options, not only could you generate your own energy you may be able to generate income from it too. The government’s scheme The Green Deal offers financial support to install green improvements to both households and community spaces. For more information visit PlanLoCal.

Set a target

What total income do you already have secured from funders and other sources? Deduct your total income figure from your total annual running costs to create your income target. What percentage of the target would you like to secure through grants and what percentage would you like your community centre to generate itself? It is important to be clear about what you need.


Read your governing document and policies

Before you start generating income, check that your intended activities are in-line with your organisation’s aims and objectives. These should be described in your governing document.

Do your intended activities need any new policies or risk assessments?

Further information

This guide is based on a Tennyson Insurance blog post from July 2015 written by fundraising consultant Gemma Kingsman.

Tennyson Insurance is now part of Zurich Insurance.


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Page last edited Feb 28, 2018 History

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