16 March 2015
Last year my job role changed a little; I took on the responsibility of helping to fundraise for the Charity. I’m a qualified youth worker but also have a Degree in Marketing. As I soon found out when I moved in to the charity sector three years ago, it’s all hands on deck! That means that if you have any hidden skills, talents or ambitions they will soon be put to good use.
So my youth work ‘hat’ has expanded to include some marketing and fundraising. Both are essential to the future of any charity. How can we ensure our future if people don’t know about us, if people don’t know about us who is going to support us? Money is tight everywhere at the moment and the charity sector has not escaped its share of cuts. But the reality is – it costs money to deliver the services we offer.
My job is to ensure YG are actively seeking new revenue from Trusts, Foundations and Grants. This are wonderful 'pots of cash' that have been set aside by wealthy individuals or giving organisations who want to support services like ours. Each 'pot of money' comes with a different criteria and a different application process. My job is to wheedle out the pots that fit with YG’s work and then put together an application that paints a clear picture of why we need the money, how we will use it and how we will show we have been successful.
It can be very time consuming to write a really great bid, it is highly competitive and often you have to wait a long time to hear whether you have been successful. But when you are, it really is a great feeling. It is great to know that someone read your application and thought, ‘yes, this is a great cause that we want to support!’ But that’s just the beginning of the job – now you have got the money, you need to make sure it is spent exactly how you said it would be, on time and in budget, whilst communicating with the funder about what the money has helped achieve.
This is just one avenue where YG seeks funding. We also work with colleges and community groups to deliver contracts, seek sponsorship from corporate partners and run fundraising activities. It’s a complex picture that means the charity’s funding is never guaranteed and can change throughout the year. As we near the end of the tax year I see Martin, our Finance Manager, with huge multi-coloured spreadsheets - I’m glad I have my job and not his!