Understand a donor’s motivation and then help them achieve their goals

It’s essential to be open and flexible in your approach when working with a large donor or philanthropist, especially around what motivates them to give. You may be surprised. Being open and attentive in early meetings will help you to respond to a donor’s needs. It can even uncover exciting new benefits.

Jenni Giblin recalls working with the owner of a business who had given a lot to local projects over the years. She believed the owner was ready to leave a lasting legacy by donating a significant amount to help build a new sports complex. In a series of meetings over several years, a strong relationship was built. This benefactor became ready to commit the funding to help build the facility.

The donor accepted traditional benefits like branding and naming rights, but he also explained that he was looking for something future. What he really wanted was to use the process to help educate his family about the power of philanthropy and sponsorship. This insight enabled Giblin Group to tailor the process to help.

His children were brought into the conversations and took over much of the negotiations towards the end. New skills and connections were established that will extend beyond even this great project. If we had not listened, we may have missed a vital clue; this was about more than just a logo to this benefactor. Now, the relationship is stronger than ever.


Get ready to talk about impact

When you’re deeply involved in making a positive impact, it can sometimes be hard to explain it with a few concise messages. Where should you start? We’ve put together five questions to help you think about your impact so you can talk about it with funders.

What are the monetary benefits?

Not-for-profits and community groups are exceptional at creating non-monetary benefit. But, they can create monetary benefits as well. Consider how your work might reduce societal costs like in healthcare, or waste management. Also, many community groups indirectly lift the economic potential of their target community. Impact like this all adds up.

What are the non-monetary benefits?

When you think about the non-monetary benefits, don’t stay too narrow. Explore where you can make an impact beyond the main community you’re focused on. Perhaps others in your region could benefit from what you’re doing. Maybe the whole country could! As an example, facilities in a community can often become a hub for all kinds of interest groups to build broad social connectedness and wellbeing.

How can you show there’s community support for the impact you’re working towards?

Not-for-profit and community groups work best when they focus on doing something ‘in’ and ‘with’ the community; not ‘to’ it. Potential funders will also want to know the community is behind an organisation they’re looking to support. Funding HQ has thorough guidance on demonstrating community support to win funding. The platform also includes insights about working with people of influence.

Who are the ‘faces’ of your impact?

Any good story is brought to life by its characters. The same goes for talking about your impact. When we can empathise with real people, it’s easier for us to understand and engage with something. So, look for those in your community who can talk about how your work has affected them. Their stories are a great way to unlock people’s compassion and support. Check out our blog on finding and telling stories for fundraising here.

How will you measure your impact?

You need to be clear about how you’ll monitor the success and progress of your work. This helps you plot the journey towards your organisation’s goals. It also shows potential funders what positive and sustainable change you’re delivering.

Funding HQ has comprehensive guidance on measuring and reporting on impact. Also, the Funding HQ Template Pack has a Reporting Template which is a useful place to start with preparing reports to your funders. 

Reach your funding potential

In conclusion, when you talk to funders, don’t get so focused on the ‘what’ that you forget the ‘why’. Keep your goals and outcomes top of mind. It helps to be ready to explain what funding means for your organisation’s impact on the lives of those in your community.

Funding HQ has many more ideas and gives you frameworks to help you succeed. Find out if it’s a fit for your organisation here.


Triple Win – When two charities share one sponsor

When you’ve had a long-term sponsorship, any changes have the potential for headaches and heartache. But, if you’re prepared to step up, innovate and collaborate, there are wins to be had. 

In 2011 AMI Insurance had a long-term charity partner in the Malaghan Medical Institute. When AMI began sponsoring Wellington Round the Bays Fun Run, The Institute saw an opportunity. They noticed the event organiser is a fellow not-for-profit, Sport Wellington. 

Together, the three organisations set themselves up as equal major partners of the event. Co-operative planning saw them pool ideas and resources for shared activation. They developed messaging to meet the vision of all three, Run For Research.

The partners all gained more value by collaborating. For example, as the event began to sell out, Sport Wellington let Malaghan take the final 200 tickets. The Institute was then able to sell these ‘last chance’ tickets to their database at premium prices. They created packages with special after-run extras like foot massages and a BBQ. So, those who bought the tickets got great value too!

All the partners came out as winners through this collaboration. The Malaghan Research Institute was able to raise a lot of money and increase its membership database. Sport Wellington had amazing activations at their event for no extra cost. Finally, AMI Insurance was able to give effective support to two charity partners at once. This created synergies for both causes and reduced the time the sponsor spent in managing its two sponsorships.

Source: Sport New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards 2013 – Commercial Partnerships Excellence Award

Fundraising Webinars

[Webinar 2] An insider’s guide to local government funding

Funding HQ’s upcoming lunchtime webinar on Monday 30 November will provide expert tips on developing an effective funding relationship with your local Council, and we’d love you to join us. 

This webinar is part of Funding HQ’s series that aims to help you reach your funding potential. It will feature one of Funding HQ’s in-house experts, Craig Ireson who has over ten years’ experience in local government. He’s worked with councils of every size throughout the country.
Craig will share his insider’s insights to:

  • understand the different types of council funding available
  • find your champion inside the council
  • bust some myths about how councils work
  • highlight the dangers of loose lobbying and playing politics
  • lift the lid on how making a project ‘local’ helps gain funding and support.

Funding HQ steps you through a comprehensive and practical process for developing effective funding relationships with your local Council and provides tools and templates for ensuring your project aligns with their strategic priorities. 

This is the second webinar in our series that aims to give you more insight into how Funding HQ can help you reach your funding potential.
Places are limited, so please register early to make sure you don’t miss out.


Date:  Monday 30 November

Time:  12.30pm – 1.30pm

Register Now


Having a compelling case for investment is more important than ever to win funding

Writing a compelling case for funding support and investment can feel like an overwhelming exercise. This is made even harder for community organisations that have competing priorities, limited resources and time constraints. It’s one of the key reasons I developed Funding HQ. Working with local community organisations and not-for-profits over the years, it became clear that many organisations didn’t know where to go for funding or how to ask. This has become more of a problem in the last few months as some funding streams have dried up and funders are requiring more detail and better relationships with organisations.

However when you get your case for funding right it will provide a key stepping stone in building your relationship with a donor, helping them to capture the spirit of your campaign or project, and demonstrating how their contribution will help grow a vibrant community.

Start with ‘Why’

As you begin to write your case for investment, keep your goals and impact front of mind. Think about what investment will mean for your organisation and especially for the lives of those in your community. Explain why it is important to solve the problem now. A sense of urgency is vital, but you must also allow the community an opportunity to get involved and help shape the project. Show that you’re working ‘with’ your community, not ‘on’ them.  

Funding sources

Developing a case for investment will help you identify a wider spectrum of funders who may be interested in supporting your organisation. The charging environment means you might have to look at a number of different or alternative funding opportunities. You may not immediately see a need for your organisation to have all of the streams of funding, but building an understanding of how they all work together is valuable.

When you are considering funding sources, look for alignment between your goals and that of the funding organisation. Funding HQ can really help you demonstrate how your organisation aligns with a funder’s priorities and requirements.

Building your case

One of the key watch-outs when building your case is to check that you meet the funder’s criteria. Understanding what a funder wants to hear is more important than everything you might want to say.

Make sure you are:

  1. Succinct
  2. Clear
  3. Authentic
  4. Inspiring
  5. Honest
  6. Compelling
  7. Persuasive

Don’t forget to show that your organisation is well-managed, well-governed and has the ability to achieve the desired outcomes.

Be sure to identify what other community support you have. Even the smallest of contributions can have a strategic influence and signal to larger funders that your project has community support.

Demonstrating impact

When you’re demonstrating the outcome make sure you highlight what it will mean for the funder and how their contribution will impact the community. If you have any impact stories, share these with your funders as a clear demonstration of what you can achieve.

If you need help building your compelling case, Funding HQ has many more ideas and gives you frameworks to help you succeed. Find out if it’s a fit for your organisation here.