If you’re a charity who has won new funds / funders in this period, you need to think how to sustain and grow those relationships. Don’t stop at one-off funding. Think: how can we building a lasting relationship?
This isn’t hard, it just takes a bit of understanding that your relationship with funders is about more than the money. They want to be associated with great work, and you have knowledge, credibility and insights that they need.
Below is a copy-paste of some advice I shared (specifically with Black ending-Violence Against Women and Girls specialist charities I’ve worked with this year) about how to do this. I hope it helps.
I hope this finds you all very well, although it’s a heavy sky here in Hackney.
This morning it occurred to me that as you’ve all been successful in bringing in new funding and funders, the next task is to maintain and build those relationships. Rather than think about it as a financial transaction with funders, think about it as a relationship you want to build. If this is something you want to do, below are some ideas how.
Although we’re living and working through a very difficult period, there is change happening which you are driving and will benefit from. The wider world is becoming more conscious of racial disparity, and of the particular harms, trauma and discrimination suffered by the women you work with – and often your organisations. This means that funders are more conscious (perhaps than they have ever been) about the importance of your work and what and who you represent. They want to support you, they want to learn from you, and they want to be associated with you.
This should open up the opportunity to build long-term relationships with your funders – and to win repeat funding. In order to build your chances of this, be mindful of these relationships, and nurture them. Try and keep yourselves in the forefront of their minds. This will promote your organisation but also the communities you represent.
This needn’t be a lot of work for you, and isn’t complicated. If you start by thinking what it is they as funders want – and then provide that for them. I think what funders want from you is:
- To know their funding has made a difference to real people
- To know they’re supporting excellent organisations to be sustainable and bold
- To learn – about communities, needs, emerging, issues
- To be publicly associated with diverse, socially conscious work
You may have ideas of ways you can do this, and it doesn’t have to be often (maybe quarterly?) or long or take too much of your time but some ways could include:
- Occasional case studies showing how their work has affected real people
- These could be videos, photos or written
- Sharing observations and data about your communities and their needs are changing
- You are the funders’ best source of understanding communities, so help build their knowledge
- Explain any changes you see, like rises in mental health and why you think that is
- Remember that you are experts with valuable knowledge: funders want and need to hear this
- Using social media to tag them in updates about your work
- Update them on positive changes within your organisation – as well as some of the challenges you’re facing, and the goals you have for the future
I hope this helps. I really think your funders want to align with you and want to work with you: the door is open. If you find ways to push at it – ways you feel comfortable with and have time for – you can position yourselves well for repeat funding.