Funding Innovation – Great Resources

Olof Williamson was a Senior Consultant at NCVO, looking at the latest thinking on funding, finance and public services. Olof has left NCVO and his posts have been retained for here for reference.

If you work for a charity you might have noticed that money is not exactly lying around in heaps at the moment.  But in a competitive funding environment you can often get ahead by being innovative in your approach.  Here are some resources to help you get the edge.

A new ask

Sometimes the only way to get people’s attention as a voluntary and community organisation (VCO) is to present your work and your “ask” in a new way.  Draw inspiration from how others have done it by taking a look at SOFII (the Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration).  There are tons of examples on here, particularly focusing on fundraising from individuals.  Some highlights I found included:

Another interesting read on the site is influential fundraiser Ken Burnett’s article on ’15 things I would do if I were the new head of donor development’ (see SOFII Top Tips page).

Innovation is not just for fundraising

Of course you’d be making a mistake if you thought innovation was just about bringing in new income.  It is so much more than that.  Innovation Matters is a great little publication that sets out what innovation means for VCOs and how it can be applied to all aspects of your work.

A key nugget from Innovation Matters is the idea that:

Innovation is simply “successful implementation of new ideas” i.e. Innovation = new idea + trying it + success

Though of course you should learn from failure.  As the authors Mitch Sava and Katherine William-Powlett say,

“… failure is a natural by-product of innovation and experimentation.”

But they add,

“A failure is only really a failure if the organisation fails to learn from it or persists with something that is not working for too long.”

From later this month Katherine will be blogging here on all things innovation.

Innovation Matters is on the Innovation pages and is also available as a free PDF – Download Innovation Matters (1Mb).  Read it and challenge some of your preconceptions about innovation in the voluntary sector.

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