Sustainable funding round-up – January: Across the income spectrum

One of the great things about the sustainable funding approach is that it looks at funding in the round – across all the income streams and everything that supports them. So a monthly round-up across the spectrum of income opportunities seemed entirely fitting.

As this is the first edition, it is a bit NCVO-heavy as we catch up on things that have happened recently. However, if you have seen something others may find useful, or an area that you would like us to look out for more information on, then please either tweet me @RosJTweets or leave a comment below. If it is suitable and there is space, then I will include your suggestions in the next month’s round-up.

Before we start, I’m going to give a headline plug to NCVO’s Funding Conference – which is a chance to come and have a look at opportunities and ideas across the income spectrum in person, here at NCVO. It’s on 29 February. More information at the bottom of this blog post.

So, here we go…

Strategy and governance in sustainable funding

Do you think your board properly understand the accounts, the budget and the pipeline when they see them (I’m hoping they see them?!). Do they ask the right questions? Do you think they understand the issues, assumptions and decisions that underpin them or are they just checking that they add up? The scandals that have hit the sector lately have often – quite predictably – found their root cause in governance.

In my latest blog post, I challenge trustees to ask the question ‘How do you know?’

I will also be running some practical training on the topic very soon.

Gift_economy_iconGifts and donations

The Fundraising Review and the Fundraising Preference Service

If you are interested in keeping up to date with the developments arising from the Fundraising Review, then read Elizabeth Chamberlain’s blog posts. The latest is on the ‘Opt-in’ working group, which will be looking at how charities can move to an ‘opt-in’ approach to communications (all communications – not just fundraising). There are also updates about the ‘Fundraising Preference Service’ (FPS), which will soon hold an online consultation. This is likely to be an ‘opt-out’ system, and cover just fundraising. Just to note here – much of the FPS is still in discussion. There is a lot of talk and speculation that I’m concerned may unduly worry organisations – or, perhaps even deter those who are looking to diversify their income and had been considering raising money from donations. As yet, nothing is set and, the working group are very aware of the needs of smaller organisations. So please don’t panic. I’ll flag the consultation when it goes live.

Interested in crowdfunding?

NESTA and NCVO are undertaking research into understand the key opportunities and challenges faced by charities, social enterprises and community groups who want to use crowdfunding to raise funds. If you are involved in fundraising – even if you’ve not taken part in crowdfunding yet, please take part. (Please do – it will be really interesting to see how the findings compare to what I found running the Crowdfunding Challenge back in 2012, when Crowdfunding was in its infancy)

Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme

NCVO, CFG and IoF are running a survey on the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme. NCVO’s Michael Birtwistle has written a blog post about why it’s important the sector feeds into the government consultation currently running on the scheme.

New Gift Aid declarations coming into force

The deadline for making changes to Gift Aid declaration forms is fast approaching. We’ve published a blog post outlining the changes to the forms and signposting the new model declarations HMRC has published.


Do you receive the Funding Central e-newsletters? If you sign up to the site, you can set a search profile and receive an alert whenever a relevant opportunity is added, or is about to close. For this reason, we won’t usually include funding opportunities in this round-up.

And if you are getting a bit fed up with your applications being rejected, then NCVO are again running our popular Writing Successful Bids one day course on 22nd January.

Structured_market_iconContracts (delivering public services)

Government spending

The outcome of the government’s spending review was published back in November, and the measures announced will begin to take affect from April this year. If your charity’s government funding is set to finish in March, have a read of Charlotte’s blog post, and if you’re thinking of diversifying into delivering contracts, take a look at Lev’s quick overview.

Social investment

Big Potential grants

Big Potential grants of up to £75,000 are available to enable organisations to prepare for social investment and up to £150,000 to build capacity to acquire contracts above £1M. NCVO is an approved support supplier for both of these grant funds. For more information, email

Free event – raising investment from individuals

We’re holding a free event on raising investment from individuals in Birmingham on 25 February. Find out more and book your place. This is a really interesting development in the world of social investment, a great way of engaging with your supporters and I suspect it may also appeal to those who have been worried about dealing with some of the larger investment providers.

Dormant assets

Up to £1billion has been earmarked for the sector under the Dormant Assets Commission. This will release money from dormant bank accounts and distribute it to the sector, probably via an intermediary. The Government’s press release does not yet commit to what type of funding the money will be channelled in to, or to what ends, but it is likely to follow the Big Lottery’s established programme. We don’t expect the money to be available imminently, but will flag when it is.

Wider issues

Return on investment (yet more mud-slinging)

You may have heard about the True and Fair Foundation’s report, which suggested that many charities have a terrible return on investment from their fundraising. We’ve published a guide on how to talk about the report, which has subsequently been roundly debunked.


NCVO Funding Conference in association with Kingston Smith

Join us on 29 February at our annual Funding Conference. This event brings together organisations seeking a joined up, sustainable approach to fundraising and income generation, with help from the very latest thinking and developments from across the sector.

Whether you want to develop your funding strategy, learn more about measuring your impact or explore different funding options, you will get practical advice and tools from experts to help your organisation.

Book your place today


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Avatar photo Ros is NCVO's lead in Sustainable Funding, promoting a more sustainable, suitable and strategic approach to generating income of all kinds - donations, grants, contracts and trading. @RosJTweets

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