12 ways to improve funding for charities and community organisations
Cost-saving ideas for charities and local clubs.
Generating more income for a charity or club
Running a club or charity can be incredibly rewarding, however, they’re usually more susceptible to financial hurdles. Finding extra money in the budget to cover essential costs can be challenging let alone making savings for a rainy day.
The good news is there are many ways to help improve funding for charities and community organisations, without resorting to drastic cost-cutting measures - helping you to start saving money. We’ve pulled together 12 practical, yet simple, ways to save money for your non-profit organisation.
1. Find the right savings account
Keeping track of your money is important and, as such, most community groups will already have a bank account set up for everyday transactions and grant applications. But what about savings?
Tucking money away for a rainy day, or saving to reach a goal, can be as important as your everyday finances and it starts with setting up the right kind of savings account.
Here at Furness, we have two types of partnership savings accounts for charities and clubs:
- For when you don’t need instant access to the savings
- Access your funds with 100 days' notice
- Start saving from £1,000
- Variable interest rate
- Access your savings at any time
- Start saving from £1
- Variable interest rate
Who can open our partnership savings accounts?
Our non-corporate accounts are designed for when savings are to be held in trust for a club, charity or unincorporated association.
2. Swap traditional advertising for low-cost alternatives
Whilst having a large advertising campaign would be fantastic, sometimes budgets just don’t stretch that far. Thankfully, there are some low-cost ways to get your message out there. All that’s required is time and a little support from the local community on social media. When done right, social media promotion can be quite powerful. This, in turn, can help generate more funding for community projects and non-profit organisations.
Firstly, identify your audience and the social media channels that they’re using. If you’re targeting a younger crowd then you might try TikTok - or for parents try Facebook groups or Instagram.
Secondly, utilise your employees and/or volunteers to get the message across. People want to see real people on social media, especially when it comes to what’s going on in their local communities. By getting your team involved you can help further expand your reach.
Thirdly, monitor your content to see what’s working for you. This will help you identify a pattern in the types of content that are impacting positively on your business, and the types that aren’t.
Lastly, be patient. Social media success doesn’t generally happen overnight and it does require an investment of time to build an online presence from scratch.
3. Don’t forget the ‘human touch’
Never underestimate the power of the ‘human touch’ when it comes to promoting your organisation. Something as simple as a handwritten thank you note can make you stand out to potential customers and/or donors. It’s this sort of attention to detail that creates a memorable customer experience and it doesn’t cost the earth either.
4. Recruit sponsors and organise fundraisers
If you’re a local club or non-profit organisation, recruiting sponsors and arranging fundraisers are great ways to raise some extra funding for a community organisation. They also help raise awareness in the long term.
With an event in place, you can look for sponsors to help carry the cost of running the event, in exchange for advertising during the event. This usually works out to be an even trade, as both the event organiser and the sponsor benefit from the exposure.
5. Seek out community support
You may find larger organisations have initiatives in place to support organisations like yours in their local areas. Here at Furness, we’re extremely active in our community with fundraising events, charity donations and the Furness Community Awards Scheme.
Our popular Community Awards Scheme gives local people the chance to apply for a £150 award on behalf of a charity, club or local organisation. How that money is used is entirely up to you - it could be anything from a fundraising event to a new sports kit or new equipment.
For more information and to apply, check out our Furness Community Awards Scheme page.
6. Embrace remote working
If the past couple of years has taught us anything it’s that working from home is a perfectly viable option. Does your team need to be in an office every day to fulfil their roles? If the answer is no, then consider remote working as a way your company can save money.
If you need to maintain an official HQ, you may be able to move to a smaller, cheaper space. Alternatively, you could look to rent out any unused space in your building to other organisations looking to downsize as well. Just remember to check the conditions of your lease before you sub-let.
7. Go green and save money
An increasingly popular way for all types of companies to save money. Going green not only helps the environment but also helps your savings.
If possible, go paperless to reduce your overall paper usage and printer costs. You should also encourage the whole team to get into the habit of switching off any electronic devices that aren’t currently in use. Plus, if you’re embracing remote working, fewer people in the office means less energy usage.
8. Review your expenses
You should review your income and outgoings regularly to ensure you’re making the most of available funds. Consider what you’re paying for and if you could get it cheaper. Also, ask yourself if you genuinely need it and, if so, what the return on your investment is.
Remember, both the economy and your organisation are susceptible to change, so regular financial reviews will ensure you aren’t spending more than you need.
9. Switch to the cloud
Using cloud-based software - such as Google Drive - not only enables your team to work from anywhere, but it’s much cheaper than maintaining an internal server. These require an upfront investment in hardware, in addition to regular maintenance and future upgrades. Cloud servers don’t require any additional equipment and can be added to as and when needed for a minimal cost.
10. Negotiate with your landlord
If you absolutely must maintain your office space, try negotiating rates with your landlord. Most landlords want to keep hold of good, reliable tenants. So, if you’ve been there a while and always pay on time, it’s worth speaking with your landlord to see if you can negotiate a better deal.
11. Declutter your space
Giving your space a good spring clean will not only make you and your team feel less stressed and more productive, but it has some great cost-saving benefits too. For example, you could…
- … raise extra funds by selling items you no longer need.
- … upcycle older furniture that could still be useful, rather than buying new.
- … make better use of what you have and avoid accidentally buying items you already own.
12. Take advantage of the apprenticeship levy
Small businesses and charities can apply for an apprenticeship levy donation. This means that the funds donated to pay for the training of new apprentices, as long as the donor agrees with the type of apprenticeship being offered. This funding should cover 100% of the training and assessment costs.
It’s important to note, however, that the levy cannot be used for the following:
- Paying for an existing member of staff to undertake training.
- Paying the wages of an apprentice.
- Paying for an apprentice’s travel and/or accommodation costs.
- Paying for any PPE required for the apprentice.
- Paying for an employer to develop its own training programme.
More information about the apprenticeship levy guidelines can be found on the gov.uk website.