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How to increase your charity's income from corporate funding and public donations

A young girl shouting through a megaphone
Are you wasting your energy shouting the wrong messages?

If you work with a charity as part of their core team, or for a corporate who sponsors one to increase its CSR, you might wonder how things could just be, well, better. Lots of us feel frustrated that the work we do doesn’t achieve what we want it to, or takes longer than we plan to reach goals, but it’s often the case that we don’t know the full extent of the problem reducing our impact.


As individuals, we can’t know the ins and outs of several roles within an organisation, but we can take steps to improve our knowledge as a team, and therefore, our chances of success.


This post looks specifically at the success of funding for charities through public donations and corporate funding, but if you’re reading this as someone who works for a corporate sponsor, you will find suggestions you could take directly to the organisations you support too.


A shocking 70% of managers in charities don't feel their communications strategy has a direct link to their organisational goals.*


Furthermore, 50% of managers in charities don't feel their comms department works cohesively enough with fundraising to meet their goals.*


There's some serious misalignment going on, and worse, this seems to be the norm.


As a charitable organisation dependent on funding, you want:


-       Income from varied streams

o   Corporate funding

o   Public donations

o   Grants funding


All 3 types of funding depend on:


-       Clear objectives

-       Case for support

-       Key messaging


Most charities will have a dedicated fundraising manager, but without expertise in communications, their role is made harder and funds become less accessible without extensive knowledge of the messages your audience needs to receive.


Let’s break it down into the two main areas we focus on.


To access corporate funding, you must show the benefits of supporting you.


We work directly with corporate sponsors to uncover their specific needs that will unlock funding for organisations. By understanding their needs and providing a clear route to achieve them, your organisation could substantially increase its funding. One route to achieving this is by partnering with a consultancy like us and specifically requesting this research.


To access public donations, your target audience needs to be clearly defined and met with the correct key messages.


Many charities define a pen portrait or audience profile early on in their fundraising and marketing development, but few revisit this. What this creates is a target audience who have aged, changed demographics and matured their priorities, and could be receiving messages from you which are not compatible with their motivations to support.


Where does this leave you?


By understanding these two points, you might start to realise how your work around matching communications up with other areas of your charity’s internal work is a crucial component to progressing in every area.


Here are a few suggestions you can implement today:


  •        Get your whole managerial team together, or if you don’t have departmental managers, the people who make up your key supporting roles in funding, marketing and programming.

o   Ask them how often their work interacts, what they feel they need from each other and what could change in the near future

o   Identify who needs protected time with each other to harness productive development in their work and provide this regularly

  •       Revisit your pen portrait or audience profile for your public donations and brainstorm how this might have changed. If your target audience was originally 30-45, but has now aged by 10 years, what changes have probably taken place in their lifestyles and motivations?

  •      Schedule a key messaging workshop and get your core team together for an in-person deep dive session to uncover your organisation’s blocks and the next steps to achieving your goals. Find out more here


For more support, Ella St Communications works with charities and corporates on a consultancy basis. Here’s a few things we do:


-       Consult on key projects including communications audits, strategies and marketing campaigns

-       Support your in-house team with copywriting and design with our specialist team

-       Provide ongoing support with our retainer packages starting at one day per month


*Stats from research into charity management from Ella St Communications key messaging workshops.

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