Website URL : http://www.chichesterinpartnership.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=20028

The Fundraising Hub

Introduction

Over £230,000 has been raised for local community groups in the last year thanks to the Fundraising Hub and a team of volunteers.


The Fundraising Hub was set up by Voluntary Action Arun & Chichester (VAAC), with support from the University of Chichester and funding from Chichester in Partnership. Another 13 fundraising opportunities are waiting to be confirmed and added to the amount already raised.

Fundraiser hub volunteers - April 2012

The hub provides affordable fundraising support to local groups and organisations. It has one full time paid fundraiser, who has recently created and supported a team of eleven volunteers who have been trained in fundraising.

"This is an exciting and innovative project that is really making a difference to our local community groups and organisations in the current financial climate," says Cllr Heather Caird, Chair of Chichester in Partnership and Leader of Chichester District Council.

"The volunteers have recently completed a bespoke course run by the University of Chichester where they have been learning the skills to be community fundraisers. They all come from a variety of backgrounds and have worked extremely hard to make a difference in the local communities. I was really pleased to present them with their certificates with their fundraising accreditations at our recent Chichester in Partnership meeting."

Julie Budge, Senior Fundraiser of the hub, says: "Our fundraising hub is all about raising funds for local groups who work so hard for the local community - each success be it £500 or £100,000+ gives us a real buzz as we know we make a real difference to local people out there who are working so hard to make it happen. The hub success is due to wonderful team energy, commitment and ability to learn and share what we do. A big thank you must go to our fabulous volunteers, our first set of organisations who bravely joined us and our partners. Long may we develop, grow and succeed."

The Fundraising Hub is a not-for-profit initiative that has been designed to allow both larger and smaller local voluntary and community organisations access to help find fundraising. Slices of the paid fundraiser's time are available for larger local voluntary and community organisation to purchase. Smaller, volunteer- led organisations have access to the bank of volunteer fundraisers and will only be expected to pay their expenses.

The benefits of the Fundraising Hub include:

  • being cheaper than paying for a fundraising consultant and there are cost efficiencies to be made by investing in this initiative rather than purchasing a part time worker in house;
  • they work alongside the volunteer centre to support fundraising campaigns where needed;
  • the team of volunteer fundraisers are encouraged to develop different areas of knowledge, allowing the project to have a much wider knowledge base than one individual working on their own;
  • VAAC already has a track record of providing funding advice and fundraising support for voluntary and community action; and,
  • VAAC is a member of the Institute of Fundraising and is signed up to its code of practice and has access to its resources.

Local groups that are being supported include: Chichester Area MIND, Snakshak, Manhood Wildlife & Heritage trust, St Anne's Centre, Sage Counselling Service, Unity Arts, Lymphodema Support group, Headway, Transition Chichester, Selsey Timebank, Selsey and District Carers, Chichester Information Centre for Young People, Outset Youth Action, and 4Sight.

Summary of achievements in the first year:

  • The target to raise £140,000 in the first year was exceeded. The hub raised over £250,000 for local community groups in the first year
  • Chichester MIND is buying into the senior fundraisers time and temporary contracts have been negotiated with other organisations.
  • The project was reviewed by Chichester District Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee whereby the committee commended the project as a tremendous and successful initiative. Members acknowledged the excellent work that was being done by VAAC and the impressive results that has already been achieved.
  • The university commissioned an independent evaluation report on the course and the volunteer part of the project. This found that the return on investment (ROI) is 198% (this is a snapshot calculation taken at the end of February 2012). The report completed an online survey and telephone interviews with participating organisations and results were very positive. 88% of respondents believed that the volunteer had helped them to communicate their message, be better prepared for bids, widen their knowledge about available funding, improve their ability to put together a case for support, improve their capability and save time in putting together future bids. 77% felt that they could be more confident about the future, improved their knowledge about what fundraisers do, increase their capacity to bid for funds, think more strategically, make more different funding bids, find out about potential sponsors, and focus on mission and strategies.
  • 10 volunteers trained in a University of Chichester Fundraising module.
  • Some of the comments from organisations are:

"We found it difficult to move to the next stages: our project has potential and we want to step up a notch. And that's where the programme came in ... it excellent timing"

"We're now aware that bid writing is a skill and a sector in its own right: we've had our perspectives back to front: it adds to our sustainability. If we have 10k to pay a part time fundraiser, which could generate many more thousands"

The first year of this innovative project has been a great success, the employment of an experienced fundraiser with a passion for the project and a group of dedicated volunteers coming forward has really helped to take the project forward. The project is funded for another year and targets have been set which can be found in the Work plan at the end of this document.

If your organisation would like more information about the hub, or if you would like to volunteer to be part of the hub, please contact Kate Scales on 01243 840305.