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Generally the public phase only starts when the private phase has been completed.  This is when some 60-80% has been raised from gifts ranging from £25,000 to £1,000,000 or maybe more.  This is usually the most difficult decision to keep to. It is always tempting to launch the public phase early, but it is wise that we go through the private phase first.

The public phase begins with a public launch using everything we can to publicise the appeal that galvanises the public to fundraise for the appeal. We would need to use all the contacts we have, including close local media contacts. We can advise on certain events and ways to support this public phase fundraising.  

public phase

This is the most important part of the whole appeal process.  The recruitment phase ends with us documenting all the contacts of both appeal committee members and for the appeal patrons (and others who are willing to support us) and then organising bespoke approaches to these individuals.

Generally speaking the appeal committee members aim for major donors (of all levels) and the appeal patrons help with approaches to trusts & foundations. However there is much ‘cross-over’ between these two and with some good organisation we can maximise on all the people we have in these two groups.

Major Donors/HNWIs

We will work with the appeal committee members to get them to go out and ask the High Net-Worth Individuals (HNWIs) they know personally, for support. Some will have done this already for other appeals and some will be new to it. The consultant can support them and train them to undertake this asking.

Trusts & Foundations

We will visit each appeal patron and ascertain their contacts in detail.  Once this has been done we decide on who is going to approach whom, and then manage these approaches by compiling and using a Networking Chart.  Then a letter campaign is organised which ensures that personal letters are sent to the trustees of major and relevant trusts with a ‘private’ approach.  Only after an exchange of personal letters do we actually send a formal application to the trust administrator/director.  This methodology increases income from trusts by some four- to five-fold as opposed to simply sending ‘cold’ applications.

Corporate support

An appeal might be the right vehicle for some businesses to consider some serious corporate support . Furthermore they may well be interested in some kind of recognition for this in the form of a naming right on the new building somewhere.

feasibility study

Depending on a number of factors, such as size of appeal total, resources available, popularity of the cause, level of existing support to the charity etc. the length of an appeal can vary. 

But to give some idea, a £2 million building appeal for a local hospice that has a donorbase of some 6,000 people and is currently generating some £4 million each year for its revenue costs will take about two years. For such a capital appeal the timeframe might be as follows:

Preparatory Phase              - months 1-5

Feasibility Report               - month 4

Private Phase                    - months 6-18

Public Phase                      - months 18-24

recruitment stage

Every appeal is very different and has its own nuances and characteristics, but usually they keep to a similar structure that we have found works well. 

There are three phases:
1.Preparatory Phase

  • Research Stage
  • Resources Stage
  • Recruitment Stage

2.Private Phase
3.Public Phase

private phase

Guild Care New Dementia Care Home, Worthing
​“Paddy helped us with our appeal to raise £1.5 million towards our largest project ever costing some £7.5 million. In his time here, he has been thoroughly professional, showing expertise and knowledge in all areas of fundraising, but especially with supporting our efforts in raising £850,000 from trusts and foundations. The networking he undertook unearthed over 100 contacts with people ranging from local landowners to trustees of some of the UK’s largest trusts.  It was a pleasure to work with Paddy, his passion and enthusiasm shines through at all times and, above all, he completely understands the ways of funders and the voluntary sector. Many thanks.”

Trustee, Guild Care

resources stage

appeal timescale

Towards the end of the Preparatory Phase (maybe around four months into the campaign) it is usually a good idea to undertake a Feasibility Study.  This will look at the activity so far, the numbers of donor prospects found, the numbers of connections/contacts unearthed, how popular the project/appeal is with ‘high-level’ people and funders etc. This together with the ‘feel’ of the appeal so far will produce a Feasibility Report that will conclude one of four things:

  1. It will not be possible to raise any significant funds for this appeal
  2. It is possible to raise the appeal total in the proposed timeframe
  3. It will not be possible to raise the appeal total but it is possible to raise £x in the timeframe discussed
  4. It will not be possible to raise the appeal total in the proposed timeframe but it will be possible if we extend the time frame to xx years/months


preparatory Phase

Research is vital for a successful result:

  • Philanthropic wealthy individuals and families interested in the cause/project/area
  • Relevant UK Trusts and Foundations (local, regional & national)
  • Relevant local companies
  • Prospective Appeal Chair and Committee Members
  • Prospective Appeal Patrons (high-level people) 

It is important to get the research correct as, at the end of the day, it is likely that most of the money will come from relevant trusts & foundations, wealthy people connected to the charity/area and/or members of the appeal committee and some well-connected companies.

At the same time as the research is taking place we write, design and produce a

‘case statement’ that simply lays out all the reasoning for the appeal and costs it

out in detail (all with a donor’s point of view in mind).  This document will suit all

the needs of a prospective funder and will answer most of their questions.

No effective fundraising can begin until the case for support has been committed to writing and has become “owned” by all of the main advocates of the campaign.  Several drafts of the case are normally required before the final document Case Statement is ready.

It is important that the fundraising consultant or a very experienced fundraising practitioner writes and produces the case statement together with relevant people from within the charity.

Next we need to recruit two sets of people – the members of the appeal committee and some appeal patrons.

Appeal Committee Members

We need to try and recruit an Appeal Committee of some 4-5 members who each give a substantial gift and then go to their own contacts to get more gifts from them.  First we recruit the Chair then the Members. The decision on who to approach for Chair is an extremely important one – he/she would have to give or get a gift of approximately 10% of the appeal total

It is possible that each committee member has a particular role (e.g. high-end major donors, UK trusts & foundations etc.) but this depends entirely on whom we approach and how.  This would need to be discussed in detail at the right time. Each committee member would need to commit to give or get a substantial gift. The appeal committee will meet regularly (possibly every 6-8 weeks to begin with) when each committee member will review their approaches and ‘asks’. Asking training can be given and the consultant can be available to attend key ‘asks’ and support the volunteer ‘asker’.

It is possible to run an appeal without an appeal committee, especially for appeals ranging from £1.5million to £3 million. In the last 6-7 years it has becoming increasingly more difficult to recruit people to come onto an appeal committee. An appeal run without an appeal committee would still have a small group of trustees, senior staff and others to report to and to interact with.

Appeal Patrons (Ambassadors)

We need to recruit 6-7 appeal patrons.  These are ‘high-level’ people who have good personal links with high net worth individuals as well as with trustees of some of the regional and major national trusts and foundations. The appeal patrons are recruited on the basis that they  are willing to meet with us and share their contacts.  (We will not specifically ask them for money, but it is often the case that some do give to the appeal at some time). Once they share their contacts with us, we then suggest certain letters for them to write to their contacts (depending on who they are and what they might be able to do for the appeal). This works especially well with approaches to trustees of the major UK trusts in parallel with sending in formal applications/ submissions. 

Members of the fundraising committee, other trustees and members would help to indicate people to be approached to become Appeal Patrons. 

A good place to start (for a local or regional appeal) can be with the Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff of the county.  Then we can branch out to his/her deputy lord-lieutenants and beyond. Furthermore the local MP may also be able to help in this regard. For national appeals we will need to recruit people with a wider geographic appeal.

Capital Capital Appeal Consultancy - appeal methodology

research stage