How to get core funding

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How to get core funding


As the Shangri-La of fundraising, core funding is difficult to unlock – but not impossible. These 7 top tips from Ewan Hastings will help you secure those critical core funds


Trustees will perennially see core funding as something that every fundraiser can surely just go out and get – especially so if you work for a small charity. In reality, that’s normally far from the case, as funders increasingly put restrictions on their grant giving.


However, it’s not impossible to get. I have found that a bit of passion, allied to being proud to asking for it, have been the main keys to unlocking core funding for the charities with whom I have worked.


More specifically, the following tips have worked for me in putting together a compelling case for core funding in my applications to trusts:


  • A number of large trusts have published articles in the fundraising media explaining their core funding policy. Search for these online, learn the language of these funders, and speak it. Paraphrase the words they use in your applications, to them and other funders.


  • When asking for core funding, be positive and proud in your application writing. Core funding allows your charity to become stronger and more sustainable, and gives you the flexibility to adapt your services where it is most needed. Explain why that ‘hammer that knocks the nail in’ is so crucial to your service users or cause.  


  • It helps if you can demonstrate to core grants funders that your charity really is distinctive enough from others and can evidence systematic change. It’s that searching for excellence by your charity that funders love to hear about and then go on to fund.


  • If a trust states the fact that it awards grants for core funding, then apply for core funding. These trusts are rare, and so the opportunities for asking for core funding must be taken.


  • If a trust, on the Charity Commission or OSCR website, lists a contact phone number, and has a generic listing where they give to ‘general purposes’, then call them and ask them if they give grants for core funding. Often they do.


  • Trusts like to hear about any other ways in which you are raising core, unrestricted income e.g. through fundraising events and individual giving. This shows that you are not totally reliant on core funding from trusts.


  • If you have had some core funding grants in already this year, list them in your application. This will give other trusts the confidence to give you a grant too.


And finally, if you’d like more top tips on applying for grant funding, check out my new ebook  Trusts and Foundations Fundraising Success Top Tips: Valuable Lessons from an Old-Dog Fundraiser, available now on Kindle.


Ewan Hastings MInstF(Dip) is a fundraiser with over 21 years' experience. He has worked as a full-time fundraiser for nine UK charities and has spent 14 years fundraising from trusts and foundations.

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