Temperatures were steaming today and I managed to escape the housework yet again in exchange for an outing to the Potterspury Car Boot Sale. A fantastically organised event and one for entrepreneurs who believe that you can make a fortune out of old junk.
Money for Old Rope?
I can assure you that for me, it was not an experience of ‘money for old rope’. After spending my entire morning at the local car boot sale, I had calculated that by the time I had spent out for the hire of the stall space, and deducted this from my share of the profits, I had earned about 1 GBP per hour – fantastic – not!! However, at least I had the sunshine and there was no pressure on me to sell after I had managed to rid myself of that huge dolls house and saucepan stand that I was reticent to take back home with me.
Don’t Forget Marketing and Fundraising!
This experience of non profit making activity made me think about the several times that I have spent writing out funding applications alone and reviewing them alone, and all the mistakes that I have made because I have done them alone. Everybody underestimates the amount of time bids take to write, and hardly any body (except the more successful third sector organisations) build the cost of fundraising and marketing into their funding applications!
Indeed, it is important to build the cost of fundraising and marketing into project funding, to activate a reserve fund for the project’s exit strategy. This can be done in a really practical way, and has the potential to lever in additional unrestricted funding into your organisations to support the organisation development costs.
Research It Too!
Another thing that I must share with you is that if I had done some research before I left for the car boot this morning, I would have found out that I go there to have some fun and not to make my fortune.
Sadly, in the social business world, sometimes we appear to be having fun but genuinely behind the scenes we are worried about covering our costs. This is often because we do not build the cost of research, fundraising and marketing into our project budget lines and we fail to partner up with other people that have the hindsight of experience to know what the funders are really looking for.
Fundraising Buddying Scheme?
Personally, I believe that there should be a targeted Fundraising Buddying Scheme set up in Northamptonshire. This would be a pool of unbiased experts from specialist knowledge pools that review funding regimes and experiences of others in order that vital lessons can be learnt and best practice can be achieved and documented to benefit all groups. Sadly, this kind of support is only available at Engage East Midlands any may be potentially difficult to access. There are also other barriers such as the competitive nature of fundraising and lack of resources to hand, but what a great level playing field this kind of scheme would bring to the entire Northants area.
For now, however, you have access to me and my associates to do this for you in bite sized chunks. No Nonsense has access to a raft of experts in the Social Business Field in the Midlands and I am proud of the fact that if I have not got the answer to a question then I certainly will put you onto somebody that has.
Get in touch soon, and let me know how you are getting on with everything, and contact me with any specific questions that spring to mind as a result of this blog. It might be that fundraising buddies are advancing well, but we need to know where you are and what you are doing next.