Around 10% of the charity sector’s income comes from the 10,000 or so charitable trusts and foundations in the UK.

Each trust will have its own set of criteria outlining what it will and won’t fund. Some are focused on particular geographic areas; some will fund particular causes; others will only fund projects and not running costs.

Think of your application to trusts and foundations as largely about demonstrating how your organisation and project can help them achieve their purpose.

Top tip

Most trusts will provide detailed guidelines on what they are looking for in applications. Do not ignore these. A common complaint from trusts is that too many charities ignore their funding criteria. Read their guidance and tailor your application accordingly.


Corporate support can take many forms, be it a one-off donation, staff fundraising or volunteering, or gifts-in-kind such as cause-related marketing, the use of facilities or donations of goods and services.

You should make sure that the companies you receive donations from do not engage in unethical behaviour as this could be damaging to both beneficiaries and your reputation. 

The VAT rules applied to corporate fundraising can be complicated so check HMRC guidelines to ensure you don’t receive an unexpected tax bill.

Top tip

Most corporates look for charity partners that can help them achieve one or more of their own strategic goals, which could be creating access to new audiences, strengthening their reputation or increasing employee loyalty, so highlight how a partnership would be mutually beneficial when making a pitch. A generic scatter gun approach rarely sees good results.


Wealthy people give to charities for similar reasons to everyone else: because they have a personal passion for, or a connection to, a cause and want to contribute constructively towards a social challenge.

Because of the large sums of money involved, they often require a much closer involvement with the charity and its staff than a low-level donor.

It can take 12 to 18 months to build a relationship with a major donor to a position where there is sufficient trust and understanding for a large gift to be made.

Top tip

Most major donors prefer to interact with leadership or front line staff, and at a time and place that suits them, such as at their office or yours, or over a quiet lunch. Making a big ask for support at a busy and noisy event is not likely to be the most ideal method. Relationship building is key to HNWI fundraising.


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