Project snapshot

Providing charity advisory services to develop a corporate fundraising strategy
To diversify their income and strengthen long-term sustainability

The objectives

Despite having only been set up in 2017, North East Young Dads and Lads Project (NEYDL), a charity that supports young men under the age of 25, has shown rapid growth and built a strong presence in its area.

Born out of an awareness of a distinct lack of support for young fathers locally and nationally, the charity focuses on supporting young men who are out of education and employment with their self-confidence, employability and parenting skills, providing peer support, and advocating and campaigning on their behalf.

Following its rapid initial growth, NEYDL was looking to expand and diversify its income streams to support the expansion of its services. With its current income made up largely by grants, the charity was wary of becoming solely reliant on grantmaking foundations and wanted to increase its long-term financial sustainability. NEYDL was keen to understand how it could develop relationships with relevant businesses as part of a cohesive corporate strategy, including what the charity could ask for and how to ask for it. This is where CAF came in.

Our support

No fundraising strategy can be looked at in isolation, so to help inform the best direction for a corporate engagement strategy, our Charity Advisory team worked with the charity’s leadership to truly understand what other governance and resources might be needed, including the capacity and skills of their teams and trustees.

Any knowledge or skills gaps identified helped pave the way for the creation of a clear set of recommendations, a benchmarking report and list of prospective corporate partners the charity could approach.

Our support helped NEYDL understand:

  • The potential for corporate support, particularly in terms of core costs rather than project-based work
  • What they could offer as a package of support to corporates
  • What return on investment they could expect from corporate partnerships
  • What capacity and resourcing is required when pursuing corporate support
  • How to set ambitious yet realistic income forecasts
  • How to prospect potential corporate partners

The impact

With our help, NEYDL was able to develop a clear strategy for engaging corporates, have a better understanding of the funding environment and confidently articulate its ‘offer’ to its target audience.

Six months later, the charity has developed its new funding stream. It has:

  • Secured £50,000 of core funding from a corporate foundation to implement the corporate strategy developed with CAF
  • Received four major gift donations from a baby care product retailer, with the opportunity to expand on the relationship by engaging with local employees
  • Followed up on an introduction from CAF to secure a corporate grant, which has been matched by three organisations to double the size of the grant
  • Partnered with one of the region’s top law firms to support a new digital e-learning platform, DigiDAD, featuring content such as navigating court proceedings

In addition to its relationships with corporates, North East Young Dads and Lads has:

  • Started working with an organisation to develop a business prospectus, based on the learnings provided by CAF
  • Recruited a new board member with a business background to provide expertise and act as a critical friend in engaging businesses, one of our key recommendations
  • Plans to recruit a business development manager to invest their time and expertise in developing relationships with corporates

With a more diverse income mix in place, the charity has strengthened its organisational resiliency. It has:

  • Increased its corporate fundraising income from zero to 11% of total income, including gift in-kind donations
  • More than doubled its reach among young men with the launch of their digital platform
  • Started planning to expand its geographical reach into other deprived areas in the North East

“With consultancies you’re never quite sure you’ll get what you need and as a really small charity, it’s important that our time and money goes as far as it can. But with the wealth of expertise that Charities Aid Foundation has, we knew we were in safe hands,” commented Kevin Stoodley, Founder and CEO of North East Young Dads and Lads.

“Our Advisory Manager Dawa was really encouraging and put a lot of time and research into us. She asked those difficult questions and provided that CAF knowledge bank so we could understand how we compare to other charities of our size, where we should or could be, and gave us some clear goals to work towards. It’s a really important piece of work for us; it gives us something meaningful to reflect on and implement and the confidence to look at what we could do differently.”

CAF’s Lead Advisory Manager Dawa Dem said of the partnership, “When advising charities on long-term sustainability, it’s very important that senior charity leaders are engaged and can invest their time. In this case, NEYDL’s CEO was not only engaged, he was willing to go the extra mile and developed a really positive and engaging relationship with us. When it comes to major donor fundraising, including from corporates, building relationships and stewardship is crucial to success. Kevin excelled at this and the results speak for themselves.”

Project takeaways

Creating a corporate package

As an experienced partner working with corporates on their giving strategies, CAF understands what corporates look for in a charity partner. We were able to advise NEYDL on creating a specific package to offer corporates that would benefit both parties and increase their chances of establishing a long-lasting partnership.

Aligning parternships with purpose

Finding a potential partner whose values or business area aligns with the work a charity does is key. This cause alignment boosts engagement and helps create a meaningful relationship that can last. In this case, NEYDL has partnered with a baby care product retailer, as well as sporting bodies interested in supporting young men and their physical and mental health.

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