One thing all charities, large and small, have in common is the need to persuade donors to both support your cause and to support that cause through your organisation.

Call it your pitch, your case for support, your proposition, your proposal, your fundraising copy: it is a proven tool for success. Here at Money Tree Fundraising we work with clients every day to develop compelling proposals, be that for grant makers, major donors or companies. Over the years, we have learnt exactly what makes a compelling proposal.

How confident are you that your proposal is as powerful as it can be? Does your proposal answer each of the important questions that a donor will need answered for them?

A proposal must cover a lot, but there are four things that really must be included that we find often get confused. These are:

  1. Activity. What activity are you undertaking?
  2. Output. What output will come from that activity?
  3. Outcomes. What outcomes will come as a result of that?
  4. Impact. What is your big impact?

The below case study demonstrates each of the four steps in action, and importantly, why it is so crucial to not stop at step 3 when writing your proposal.

Case Study

There is a hospice which needs to build new facilities. This is the activity.


These new facilities will be larger and will meet current care standards. More people will be able to use both the day care and residential services. Community care will also be able to increase. This is the output.


What will happen as a result is that more families will be able to access the support of their local hospice both for end-of-life and respite care, both residentially, in their home and on a pop-in basis. There will be more privacy and dignity for those people. The care team will be able to cope with a wider range of illnesses and those with multiple and complicated medical histories. These are the outcomes.


Here is often where our clients will stop in a powerful proposal. They have given all the straight forward answers and each of the measurables; they’ve gone as far as they can. But don’t stop there! Once you’ve done the activity, output and outcomes, the next really important step is to ask yourself ‘Why?’. This is your impact.


Going back to the example, the ‘Why?’ around building new hospice facilities now are many: the proportion of our population who will be aged over 65 is predicted to increase from 18% to 25% over the next 30 years – demand for hospice care will increase. Our life expectancy continues to rise. It is currently 81 years and this Is predicted to rise – as we age our medical histories will become more complex, as will the care we require. The current hospice’s facilities are ageing, crumbling and no longer fit for purpose; to work on them to bring them to the required standard would cost a similar sum and would yield lower results (fewer beds etc.) I could go on, you get the idea.


It is important to continue asking yourself ‘Why?’ until you’ve exhausted all options: the more ‘Why?’ that you can include in your proposal, the more powerful it will be.

Watch the video as CEO, Beth Upton, discusses the secrets to writing compelling fundraising proposals in greater detail.

Here at Money Tree Fundraising, we’ve developed a tool which we use with our clients to help them develop their thinking around their proposals.

Download the tool to work with your team on your proposal, or get in touch to learn how we can assist you.


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