With Trusts accounting for £4 billion of income in 2014-15 for the UK charity sector, is Trust fundraising an income source you can afford not to take seriously?

In the UK, close to 10,000 charitable trusts grant over £4 billion per year to good causes. Many organisations have found that this can be a reliable and steady stream of income.

It can also be incredibly fruitful, offering a return of up to 10 times the investment made in raising funds this way.

What is Trust Fundraising?

Trust Fundraising is the process of approaching trusts and foundations for financial support for charitable projects. These approaches are made in writing through applications – formal or informal – to the trustees of the trust, in line with the trust’s published areas of interest.

What is a Trust or Foundation?

A trust or foundation is a charity registered with the Charity Commission, and governed in the same way as non-grant-making charities, whose purpose is to donate its own money to other organisations (like your charity) where its own aims and ambitions align with this other charity’s aims and ambitions.

Trusts are the only bodies that exist solely to give money to charity. This makes them an excellent source of income for most charities.

Where does a Trust’s money come from?

A Trust is created by a person or group of people and it is usually the case that the founder would donate a lump sum in cash or perhaps in shares. This lump sum is then invested and it is usually the proceeds of the investments that are used to provide the grants. This means that a Trust can exist in perpetuity.

The money, once donated, cannot be taken back by the donor.

There are other ways that some Trusts make their money: regular donations from founders who are still active (this is particularly true of some corporate foundations) or, rarely but increasingly, through their own fundraising efforts.

How do Trusts make their decisions?

Each Trust or Foundation has a set of criteria as laid out in their formal documents and on the Charity Commission website. Some will then have informal criteria within those broad guidelines. The trustees will review every application that is sent to them to see if it fits within their criteria and, if it does, whether the application demonstrates the things that this trustee board want to see in order to give a donation.

The Trustees are always mindful of the amount of money they have and this limits their giving power. Trust fundraising in the UK is increasingly competitive. However, with careful planning and consistent effort, it is still possible to raise substantial funds.

To be successful watch Money Tree Fundraising’s CEO Beth Upton discuss the 3 core areas she has identified as vital for trust fundraising:


At Money Tree Fundraising we know trust fundraising.

For over 10 years we have worked with dozens of small charities keen to raise more money to expand the life-changing work they do.

Check your readiness to kick start your trust fundraising programme now