Review: IoF training – Trusts Fundraising Skills (Management Level)

Yesterday (17th Feb, 2015), I attended a training day at the Institute of Fundraising. Despite being a member since 2007, and having completed the Certificate in Fundraising Management with the Open University, then volunteering at the 2013 National Convention and attending other conferences, this was the first, focussed IoF training course that I’ve attended.


It was run by a very engaging, experienced consultant, and offered a good mix of knowledge sharing, group activity and Q&A in a good venue (the IoF’s offices in central London).



My reason for attending was to refresh my skills and to ensure that these and my knowledge are up to date. I came away feeling like I had not really learned anything new, but having had a lot of what I already knew confirmed, and reminded of some things I’d forgotten.


Most of my notes are reflections of the key themes that I’ve learned from seven years in Trusts fundraising:

1) there is no secret advice or guaranteed way to get your application funded (no surprises there)

2) every Trust is unique – research them and target those most appropriate

3) every funder is run by people, and people give to people – engage the people in the funding organisation, build their trust, and communicate your cause well

4) the art and science of Trust fundraising is “Test, Fail, Learn”. Test your approaches to trusts, review and learn from your successes and failures.



The content of this course will be helpful to anyone who is looking for more advanced (i.e. beyond very basic) Trust fundraising skills, and who has to think strategically about the context of Trusts fundraising in their wider organisation, but it doesn’t offer an exploration of how to effectively manage a Trusts fundraising department, assuming such an exploration is even possible.



So I would suggest that a Trust fundraising manager would benefit from

  1. reading the Trusts Fundraising book by the DSC
  2. attending the annual IoF Trusts conference (Oct/Nov time) for strategic insights
  3. find a Trusts manager in another organisation for a mentor or coach for management advice and support


If you have a track record of successful Trust fundraising then you may not learn an awful lot from this course, or even the DSC equivalent (As I said, this is the first IoF training course I’ve been on. I’ve been to 3-4 DSC courses (different subjects) over the years, which are comparable).



If you want a good roundup of trends and a chance to think about Trusts in your own organisation then it may be a good investment, alongside 1-3 above.



For more information on other courses, visit the Institute’s website, Directory of Social Change, noting that I am paid by neither and do not endorse the content of external sites. I have also had Fundraising Training Limited‘s courses recommended, but have not experienced them personally.


If you can recommend some fantastic training or resources that you’ve experienced lately, let me know and maybe even submit a post for this blog.

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