Alicia Grainger, Founder of Alicia Grainger Fundraising
Helping charities to be more successful with grant fundraising through prospect research, bid writing and strategy
I spent 16 years working in the charity sector – starting as an in-house fundraiser for a number of organisations; then rising to management level and gaining a wealth of experience.
When I was on maternity leave with my first child, I made the conscious decision not to return to my full-time job; I knew it wouldn’t allow me the flexibility and lifestyle I now needed to prioritise my family. Recognising that self-employment would give more options, I founded my fundraising business soon afterwards and welcomed my second son into the world a couple of years later.
In the beginning I was mainly working with charities on a one-to-one basis to help them secure financial backing from grant-making trusts and foundations. There’s more than 8,000 such organisations in the UK alone, but so many charities simply don’t have the knowledge, expertise or resources to apply. I also found I was frequently asked the same questions from my clients: how to find the right trusts to apply to; how to write a successful application; and how to build relationships.
Determined to find a better way of helping more charities, I came up with the idea of pooling the answers in a centralised space. In November last year I launched the Trust Fundraising Hub – a Facebook community which now has more than 1,200 members and is growing every day. It’s exciting to be in a position where I can help more charities and have a bigger impact – providing ongoing support and free resources, as well as enabling people to connect and start conversations in the real world.
I’ve got ambitious plans for the future, with new workshops coming up in the autumn, as well as launching some online courses, which are in short supply within the sector. My vision for the courses is to deliver a cost-effective and flexible solution for charities who may have smaller budgets, but who could still benefit from the knowledge and expertise of a fundraising consultant.
I can honestly say that going self-employed is the best decision I’ve ever made. For me, the benefits outweigh the challenges and I feel grateful every day that I have the flexibility to work around my family.