TOPIC | It's grim up North...only if you say so

Fundraising, like the North, has its fair share of myths. Put the two together and you might expect gloomy skies from Blackpool to Bradford. Along with the drizzle, come the doubts; there’s not as much money up here; projects down South get more media attention; how will we find the leadership we need?

In our experience, the reality in the North is very different. Yes, there’s more money in London, but grant-makers are increasingly looking for major projects to support, outside the Capital. Many charitable trusts and foundations, including big funders like the HLF, are keen to redress the balance when looking at the North South divide in the Third Sector. What’s more, there’s a sense of pride in the North that fiercely connects people with their counties, communities and their shared sense of heritage. It’s not unusual to see projects flourish and campaigns win, because individuals want to give back to the place they call home and the people they feel rooted to.

Principles that work and travel

Another reason why fundraising in Southport or Sheffield can be just as effective as anywhere in London, is that the principles for success, wherever you’re based, remain the same. If your project is sound, your story compelling and your leadership strong, then funders are going to listen to you. It doesn’t matter what accent, dialect or language you speak – your fundraising will work if you get these things right.

Northern Lights

Gifted’s Directors have worked with organisations in the North, as diverse as Ripon Grammar School, Blackburn Cathedral and Rochdale Borough Council - in each case, helping them to fundraise with confidence and see their geographical location as an advantage. In Rochdale, for example, there’s a buzz about a bid that’s put the North West on the Natural History map. The Council and their partner, Link4Life, placed regional strength at the heart of their application to host the Natural History Museum’s world famous dinosaur, Dippy. It was the opportunities for STEM education, regeneration impact and heritage enrichment, that made Rochdale such an attractive proposition. And there’s absolutely no doubt that these factors will be just as appealing to potential benefactors and grant-making bodies.

There’s also plenty of evidence that you can make good in Manchester. The city that’s often cited as the centre of the Northern Powerhouse, has had some remarkable fundraising successes. Whitworth Art Gallery, Gorton Monastery, The Jewish Museum and Chetham's School of Music are all examples of local institutions that have refused to hide their northern lights under a bushel.

A number of the region’s universities, like Leeds and Liverpool, have been equally successful in developing their northern support base, growing strong alumni relations and securing transformational gifts or grants. So perhaps, as with most things in life, trail-blazing fundraising in the North is all about the narrative we sell ourselves. Grey, glum or predictably grim? Only if you say so.

Get in touch

If your charity is based in the North and is facing a fundraising challenge, please feel free to contact Amy Stevens, our Leeds-based Director for an informal conversation about your needs. Amy can be reached on 0113 350 1337 or amy.stevens@giftedphilanthropy.com

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