• fundraising & marketing

In an increasingly complex environment, Action Planning's consultants can help each organisation identify the right fundraising mix for its particular needs, and make sure they are getting the best possible returns from their marketing and fundraising teams. 

Fundraising Strategy & Review

Have confidence in your fundraising plans

Have you got the right funding mix, and is it all working well?

Whatever the size of your organisation, and whatever stage it is at in its ‘life cycle’, our multi-disciplinary team can provide the sector-specific experience you need to understand the market, pinpoint the right opportunities, and develop a cost-effective course of action for maximum return – in the short, medium and long term.

Our fundraising consultants have all held senior fundraising positions in a diverse range of organisations across the sector, and their skills and experience have enabled us to help all types of not-for-profit organisation to develop the right fundraising strategies for their situation. With the funding environment becoming ever more challenging, we make sure our clients pursue the most fruitful mix of income streams, are compliant with the latest codes of practice, and are fully equipped with the skills and training to maximise revenue while upholding the values and ethos of the organisation.

Our strategic approach to fundraising can help you:

  • Get a new fundraising campaign off to a flying start
  • Improve ROI from current fundraising activities
  • Replace lost statutory funding
  • Effect major step change in your income
  • Establish the right mix of revenue streams
  • Comply with the latest regulations

Are you seeking to increase your fundraising returns? 

Capital Appeals & Fundraising Campaigns

Approach big challenges methodically

Do you face a daunting task? Capital appeals and fundraising campaigns to raise large, specific sums of money are not part of the everyday experience of most not-for-profit organisations and so they can be daunting. We provide the level of experienced support you need, whether that is light touch mentoring and advice,  detailed planning, or management of the entire appeal.

From the initial feasibility study, through development of the case for Support, through tohelping fundraising teams push a campaign over the line, our consultants have extensive experience of the ups and downs of such appeals and can help to manage the emotional as well as the practical challenges. We can be trusted to uphold the values of any organisation in the public domain, whether writing letters of appeal, building relationships with major donors or handling public relations.

Our support for capital appeals and fundraising campaigns includes:

  • Feasibility studies and campaign planning
  • Development and testing of Case for Support
  • Recruitment and training of senior personnel – staff or volunteer
  • Developing donor relationships and networks
  • Support and leadership at every stage of planning and implementation
  • Ensuring statutory regulations are adhered to throughout

“When I became overwhelmed with the workload required to complete just one application to English Heritage, I persuaded our congregation that it was worth my sanity for them to use Action Planning to raise £728,000. Our congregation were amazed at how quickly we managed to raise the necessary funds.”

Malcolm Booth, Treasurer, Trinity Church, Sutton

Could you benefit from some experienced support in planning a capital appeal?

Major Donor Fundraising

Build supportive relationships

Are you anxious about taking the first step?

Major donors can make a huge difference, both through their own donations and through other donors they might introduce, but knowing how to identify and approach lead prospects can be challenging. The aim is to build a relationship with each individual so they become  enthusiastically involved in the cause, so that their gift becomes much more than just a financial transaction.

Our consultants have many years’ experience of cultivating relationships with major donors, and we can help with all aspects of building an effective major donor programme. We understand the importance of remembering that major donors are so much more than simple ‘people with money that we want’, and we can help you develop the confidence to make informed and appropriate approaches, and develop meaningful long term relationships.

We can help you gain support from major donors by:

  • Identifying potential high net worth donors
  • Planning and implementing the initial approach
  • Managing donor relationships, communications and events
  • Planning ‘behind-the-scenes tours’ appropriate to your organisation to give first-hand experience of the task

Are you struggling to get the right level of major donor support?

Bid Writing Service

Increase the chances of success

Are you held back from accessing funding opportunities? The process of researching and submitting bids to lottery distributors, trusts and statutory bodies can be complex, and time consuming. We help organisations prepare and submit funding bids by relieving them of much of the time-consuming process, and applying our experience of preparing bids that are tailored to match all the funders’ criteria.

Our bid writers have all achieved significant fundraising success and know how to present any not-for-profit organisation and its projects in the best light to increase the chances of a positive response. We will research the funding opportunities available and then write the bid from scratch, or review the organisation’s own draft bid, to ensure that it has the best chance of success before being submitted.

Our bid writing service helps you achieve success by:

  • Researching the funding opportunities available to your organisation
  • Increasing your capacity, saving your time and relieving you of a stressful burden
  • Providing you with proven bid writing expertise
  • Reviewing your bids to see what improvements you can make
  • Planning your bid schedule to ensure you hit deadlines

“Action Planning helped us research and target and a number of trusts for two major capital appeals. Their expertise and bid writing skills helped successfully generate income for both appeals and was great return on investment.”


Do you need some help with bidwriting? 

Individual Giving

Don’t be afraid to ask

Is your charity getting its fair share?

Individual giving is by far the largest source of voluntary income to charities and there are many ways in which to approach it. We can help to identify the most effective channels for your appeals and work with you on the objectives and messaging of your campaigns.

We work with organisations to put together individual giving strategies and implement campaigns. We also offer guidance on broaching the sensitive subject of legacies - still an underdeveloped source of not-for-profit income.

We can help you with all aspects of individual giving, including:

  • Data analytics
  • Planning your campaign strategy
  • Planning the ‘customer journey’
  • Developing planned giving campaigns
  • Developing your messages
  • Creating materials
  • Implementing campaigns
  • Identifying and approaching potential legacy donors

Could you increase your individual giving income? 

Marketing Strategy

Reach your potential support

Are you lost in the crowd? The strength of a not-for-profit’s marketing strategy is crucial to its success in gaining public support. With a well researched, well targeted approach, it is possible to cut through a very crowded market place and gain the awareness and emotional buy-in required from potential ‘customers’.

We help organisations of all sizes to translate their powerful cause into a clear strategy, built on a strong brand, with well founded plans and effective campaigns. We help to define target markets, selling points and goals and develop clear messaging that speaks in the language of the organisation, not marketing jargon. We also establish metrics for tracking and measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, so we can evaluate and make adjustments along the way.

Our marketing strategy consultants can help you with:

  • Market analysis to identify your target audience
  • Workshops to evaluate your current marketing strategy
  • Defining USPs, goals, messages
  • Establishing budgets, timelines, resources and tools
  • Tracking and measuring

“Andrew at Action Planning really helped us to deliver this complex but vital strategic review on time and budget. His insight and guidance helped us carry out an extensive programme of internal and external consultation, analyse all of the feedback, and develop a compelling and engaging new vision and strategy for the organisation.”

Imran Khan, Chief Executive, British Science Association

Could your marketing benefit from some objective help? 

Market Research & Analysis

Who do you think you are talking to?

Who is your typical customer?

Many not-for-profits think they know who their typical ‘customer’ is but never take the trouble to really find out. The only way to be sure about what spurs people into supporting a cause is to ask them. We have many years’ experience of conducting market research and analysis for organisations of all sizes, and can help to provide valuable insight that more than pays for itself.

‘Never assume,’ is our motto. Asking for customer feedback not only provides the all-important insight for better targeted campaigning but also builds loyalty. Our consultants provide guidance in  planning and implementing the most appropriate research methodology, analysing the results, and drawing conclusions that lead to practical action.

The benefits of Action Planning’s market research and analysis service include:

  • Building your plans on solid information, rather than opinion and guesswork
  • Asking the right questions, to get information that is useful, not just interesting
  • Objective assessment of messages and methods
  • Gaining insights into what others are doing in your field
  • Practical outcomes to help you spend your budgets more effectively

“The Market research carried out by Action Planning gave us a strong insight into the other organisations that are carrying out similar work to us. As we have started to move forward this work has been of great value to the organisation.”

Martin Auton-Lloyd, Director, Family Support Work.

Brand Development

Present your personality

Do your customers know who you are?

At all stages of their journey, organisations need to ask whether their cause is high in their audience’s consciousness. A strong brand doesn’t just remind customers of an organisation’s name but of its ethos, values and personality too, reinforcing their connection and commitment to the cause.

Our brand experts help not-for-profits to assess the strength of their brand, whether they are long established or just starting out, and can take the lead in implementing a rebrand where required. We make sure any rebranding is properly thought through to reflect the realities of your organisation, project its values,and create a clear, compelling proposition. We also ensure that it is carried out as a consultative process, involving all stakeholders so that the new brand truly reflects the DNA of the organisation.

Our brand consultants can help you by:

  • Designing and managing the rebranding process
  • Analysing your current branding in relation to your competitors
  • Researching audience response
  • Involving all stakeholders to get buy-in across the board
  • Ensuring brand consistency across all your communications

Could your brand be working harder for you? 

Communications Strategy & Implementation

Make your communications compelling

Is your message getting through?

Communication is fundamental to the success of not-for-profit organisations in changing behaviour and perceptions, ensuring people understand what they do, engaging with stakeholders, and demonstrating success. The communications landscape is constantly changing and without a sound and constantly updated communications strategy those key messages can get lost,  misdirected or misinterpreted amid the background noise.

Our consultants have extensive experience of helping not-for-profits put together and implement effective comms strategies that deliver the right message at the right time to the right audience via the right channel. That’s a lot of things to get right, so we work closely with communications teams to go carefully through each step, right through to measuring outcomes and implementing change.

We can offer expert guidance on all your communications challenges, including:

  • Audience profiling
  • Effective messaging and targeting
  • Press and PR plans
  • Digital communications strategies
  • Crisis communications

“Action Planning really took on board what we were looking for in our communications strategy and carried out an in-depth study of the charity in a short space of time. They really 'got' us and that then formed the basis for making sensible recommendations that would work for us and our small team. The Action Planning consultant delivered an excellent interactive workshop for our trustees which got them thinking and enabled them to contribute. We were impressed with the consultant's wide-ranging expertise and experience and she was very easy to work with, providing us with a clear proposal at the start of the process and sticking to the timetable throughout.”

Juliet Ames-Lewis, Director, The Richmond Charities

Could your communications achieve more for you? 

Digital Communications

Gain access to a wider market

Are you daunted by digital?

Organisations of all sizes have the potential to reach wider audiences, raise more funds and build stronger relationships at relatively low cost by making full use of digital media, yet many are unsure where to start or have not yet been able to develop a business case for investment. With such a bewildering array of relatively new options, it can be difficult to devise a digital strategy.

Our digital consultants and partners simplify and enhance the process of digital investment, planning and implementation. They bring a mix of professional expertise, marketing insight, and and ability to understand each organisation’s resources and challenges. With their help, many charities have been able to put together intelligent digital plans that integrate with their off-line communications to maximise their joint impact.

The benefits of Action Planning’s digital services include:

  • A digital strategy focused on your objectives
  • Invest in the technology and solutions most suited to your organisation
  • Demystify social media
  • Appropriate web and CRM platforms integrated with your social media and marketing programmes
  • Full training and on-going support throughout your digital development

Are you seeking to increase your fundraising returns? 

“Working with David and Action Planning has been so good for FSW, helping to make our thinking clear and focusing our minds on what we need to do to achieve the plans that we have. Developing future plans have been made so much easier and clear thanks to their input. I would happily recommend working with the team.”

Martin Auton-Lloyd, Director, Family Support Work.