Careers often change in interesting and unexpected ways. Julian Black, for instance, started out as a classical musician, conducting orchestras, and performing in opera houses. After a spell teaching, the charity sector came calling, and he’s now been with ellenor for almost a year.
ellenor is a hospice that looks after patients and their families living with life-limiting illnesses in the community, providing care both at home, in the hospice in Gravesend, and in local care homes.
As Trusts and Foundations Manager, Julian’s role is crucial in ensuring that ellenor is able to raise the funds needed to continue to offer those frontline services. Trust fundraising involves applying to charitable organisations or private funds – for example, large endowments run in memory of an individual – for grants towards ellenor’s services. These funds accrue money through investment or interest, which is then donated to one or more charitable causes.
According to the Association of Charitable Foundations, Trusts and Foundations giving makes up around 14% of all fundraising income, so Julian’s three-person team certainly have their hands full. They submit applications to the boards of these Trusts and Foundations to ‘bid’ for their support – explaining the importance of ellenor’s care within the local Kent and Bexley communities, and sharing its values and care stories.
According to Julian – whose day-to-day role involves pulling together the larger, more strategic bids – success lies in communicating the breadth of what ellenor does.
“We try to tell Trusts and Foundations the story of ellenor – what we do and who we’ve helped. We put bids together that highlight ellenor’s wide range of services to both adults and children – our clinical care, our emotional support, bereavement counselling, and play therapy, as well as respite and spiritual care.”
But the requirements of each Trust vary. Every new bid must not only be unique – that is, tailored to the Trust’s specific charitable goals and metrics – but also resonate with its trustees, too.
“We look to speak to the funder, get an idea of what they are looking to support, and send in a bid that reflects that. We look at it as a partnership – finding the things that our funders are interested in supporting and making that work for them”. If around half of Julian’s role is to find more Trusts and Foundations that align with ellenor’s values, then the other half involves nurturing the charity’s existing relationships.
“We are so fortunate to have a number of generous and committed funders, many of whom have been supporting ellenor for a number of years. It’s our job to maintain these strong relationships in the long term, so that they can see the real difference their support is making”.
Aiding this is the fact that, for some Trusts and Foundations, their connection to ellenor is a distinctly personal one. Some donors in this area, for instance, know someone – or have family – who have received care from ellenor in the past.