Meet our Expert

Laura_SmithLaura Smith – Sustainable Fundraising Manager, NCVO 

Laura joined NCVO in 2009 to manage the Sustainable Funding programme. She manages relationships with sector experts and private sector partners to create NCVO’s training and direct support on funding and finance, including specialist training on trading, tendering and marketing, and our popular Sustainable Funding Conference.


“At present the majority of our core cost funding comes from one or two foundations but we are now looking to move to a more sustainable model of self-funding so that we can cover our own core costs. I wonder if you have any advice on ways in which other charities raise these funds?”


The answer

There are four main sources of income to the voluntary sector. These are: Gifts and donations; Grants; Contracts for commissioned services, and; Open market trading. It is very wise to diversify your income so you aren’t reliant on one or two funders. It may be that you can approach a wider range of foundations, as you have experience in grant fundraising. But you should also look for opportunities to further broaden your funding base, considering the other income streams. Without knowing more about your charity it would be difficult to advise further.

However, you can access a wide range of information on this topic by visiting the NCVO Funding and Finance pages (, including the Income Spectrum tool.