So you’re thinking about launching a charity fund but aren’t sure which non-profits to support? You’ve come to the right place. ActionFunder helps businesses across the UK find and fund non-profits in their local communities, so we know a thing or two about building the right partnerships.
Business leaders say one of the biggest implementation challenges for non-profit giving programs is vetting charity partners. They simply don’t have the time or resources to do it right.
If you can relate, you may be tempted to rush through the partner selection process. But we encourage you to take the time for due diligence. It’s essential to choose reputable and responsible organisations that have a history of success supporting the community – or proof of their ability to do so – so your money gets where it’s needed.
How to do your due diligence right
It can be tempting to only partner with big-name charities so you can skip the due diligence process, but small organisations are the ones that really need the money, so funding these organisations is really important. Plus, they can have a much bigger impact, in part because they have significantly lower operating expenses.
Thousands of charities have come to us in the last year for help finding funding. Every time, we use a thorough, multi-step process to ensure that every non-profit partner we work with is trustworthy, reliable, and effective.
Below is a general approach you can follow.
Make a list
Start by compiling a list of non-profits you might be interested in working with. There are an estimated 500,000 non-profits across the UK, including about 170,000 registered charities in England and Wales. There are several databases–like the UK Charity Commission, Find that Charity, and Charity Choice–you can use to search for registered non-profits by location, and areas of focus.
Look for groups that are in your local region and that work in areas aligned with your corporate values.
Gather basic information
After you’ve put a short list together, gather some basic info about each organisation’s operations. The Fundraising Regulator’s directory and Companies House are wealths of information. We recommend collecting the following details:
- Organisation name
- Summary of what they do
- Focus area/s
- Year established
- Charity/company number
- Legal structure
- Website address
- Social profiles
- Phone number
- Number of paid staff & volunteers
- Contact person & information
Look out for red flags
Are there any discrepancies between different sources? Is their full contact information easy to find? The Charity Commission of England and Wales put together this helpful list of information to think through.
Conduct some interviews
Once you have all the pertinent details, review all your data and narrow it down to a shortlist of non-profits you’d like to support. Consider setting up some 1:1 conversations with their staff to ask a few further questions about their team, mission, successes, etc.
Chances are, after going through all this effort, a few organizations will stand out to you.
Do an authenticity check
Before making any final decisions, go a level deeper and check the validity of the information you gathered. You can verify the charity or company numbers on publicly available registers. Pay particular attention to track record with regard to receipt and use of grant funding. 360 Giving Grant Nav is a great resource for this.
And last but not least–before you send any money–validate their banking information to make sure the account is registered to a charity or an authentic host account, not an individual.
Let tech do the work for you
Conducting due diligence checks can take a lot of time.
Platforms like ActionFunder automate much of the due diligence process to make it faster and easier for businesses to find reputable and aligned non-profits. Our platform reduces the time it takes to find and fund non-profits by 75%.
We verify each and every non-profit before approving fund distribution through our platform. We use a three-part approach that minimises the chance of bad actors obtaining grants:
- Process: All non-profits that register on ActionFunder must complete a profile with data about their organisation. This includes the vital factors listed above, including contact details for at least two members of staff or representatives.
- Technology: Our platform validates each non-profit’s profile data and automatically detects fraudulent information.
- The Community: We harness the power of other funders and non-profits to equip businesses with the insights they need to make informed decisions.
But we don’t trust technology to do it all. Once a business chooses a project to fund, our team completes an authenticity check prior to disbursing funds. We confirm the non-profit’s legal setup, project background, previous funding history, and account status.
Our thorough process has been developed over 15 years of transferring funds for businesses, foundations, and philanthropists. From safeguarding charity assets to mitigating brand risk, we understand the vital importance of due diligence and how to assess, verify, prevent, and mitigate for the best results.
Any organisation that fails to pass our checks is deemed ineligible to receive funding. Their account is suspended until they’re able to satisfy our due diligence requirements.
This process results in a vibrant and secure community where businesses and non-profits can safely connect and work together to fund community action. If you’d like to launch a community fund with greater ease and visibility, get in touch with one of our team.