Nicola McLaughlan – Specialist in Fundraising, Funding Strategies and Bid-Writing

Photo of Nicola McLaughlan

I help charities and other organisations gain funds to sustain and grow their work. I specialise in sourcing funding from trusts and foundations, corporate partners and individual donors as well as securing funding from Government and local authority sources. I can also help companies looking to secure growth funds and innovation grants.

In order to work in partnership together, I need to understand your aims, your vision and your work. It is very important to me that I can understand and explain very clearly the benefits and opportunities your work will bring.

Nicola is a fantastic fundraiser and any organisation would benefit from her skills and professional experience.
Marie Clare Tully Chief Executive, Columba 1400

Through in-depth knowledge of the funding sector, I select the funders that are best suited to your organisation, and your specific project, as well as writing funding proposals and grant applications. If projects aren’t quite ready to put in front of funders, I can help you get where you need to be. I will also create effective reports which illustrate what has been achieved with funds. I am able to build capacity within your organisation by mentoring your staff so they have the expertise and skills to secure future funds.

I love speaking to organisations and learning about the work they do, so please get in contact if you would like to find out more about potentially working together. And, where possible, I offer two consultancy hours free of charge to organisations considering a new direction for their fundraising, or those looking to embark on fundraising for the first time.

About Me

I am a Full member of the Institute of Fundraising (MInstF) and I have worked with a wide range of organisations, from small to large, including those working with Children and Families, Young People, Community Projects, Education, Conservation, Arts, Heritage and Health. Prior to my career in fundraising, I worked for many years in the corporate sector and I adopt a professional approach to fundraising which has been shaped by my commercial background.

Nicola’s intrinsic understanding of how charities operate provides confidence and guaranteed results.
Marie Clare Tully Chief Executive, Columba 1400

Based in Edinburgh, I am a small consultancy and I don’t work with huge numbers of organisations simultaneously, so you can be sure you will get very personal attention. I only take on work where I truly believe I will make the most difference and be able to achieve effective results.

Nicola is a most effective Fundraising Consultant. She grasped the work of the scheme very quickly, and translated it into funding bids rapidly, smoothly and efficiently. Nicola was easy to work alongside and the resulting grant applications were as good as they possibly could be, with a very high success rate.
Anne Nixon Manager, Home-Start Leith & North East Edinburgh

I am used to coming in to new organisations and getting on with the job quickly, and I will always be sensitive to your ethos and culture, and most importantly the work you are doing.

My Services

Developing a Fundraising Strategy

For organisations looking to establish the best direction and best use of time for their fundraising activities, I can develop your fundraising strategy and help put plans in place to achieve your goals.

Project Development

I collaborate with organisations to develop their project so it is ready to secure funds, in particular from trusts and foundations, or corporate and major individual donors.

When projects aren’t quite ready, I can work closely with your senior management team and Trustees, as well as your service delivery team, to help you get where you need to be. Most, if not all, funding depends on you being able to demonstrate what you will achieve with the money and it is vital organisations get this right. I will work with you to ensure you have simple processes in place to give effective monitoring and evaluation of projects.

Identification of Funders

There are never any guarantees when making funding applications but targeting funders that are the best fit possible is crucial to creating a fundraising programme that is effective and credible. I can create a bespoke list of funders that are a good match for your organisation and your specific project, ensuring your applications have the best possible chance of success. I have specialist knowledge of Trusts and Foundations that support across the UK, as well as a range of Government and local authority funding sources.

Proposal Writing

It has become more and more competitive to secure funds in recent years. Applications for funding must demonstrate effectively what you do and what you will achieve.

Navigating complicated application forms and bringing your work to life is not always easy if you are unfamiliar with fundraising applications. It can also be a significant drain on your time and is not always easy to fit in if you have other responsibilities and time restraints.

I work closely with you so that you and your stakeholders are completely satisfied that the proposal reflects what you are looking to achieve, and you can be safe in the knowledge that your finished proposal is of a high standard.

Report Writing

The impact of a clear and compelling funding report should not be underestimated. It demonstrates to those giving funding what has been achieved and the benefits your work has created. Reports are crucial to sustaining and developing your relationships with funders. I can ensure your reports highlight your successes and enhance your chances of future funding.

Other services

I can help you develop your links with corporate supporters and major individual donors, helping you formulate a plan to develop support and connections within this area. I can also help support your events and other fundraising initiatives as part of a broader fundraising plan.

My Process

There are a range of ways that we can work together but it is a simple consultancy day charge for any work that it is carried out. You therefore only pay for work completed and you will have the benefit of a flexible resource that will get to know you and your organisation.

So how could it work?

  • Developing a Fundraising Strategy - You may only need a few days work for a fundraising review or developing a fundraising strategy or plan . I will be able to give you an estimate of the amount of days you are likely to need once we have discussed your requirements in more detail.
  • Fundraising Support - It may be that you don’t have the need for a permanent fundraising staff member but perhaps need a few days devoted to funding applications and other fundraising initiatives each month, for example 4 or 6 days per month, that is also possible.
  • Proposal and Bid-writing – I can work with your team to develop funding applications and this will include strengthening your case for funding and developing your project request.
  • Project/Campaign Support - There may be a specific project or campaign that needs some additional resource for a set period of time.
  • Mentoring - You may be looking to develop the skills of a staff member so they can develop their fundraising capacity and skill-set. I can offer a hands on mentoring programme that fits with your needs.