Comparison of success rates for trust applications

Having recently completed my first freelance fundraising project, I decided to go back and compare the success rates for the various methods used.

I divided the applications into three categories:

  • Blind Proposal – I could only find address details for the trust, so I sent a one page proposal.
  • Tailored Proposal – The trust had a website with guidance notes on sending a proposal.
  • Application Form – The trust had an application form (postal or online).

I counted the numbers of applications, acknowledgements and successes.

Type Applications Acknowledged Successful
Blind Proposal 30 6 0
Tailored Proposal 13 11 1
Application Form 37 34 4
Overall 80 51 5

At trusts training courses I’ve attended, I’ve usually been told to expect a 10% (one in ten) success rate.  I had a 6.25% rate for the project, which is below the expected.

The main problem is the blind applications.  They produced no successes, and only 20% were even acknowledged.  If you remove the blind applications from the statistics, we get an 90% rate of acknowledgement, and a 10% success rate.

So, the figures would suggest not bothering with blind applications.  Having a set of guidance notes for a proposal or an application form makes it easier to match criteria for a trust.  You’ll also save a lot on postage and printing, which is important for freelancers.