Frequently Asked Questions
We act as a critical friend and a catalyst for change, providing both challenge and support. Offering a friendly and personalised approach, we work with our clients to identify their support needs and map out the best route forward. Although we offer ‘quick wins’ (for example, helping to secure funding), our focus is very much on helping community organisations to become sustainable by moving away from crisis management into periods of stability (for example, by developing their in-house skills, helping them to develop long-term fundraising strategies and supporting their organisational development through theories of change, business plans and governance support). Our support provides a consistently good return on investment and our work with you will be personalised and flexible as we understand the pressures on senior staff and management committee/board members.
What difference will A5cend make to our organisation?
The impact of our support is different for each organisation, depending where they are in their own development and what support they require. We work with un-constituted organisations who are starting out and need help getting off the ground, through to larger charities who want to develop their practice, consolidate their work or branch out into new program areas.
In the short-term, we help organisations move away from crisis situations and lay the foundations for sustainability, for example by helping them to access new funding, sustain existing services, ward off closure, develop new projects, share their impact, develop new materials, and improve their communications. This provides stability for staff, reduces pressure on management and voluntary board members and helps raise their profile.
But our real impact lasts far into the future. In the longer-term, we help community organisations to be more sustainable, develop new services in line with local needs and have forward-looking strategic plans.
How much will it cost us?
A5cend offers a flexible approach to fees. We can quote for one-off pieces of work (for example, short-term funding ‘wins’, strategies or evaluations). However, to get the best outcomes, we encourage new clients to try 10-15 day contracts: in effect, we become an extension of your team, submitting targeted applications to the most appropriate funders for the duration and supporting you with identified needs, this also leads to a better return on initial investment.
Does A5cend work on a commission basis?
No, we do not. As per Charity Commission and Institute of Fundraising guidance, we do not think that a percentage of the money raised for our clients’ frontline services or essential infrastructure should be spent on fees. We offer a high-value service, as evidenced by the many clients who renew their contracts with us. It is also not possible to hide such fees in proposals as many funders will not provide for fundraising costs to apply to them.
What is your success rate for fundraising?
A5cend has raised more than £20m for clients and our success rate for funding applications is on average 70%. While there are no guarantees of success, we aim to ensure great value by only working for clients at a level appropriate and affordable for them (based on the initial “health check”). The funding environment may be harsh, but we know how to navigate it.
Does the team have a particular area of expertise?
A5cend’s clients are primarily community organisations (including charities, social enterprises, schools and community groups) working across a variety of fields and sectors (children and young people, health and social care, mental health, education, employment, training, environment, equality, disability, domestic violence, regeneration, families, and the arts). Many of our clients work with vulnerable people from disadvantaged communities and minority groups. However, our skills are transferable across the board.
Do you only work with local organisations?
Most of our work to date has been with London-based bodies, but we do work further afield (eg, Yorkshire) and are keen to expand our geographic reach. We are willing and able to support clients from across the UK, and we also have experience of winning European funding.