Kevin Fallows

Kevin Fallows

How does a £70,488 donation sound to you?

Four minute read


It goes without saying that the last few years have been far from easy; navigating a global pandemic and multiple lockdowns has had a devastating impact on charities across the country, grinding fundraising events to a halt and significantly depleting cash reserves. And of course, those pandemic effects are still very much apparent across the sector.

It’s not just Covid-19 that has had a bearing – the current cost of living crisis coupled with factors such as rising inflation, soaring mortgage rates and through-the-roof energy bills is impacting everyone. While the pandemic actually saw individual giving increase in some cases for charities, the reality of the current climate is that people are unlikely to have the same level of disposable funds available to donate to causes as they might once have.

Of course, the running costs of charities themselves are also increasing in line with the national rate so day to day outgoings are increasing while staff wages are also rising, not to mention the reduction of funding across the board thanks to Brexit and other factors.

All this at a time when the demand for charitable services is far from diminishing – indeed as the cost of living crisis pushes those must vulnerable in society towards relying on services and help from the community even more, the pressure to deliver a valuable service while maintaining a viable pipeline has never been greater.

So, where to source those additional funds?

If you haven’t already, now is the time to start looking at other ways to supplement your fundraising income.

A good place to start, and one that requires no additional financial input, is with the outgoings you are already spending day to day on your general overheads like telecoms, energy rates or your postage costs for example.

Through negotiating new deals and rates with suppliers it is possible to make significant savings for your charity – savings that can often run into many tens of thousands of pounds. And all without having to cut down on your usual purchases, invest in new systems or compromise on quality.

When did you last challenge your ‘preferential’ rates?

Charities are told by suppliers all the time that they have been given ‘preferential’ rates. However, more often than not, we’ve found they aren’t preferential at all.

It’s one of the key reasons why charity supplier rates and legacy contracts are left unchallenged for long periods of time, and for your charity that can mean missing out on an opportunity to save big.

Consider, for example, the stationery orders for your office. The chances are, you use a supplier you have worked with for many years – they have probably told you that as a charity you will receive their best rates and you may well be very happy with the service they provide and the quality of the products you receive. But when was the last time you negotiated a rate with them and how can you be sure yours truly are preferential?

Having worked with organisations across varying industries for over 30 years I have insight into how to negotiate the best value rates with suppliers that significantly reduce overhead costs and enable more funds to be put back into the hands of the organisation.

Significant savings can be found by actioning a forensic-level analysis of your current contracts with overhead suppliers including mobiles, photocopiers, merchant card fees and couriers and so on. If you’re on the fence as to whether there are any real savings to be made for your own charity, the proof is in the figures; typical cost reductions for previous clients of mine include £9,334pa for one charity and £11,037pa for another from negotiating just a few overhead areas, right up to £56,289pa and a huge £70,488pa for extensive contract negotiations for mid-sized national medical charity with 250 staff.

These are substantial savings, but in my experience your office manager and purchasing staff likely won’t have the time to adopt this forensic analysis to every tariff, contract and ongoing rate you have with suppliers for your charity; that’s where I can help. I operate on a no-saving, no-fee basis so there really is nothing to lose, but significant savings to gain.

When times are tough, and finances tight, it’s more important than ever before to be able to reduce existing outgoings and re-negotiate supplier rates and contracts so that you have a much more sustainable and cost-efficient benchmark to work from going forward.

Having worked with charities for many years such as Childline, Terrence Higgins and Diabetes UK, I appreciate the challenges of fundraising in the current climate and the pressures this can place on finance and fundraising directors. By negotiating better value deals with suppliers, I have been able to help charities directly add to their bottom line to supplement their fundraising income. Perhaps I can do the same for you?

To find out a little more, please do get in touch with me at I’d welcome an initial conversation with you and can promise that it won’t take longer than twenty minutes out of your day.

© Watermill Lane Associates 2023