Dorset Community Foundation

Why a Community Foundation is the best charity to give your funds to the most needy

I’m lucky, I get ideas from new start-ups, from leading edge marketers and from passionate creative people. How? the first is Dorset Business Angels – a kind of Dragons Den. The second, the CIM, Chartered Institute of Marketing. And then Dorset Community Foundation, DCF, which this article is about. I’d also mention the Global Peter Drucker Forum, Nick Hixson at Hixsons Business Enablers, attends each year, the world’s leading management forum. I watch every minute of that. Back to DCF…. In a sentence, DCF raises funding from philanthropically minded people and organisations then directs them into thousands of the most needy charities and community projects across Dorset. When people speak to me about “funding” with my DBA angels hat on or as a marketer, I often find it is DCF that has a possible answer: a potential grant, or charity who may be able to help. Most counties have a Community Foundation, which is the best charity to give your funds to the most needy, with its knowledge of local charities, social enterprises and its audit capabilities. A fund can be a “flow through” which is distributed or you can set up and endowment to function over a longer period of time. Here are some of the many organisations DCF supports – see case studies.

Why do People Set-up A Charity?

I want to look at directing money to needy causes. Which creating a fund at DCF can achieve. However some people driven by do something in this kind of situation, set up a charity. “Do good, have fun, and money will come” says Richard Branson. More emotional motivation for creating a charity or fundraising is bereavement, injustice or an experience affecting family, friends or people close to you. Charities, are rightly highly regulated. And if you are thinking of setting-up a charity, here are some useful steps from the website:

  1. Step 1: decide if a charity is the right option
  2. Step 2: decide on your charity’s purpose
  3. Step 3: choose a charity structure
  4. Step 4: write a governing document
  5. Step 5: choose a name
  6. Step 6: find trustees
  7. Step 7: fund your charity’s work

For more visit:

What sets DCF and Community Foundations Apart – USPs

Create Your Own Charitable Trust of Fund

It may be better to set up a fund. Not always. Otherwise some of the greatest charities including local charities I try and support such as Forest Holme and Lewis Manning cancer hospices, would not have started. At DCF, philanthropists look to us to invest their money into the most needy causes locally, that fit their passions, interests and what they believe is important. They take a varying level of control from hands-off – leaving it to our expert Grants Manager and panels to allocate grants – to being more involved on a case by case situation. In both scenarios, DCF will audit organisations before and after any funding.

Audit Capability

A community foundation team will audit a charity, social enterprise or person before distributing funds. In the case of an organisation for example, typical audit issues to consider can include:

  • Organisation sustainability
  • Project viability
  • Review accounts
  • Their unrestricted funds
  • Constitution
  • Aims and Objectives
  • Governance

This is not an exhaustive list, but gives you an idea. See my article on 5 Tips for Grant Fund Applications.


Most of our grants we award are between £1,000 – £5,000 and we support voluntary and grassroots organisations that are well-placed to identify and address local needs. Our awards to individuals support young people to develop and improve their life chances, and also provide grants to support older people in fuel poverty. Whether you are looking for funding for an organisation or an individual you will be asked to submit an application form and your application will be assessed and decisions about funding made by a grants panel. Grants Map for Dorset – 2016-2017 . More on DCF website here.

Channel to thousands of charities and social enterprises

UK Community Foundation made £77m grants last year, with £580m endowment amongst its 46 community foundations, of which DCF is one. In the last financial year, 2016-17, DCF distributed £149,055 to 181 local groups and individuals. Over the years DCF has given funding to thousands of people and organisations. The sum has been higher in some previous years, we are aiming to increase this in future years, to around £250K, working with local philanthropists and organisations.

Signposting Charities and Social Enterprises

What charities are there out there? Who does what and for whom? How viable is a charity? Is it better to give your next pound to x or y charity? And even in the same charity sector, who is going to do the better job? Well… a community foundation can help answer these questions. I first came across community foundations when we offered charity donations to customers for returned printer cartridges, in an office supplies business we ran a few years ago. When people did not have a particular charity, a friend of mine said, “tell them to default to their community foundation, they are the “charity of charities who funnel money to the best local deserving charity and social enterprises and audit the outcomes” “. It is still, probably the most succinct and clear description of a community foundation!

The Best Value Channel for Donors Unsure Who to Fund Locally

Community Foundations are best in my mind if you:

  • Are unsure who to fund
  • Want to make sure a fair amount is allocated to staff costs and the maximum to the charitable outcomes
  • Have not got the skill or time to do a personal audit on each specific charity
  • Want to make sure your money is allocated locally
  • You want to direct funding based on your specific criteria – note this may not be possible if you are making small donations, we all have to be reasonable! A £5 donation is not the same as setting up a fund for several thousand or an endowment.


I like the flexibility of Dorset Community Foundation and community foundations. It does not stop me from helping other charities. Just like at Dorset Business Angels where I will get involved with specific projects. Or CIM where I have clients we do marketing work for. So remember most counties have a Community Foundation, which is the best charity to give your funds to the most needy, with its knowledge of local charities, social enterprises and its audit function. A community foundation is not about raising very small sums i.e. £1 or £5 but best to create a fund which will make a difference. It’s pretty straightforward. A fund can be a “flow through” which is distributed or you can set up and endowment over a longer period of time.

I am a Trustee Board Member of Dorset Community Foundation

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Posted in Blog.