Fundraising, Funding sources, Trusts and foundations

How helps the University of Reading

How University of Reading researched on to fund scholarships for young refugees in partnership with Windle Trust International.

Home to 17,000 students from over 150 countries, the red-brick walls of the University of Reading is ranked in the top 200 universities in the world. As well as being one of the UK’s leading research-intensive higher education institutes, the university funds extensively in other areas such as environmental issues, heritage and creativity, and health. 

Partnership with Windle Trust International

Moved by the tragedy of conflict ridden areas and its ensuing destruction of education, the university recently formed a partnership with international development charity, Windle Trust International, to establish scholarships for exceptional young refugees from parts of Africa. The scholars are invited to study at their Graduate Institute for International Development and Applied Economics. With the aim of educating students and decreasing the likelihood of chronic vulnerability and poverty, the university and charity work together to offer fully supported (from recruitment to graduation and beyond) postgraduate opportunities to young people of exceptional merit.

The Graduate Institute recently welcomed their first beneficiary Suzan Lupai from South Sudan. Suzan was displaced from Juba to camps around Khartoum in 1990, yet overcame significant obstacles to gain an education and work experience with national and international development agencies.

Scholars (3)

Funding for universities using

As a large institution with many different departments fundraising in various ways, income for the university is usually in the millions. The yearly target for the Campaigns and Supporter Engagement Office is £7.5 million, with approximately £250-500k being generated from trusts and grants. Funding received goes into two streams: teaching & learning, and research, spanning categories such as heritage & creativity, food & health, and environment.

Laura Davis, Trust and Foundations Officer, Campaigns and Supporter Engagement Office

“ is one of my main tools. I have been using it for several years and like to be able to save searches and return to them at a later stage. Having a summary of all trusts in one place is incredibly useful and time saving!”

Laura’s five top tips

  1. Don’t neglect stewardship and reporting. Ensure that you give donors what they ask for, make sure you thank them, and where appropriate keep them informed and invite them to open days and events. Some donors like to be just that, they give, you deliver; but increasingly donors are seeking partnerships and/or closer collaboration with the organisations and projects they support.
  2. Develop a compelling and focused case for support and project plan that sets out the challenge you are trying to meet, what your project or programme will do to meet this (what, why, how, where, when), how much it will cost and how you will resource the project, what are the anticipated impacts and outcomes, and how you will know if you have achieved them.  Tailor this where appropriate to the interests of the individual funder.  Read about their funding themes and strategies (especially the exclusions), and ensure a good fit.  Where possible, and with the larger trusts, you can start to develop a relationship with a project officer to help gain some extra insight into what may be in line with the trust’s current interests/themes.
  3. Do your research. Use what is on Trustfunding and the Charity Commission sites (as well as the trust’s own website if they have one) as the basis for some serious delving into the trust and the people behind it.
  4. Deploy your big hitters: reputational experts and senior staff – often being an effective fundraiser requires stepping back and letting others be in the lead role in building relationships with a donor, provided everyone is on the same page.
  5. Don’t be funding-led. Just don’t.  It’s never worth it and you can end up doing something entirely different from what you intended at the outset.



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