Fundraising from grant-making trusts has been an essential activity at Sense for around 40 years. The oldest gift recorded on our database is dated June 1975.

A child with its head cradled by an adult handA grant-making trust is an organisation established for the purpose of making donations to charitable causes.

Our records show that we have worked with more than 2,600 trusts to date. We don’t have an active relationship with as many today because grant-making trusts can close or change their criteria, but we retain a pool of dedicated supporters.

Working successfully with grant-making trusts requires us to be match-makers - with knowledge of both the trusts and Sense – and with the relevant presentation skills.

This means writing to varied audiences, building relationships with trusts and Sense operational staff, and nurturing interest and a flow of relevant information.

Our trusts function has developed steadily, and so has its annual gross income target which reached £710,000 in 2011-12. The team has consistently registered a high return on investment, raising over £9 for every £1 spent on the team.

Sense projects

We continually research new prospects to ensure continuity and renewal.

Gifts can be anything from £10 received unbidden, to large single or multi-year grants of £100,000. Gifts of £600,000 and £320,000 helped to establish Sense buildings in the 1990s.

We apply to trusts to support defined projects across the whole range of Sense's work. This covers direct provision, such as a wide variety of services to deafblind children and their families, our legal support team, supporting older people who are becoming deafblind, and developing or restructuring Sense premises.

Trusts also support our corporate activities such as campaigns, public policy, and our information and research teams. In some cases we are supported for the general or 'core' costs of the charity.

Key activities

Applying to grant-making trusts is entirely dependent on us:

  • Researching the trusts' interests and criteria, and providing clarity about the application process, including timings
  • Knowing the Sense Strategy and direction of travel
  • Researching Sense’s activities, impacts on our beneficiaries, and current and future strategies and budgets
  • Keeping accurate information and records to ensure we can report back to funders as appropriate.

Contact us

If you would like more information about what we do and how we do it, please contact Dominique Muller by email at or telephone her on her direct line at 020 7014 9352 or textphone 020 7520 0959.

First published: Monday 28 May 2012
Updated: Tuesday 15 October 2013