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The NoNo and the ProNo

A new research paper from Cass Business School 'The Art of Refusal: Promising Practice for Grant Makers and Grant Seekers' presents the findings of a study of experiences at the point of grant refusal among both seekers and makers of grants to charities.

Read more in the News & Blog section


“I really appreciated Helen’s energy and enthusiasm whilst she was working with The Children’s Society. Helen was successful in raising large sums of money for a variety of different projects.”

Dorothy Connell, former Head of Strategic Funding at The Children's Society


Helen Searle

About Helen Searle

Helen has worked in the voluntary sector for 18 years. She joined the Canon Collins Educational Trust in 1996 after completing a Masters in Southern African history, where she learnt about every aspect of fundraising from events, sponsorship and direct mail to major donor, statutory, trust and foundation fundraising.

In 2004 when she moved to The Children's Society, she chose to specialise in trust and foundation and statutory fundraising. Working in the Chief Executive's Strategic Funding Unit, she managed a grants portfolio worth just under £1million and acted as a central source of expertise on all restricted funding sources whilst contributing to the development of the organisation's funding strategy and programmes of work.

Helen became a fundraising consultant in 2008 and since then has worked with small to medium-sized charities working in the fields of disability, social welfare, social justice, overseas development, education, animal welfare, voluntary sector infrastructure and the arts.

Typically her clients come to her for hands-on fundraising support. She takes care to develop an understanding of the charity and aims to bring a fresh perspective to their applications to charitable trusts and foundations, statutory and Lottery sources.

Helen's skills lie in her ability to write clearly and concisely, to identify fundable projects, to produce high quality appeal material, and to provide detailed funder research. In the main she works with smaller charities helping them to raise core costs in the form of multiyear grants from trusts and foundations. She is a Member of the Institute of Fundraising.

"Helen Searle has been the fundraiser for my charity since just after it became registered in 2009. Helen gives us a dedicated day on an almost monthly basis.

From the beginning, Helen has shown a real insight and empathy both for the work of the charity, which involves children with disabilities and life-limiting conditions, and for the clients we serve. This has, in the opinion of the Trustees, been the key to her success in securing, and continuing to secure, funding for us.

Helen's approach has the necessary flexibility to accommodate changes in the charity's development and growth, and her ability to adapt funding applications to the changing background (both legislative and financial) that affects our work, has delivered consistently excellent results.

Her successful identification of prospective funders and the innovative and effective applications she drafts, together with her obvious intelligence and excellent communication skills, charm and good humour, make her both extremely effective in her demanding role and a pleasure to deal with. I would recommend her very highly."

Gloria Vessey, Founder, Advocates for Children.