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How to master the supporting statement

Posted on 16/02/2018 by patrick dunn


Reviewing and advising on supporting statements has become an increasingly large part of my job. Supporting statements or cover letters are a major part of fundraising applications. In most other sectors, particularly the commercial sector, this is not always a prerequisite. The requirement for a supporting statement for a role within charity is largely to understand someone’s motivation or affinity to the cause. Below I will provide simple tips on how to set out your supporting statement:

Paragraph 1 - Introduction

This should be a short paragraph (4 lines) introducing yourself and providing a short career summary. In other words, explain what you have been doing the last few years and finish on what you are looking to do (relate this to the job you are applying for). E.g. for an Events Manager position you may write “after the last two years as a Senior Events Officer I am now looking for a managerial role within ‘X’ type charity”.

Paragraph 2 - The cause

This is the paragraph that is the most important and yet most overlooked. You need to explain why you are interested in working for the cause or charity. In other words, you need to show that you are passionate for the cause! My advice is to research the charity, check out their website and look at the work they do. Reference this in your motivation for applying to work at ‘X’ charity. You could also check if there are any recent media articles about the charity that make it an appealing place to work.

Paragraph 3 – The Role

This is the bit where you need to explain your interest in the role. Try and be specific to the role. E.g. if it’s an events role reference the various events the charity put on or if it’s a corporate role refer to the partnerships that charity has. Use these examples as the reason the role appeals to you.

Finally explain what you can bring to the role. This could be soft skills from relationship building to strategic thinking. You may want to refer to what you brought to your previous or current organisation/job and provide an example e.g. a fundraising strategy you implemented.

Paragraph 4* – YOU

Explain how your skills and experiences make you qualified for the role. It is important to cross check this with the job description or person specification. For example, if the role is looking for “someone with a strong track record in corporate fundraising” you will need to provide solid examples of this. Show what partnerships you have developed, the income that was generated and whether this met or exceeded target.

Try and quantify your experience (refence figures) especially if the role is income generating. Such an approach will be required if you need to demonstrate your track record in any of the other income streams e.g. Trusts , IG or Events.

*This should be the lengthiest part of the supporting statement as you need to provide examples of your competence. You may wish to split this into two paragraphs e.g. one for experience and the other for skills.

Paragraph 5- Summary

This should be a short paragraph (4 lines) summarising the above and reinforcing your enthusiasm for the cause/role. Finish with welcoming the opportunity to discuss your experiences further at interview.

If you need help with perfecting the supporting statement I will be happy to help to ensure it’s as competitive as possible! 

Get in touch on 020 7198 6040 or email