Today I am smiling, today I feel good and I know I am exactly where I should be, doing what I do. Today I heard that a charity that I have been working with have secured just short of £10,000 from a Lottery Fund application. I helped them to make this application. This money will make such a difference to their “big vision”. It will buy them the expertise to scale and grow the charity so that they can do what they want to do nationally. I am over the moon for the trustees who have worked so hard during the last 5 years to do good in the local community.
I have 5 Top Tips to help you with your funding applications for your charity or community organisation:
Do your research and check you are eligible!
There are literally thousands of grants and trusts available out there for all types of charitable organisation. Make sure that you have found the ones that directly support the type of charity that you are. The easier the fit, the more likely that you will be successful. Don’t try and be too clever is my advice! It needs to be an obvious match without having to think too hard! Sometimes you may want to look at smaller funding bodies who match exactly what you are all about. These may receive less applications too. Do make sure that you have read the eligibility for the application too. It takes time to write a bid application, so don’t waste your time on something that you are never going to qualify for. If in doubt email them or call them to verify. They may even give you some hints on how to tailor your application to meet their criteria!
Follow the Application Process to the letter.
Be clear and concise when you are completing the form or the covering letter. If you are asked to fill in a form, do this. If you are asked for a letter – do this. Be succinct and don’t make it war and peace! Make sure that you do put in enough though to give the information that they need, don’t skimp on the story telling and the examples of what they are asking for either. Make sure that you attach all the materials asked for too. Copies of constitutions, bank statements etc. If these are asked for – send them and make sure that they are current information and not out of date.
Make a Good First Impression, you don’t get a chance to do it again!
Ensure that the application, letter or form is the best quality that you can afford and produce – they need to be professional and in a sensible and easy to understand format. Make sure that the order of information is logical, labelled well and easy to understand.
Whatever the outcome of your application – ask for feedback.
You may not be successful with every bid application. You will need to know if it is the application itself that didn’t hit the spot or if it was the climate, political situation or something else that changed how your application was received. Did they suddenly receive many more applications than usual at this time? Are they over subscribed for supporting organisations in your area at the moment? You may be able to determine if they would never look at your application or whether it was purely a timing thing and if you applied next year, you would be successful. It is always good to hear feedback on the best bits about your application, this way, you may potentially re-use this information on future applications.
Invest in the skills you don’t have.
Are struggling to know how to start these applications? What to write? or How to word things? ask for help. Your local advisory company (in South Yorkshire we have South Yorkshire Funding and Advice Bureau) may be able to help you or your local Voluntary Action may support you. There are of course bid writing services or courses available at a cost. This cost may prove to be a huge investment if thousands of pounds are secured in exchange for supportive consultancy fees.
Can I help your organisation with fundraising ideas, bid writing and funding applications? Drop me an email or call me on 0772 9481010. firstname.lastname@example.org. I also provide you with a FREE Review of your Core Costs, which is bound to save you money too.
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