Ten Steps to the Perfect Funding Bid: Step Ten

Posted May 27, 2012 by tamaraessex
Categories: Fundraising, Lottery, Writing

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Final Read-through

If you’ve followed the first nine steps (plus the odd addition along the way), your bid should be in pretty good shape.  Quite rightly, the Ten Steps blog finishes with Step Ten, and covers the final read-through.  It’s a rather more important stage than you may have assumed!

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Ten Steps to the Perfect Funding Bid: Step Nine

Posted December 30, 2011 by tamaraessex
Categories: Fundraising

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Monitoring & Evaluation

Another question on grant application forms that is often answered badly, is the question on monitoring and evaluation.  You need to show that you understand the need to check and capture that what you are doing is actually delivering your original aims.  Read the rest of this post »

Successful Bid-writing: The Power of Words

Posted December 9, 2011 by tamaraessex
Categories: Fundraising, Writing

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Ah, the power of words.  I was running a course on tendering for local authority contracts in Devon a couple of months ago, and on the evaluation forms one participant wrote “I never realised that the WORDS mattered so much.”  It raised a wry grin from me … well actually I had to supress a bit of a laugh.  Just what else do we have to persuade a funder to give us money?  Videos, slideshows, photo-montages are all well and good but I’m yet to find a charitable trust or foundation that doesn’t still want something written down! Read the rest of this post »

Bid appraisal by (secret) checklist

Posted August 5, 2011 by tamaraessex
Categories: Fundraising, Lottery

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It’s useful when a funder issues clear, detailed guidance notes.  Ideally, these should include a full list of what the funder is looking for in a bid.  As applicants, we can then use this as a checklist, knowing that whoever is appraising the bid is using the same checklist.  I’ve been doing some bid appraisals where unfortunately I knew that I had an appraisal checklist that was different from anything the applicants had seen. Read the rest of this post »

Re-Blog – “Charities: Don’t Mention the Olympics in 2012”

Posted July 30, 2011 by tamaraessex
Categories: Fundraising

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Many charities might well be planning an Olympic-themed fundraising event next year.  Well beware!   Howard Lake has written a fantastically useful blog post in HuffPost UK warning that almost every word you might possibly want to use (even “gold”, “Games”, and most ridiculously of all “2012” have been listed in LOCOG’s guidance of words which cannot be used without infringing The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006.  Who even knew THAT existed?

Read his post at     http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/howard-lake/charities-dont-mention-th_b_910769.html   and avoid injunctions, damages, and criminal proceedings.

I’m in the middle of developing a new training course on “Advanced Bid-Writing Skills” and some thoughts from that will appear in this blog shortly.

Ten Steps to the Perfect Funding Bid: Step 8b

Posted June 15, 2011 by tamaraessex
Categories: Uncategorized

Reducing your Unit Cost:

As the last blog outlined, even if funders don’t ask you to break down your budget to show a unit cost, most appraisers will do a rough calculation on a bit of scrap paper.  So if your total project costs (direct and indirect, including some core costs) come in at £30,000, and you are delivering a service (whatever it is) to 600 people over a year or over the summer, then the unit cost is £50 per person receiving the service, perhaps for a day of therapeutic treatments, or a day out on a care farm.  If you deliver that service to 2,000 people then the unit cost is £7.50, perhaps for a volunteer visit or a shopping service. Read the rest of this post »

Communitybuilders and money-laundering

Posted February 16, 2011 by tamaraessex
Categories: Fundraising, Lottery

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Now I’m not in favour of money laundering.  Indeed it’s fair to say I’m against it.  Therefore, I suppose, I’m in favour of steps which mitigate against money laundering.  However Communitybuilders really truly do go a step too far.  Several steps too far.  Many many many steps too far. Read the rest of this post »

Corporate Fundraising – is it possible in a recession?

Posted January 13, 2011 by tamaraessex
Categories: Fundraising

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I promised in the last blog to come back and cover unit costing in a little more depth.  But before that I’d like to divert briefly from the Ten Steps to the Perfect Funding Bid, and say a little bit about corporate fundraising in difficult recession times.

I’ve been developing a new training course with my colleague Margaret MacKenzie of The Swan Company (www.theswancompany.co.uk – strapline “taking the cold out of calling!”).  She’s an expert in business-to-business relationship building, and we’ve come together to combine specialisms and to help charities and VCOs to find ways of extracting cash from businesses. 

So will a business, facing another difficult year, stump up funds to a local charity?  We would argue that it depends on how you approach them.  And this highlights a really bad habit that I think VCOs fall into.  We tend to focus on what WE need, and how brilliant OUR project is, and we think that this is enough to convince the whole world to be hugely impressed and instantly give us all the funds we need.  Well here’s the reality check – it ain’t that easy.  Businesses are not charities and they aren’t grant-making bodies.  They need a reason to give out their hard-earned cash, especially at the moment.

And what we will be helping VCOs to explore in our new training course, is how to show the businesses that there are good solid reasons, and that supporting a local charity can make good business sense.  We need to think not about what we need, but what we can offer.  This also has the advantage of making the relationship a more equal partnership, rather than one of supplicant and benefactor.

So we’ve got some guinea-pigs coming along to the first “Cracking the Corporate Coffers” day on January 19th, and I’m happy to write more on this topic if it’s of interest.  Click through to my website for details of the training course  www.tessex.co.uk

Next time though, it’s back to the Ten Steps to the Perfect Funding Bid.  I think we’re up to 8b!

©  Tamara Essex 2011

Ten Steps to the Perfect Funding Bid: step 8

Posted December 10, 2010 by tamaraessex
Categories: Fundraising, Lottery

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Value for Money – realistic costing:

Scroll back to an earlier blog that released the information the Lottery didn’t want you to know – the reasons why most Lottery bids are rejected.  In third place was “not demonstrating value for money”.  This makes this topic incredibly important, yet most people feel it’s incredibly intangible. Read the rest of this post »

Cutting the Quangos

Posted October 15, 2010 by tamaraessex
Categories: Fundraising, Uncategorized

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So Capacitybuilders gets the chop in March 2011, as does the Compact Commission.

Well it seems to me that the Compact has been largely ignored and inadequately enforced in Local Government and also by central government departments.  It never had teeth, and whilst it was a good idea, if it couldn’t be enforced then it was simply an expensive (and cuttable) quango.  I doubt its passing will be mourned.

Capacitybuilders on the other hand funded a lot of good work …. though their unnecessarily cumbersome monitoring arrangements have been criticised in many places including this blog.  Read the rest of this post »