Ten Steps to the Perfect Funding Bid: step 2

Step Two:  RESEARCH A RANGE OF FUNDERS

Don’t just apply to the first funder someone suggests, or the one flagged up in an e-circular you’ve subscribed to.  Every funder targets their funds, and somewhere there is the right funder for your project.   

Spend an hour on the internet, or visit a funding adviser at your local Council for Voluntary Services (CVS), and draw up a list of at least 15 funders that you have researched.  Analyse their priorities and their timescales, and compare those with the project you need funds for.  I put them into a table, and colour-code them – green for a good match, yellow for a reasonable match, and red meaning “not this time”.  It is still worth summarising the ones you are not applying to this time, as this will save another staff member or volunteer wasting their time researching the same charitable foundations.  Write a brief summary next to each funder describing their priorities – this will save time on the next occasion.

In the UK, the NCVO has received significant funds to set up the new funding website at www.fundingcentral.org.uk which should become the first port of call.  You have to register, and to be honest they could have made that more straightforward!   But it’s well worth the effort, and you can receive weekly email updates and reminders of application deadlines, all targetted to your own interests. 

Funding Central is likely to replace many of the old favourites (and certainly the sites which required payment!).   www.grantsnet.co.uk was always popular and easy to navigate, but is maintained by a small group of volunteers who by their own admission can often leave the site out of date.  Users are likely to migrate to Funding Central.

SImilarly, the classic www.funderfinder.org.uk is likely to become less popular because voluntary organisations usually relied on their Local Authority or CVS to buy the subscription, and then the organisation would have to make an appointment to go in and use the computer.  Funding Central avoids the need for this and is accessible to all

For community fundraising events www.how2fundraise.org is excellent for advice on the law on street collections etc, and has good downloadable templates for posters.   Some clear and sensible free factsheets such as “Applying to a Trust or Foundation” are available from the Association of Charitable Foundations at www.acf.org.uk

Investing a bit of time on the research stage, rather than rushing in and applying to the first trust or foundation someone recommends to you, is an investment that will save you time in the long run.  More importantly it will save you the disappointment of writing a good bid but sending it to a charitable trust whose priorities don’t really match your project.

Picking the right funder follows at Step Three.  But before that, get your list of at least 15, and colour-code them.  Happy researching!

©  Tamara Essex 2009

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2 Comments on “Ten Steps to the Perfect Funding Bid: step 2”

  1. Bashiera Says:

    I cannot tell you how pleased I am to have found this Blog. I have done the courses, got the experience, but occasionally it helps to read about other people’s experience when it comes to doing trusts and foundations; moreover, to be guided by their example without having to pay for it. An enormous thanks! Bashiera


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