Ten Steps to the Perfect Funding Bid: step 7

Describe the Project:

Sounds easy, doesn’t it?  But this is where you have to use your journalistic skills … and by that I mean “Think tabloid” !!!   You only have a line or two to grab the interest of the people reading your funding application – so make the project sound captivating, effective, and significant in those first few words.

After that first crucial line, you need to make sure you cover all the other points too.  Be specific about what the project will do and what the money will be spent on.  Who will benefit (target group, and numbers), exactly what activities will be run, and over what time-scale.

Unless there is a separate question on the application form about outcomes you’ll need to cover those in this section describing the project.  Outomes, or the difference the project will make in the longer term, are a crucial part of the application.  See Step 5 earlier in this blog for guidance on expressing outcomes.

Charitable trusts and foundations that don’t supply an application form will often say that your proposal should consist of a single-sided letter, and a bid on no more than two sides.  This is good practice and you should be able to give all the information needed, as described throughout these Ten Steps to the Perfect Funding Bid, on two sides – and even include a photograph if there’s a good one that well illustrates your project.

The hardest bit is finding that great opening line.  It needs to grab the reader’s attention, as well as showing that your project absolutely meets the funder’s priorities and will reflect well on them.  Ask your friends and family as well as colleagues to read your bid – it may be someone surprising who gives you that great line that will make your bid stand out!  I have seen incredibly valuable and important services described in such dull ways as to almost guarantee the bid hits the bottom of the wastepaper bin (the dreaded WPB).   Make friends with a journalist or a marketing professional and see if you can persuade them to help you come up with that opening line.  For free, of course!  

Don’t forget that the NUMBER ONE reason bids are rejected by the Lottery is not adequately meeting the priorities of the funding stream, so follow up that opening line with a line that contains one or more of the charitable trust’s own priorities, to demonstrate how you clearly parallel the interests and passions of the trustees, and you should avoid the WPB.

©  Tamara Essex 2010

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